Ahsoka Tano: Padawan, Warrior, Fashion Icon

‘Tanocouture’ might not be in the vocabulary of the average LEGO Star Wars fan, but when Ashley Eckstein – founder of the groundbreaking fangirl HerUniverse.com fashion company as well as voicing Ahsoka Tano in The Clone Wars and Rebels animated TV series – wore her little block dress at the third annual Her Universe Fashion Show at San Diego Comic-Con in 2016 a lot of LEGO fans suddenly realized that t-shirts with Classic space logos weren’t as de rigueur as they thought them to be.

While the full story of the gown’s genesis is lost in time, the October 26th, 2016 episode of The Star Wars Show records that it was Eckstein who originally came with the idea of making a wearable gown. The tale began in 2015 when Eckstein’s eye was caught by the Wonder Woman dress sculpture that was part of The Art of the Brick: DC Comics exhibition that toured the world in 2015.

Noting that sculptor Nathan Sawaya, who famously brought the world a brick-built, lifesize Han Solo in Carbonite sculpture, already had prior experience in turning strong female characters into LEGO when he created a series of DC Comics superheroes built out of LEGO bricks for their San Diego Comic-Con exhibit, Eckstein approached the Los Angles-based brick artist for his input.

With the upcoming 75th anniversary of Wonder Woman, Eckstein wanted to contribute to Princess Diana’s birthday and chose “Powerful Women Hit the Runway” as the theme of her next fashion show at San Diego Comic-Con in the summer of 2016. Planning on making a special mark at the show, Eckstein initially intended to have Sawaya replicate his Wonder Woman dress, however, it was decided that with Marvel sponsoring the fashion show a DC character wouldn’t be suitable.

“I was overwhelmed when Ashley Eckstein invited me to design a LEGO dress for her. We discussed a variety of ideas, but decided an Ahsoka-themed dress would be the most fun,” Sawaya told The Holo-Brick Archives.

This led to the fateful decision that allowed Eckstein to marry her two careers – fashion and acting – on the catwalk, and so with the garment conceptualized, Eckstein needed a fashion designer who could come make it practical. It was in April 2016 that Eckstein reached out to Andrew MacLaine, who had won the first Her Universe Fashion Show, and the opportunity to work with Her Universe to produce a fashion line.

“Okay! I have a top secret project for you, and you’re going to have to collaborate with someone, but we’re going to do something that’s never been done before.”

With his interest piqued MacLaine was instantly on board, Eckstein explained in a StarWars.com interview, though he didn’t know what the project was until he met Sawaya at his studio in Los Angeles where he was shown the concept art Sawaya had produced and work began on designing a set of gowns.

MacLaine explained to The Holo-Brick Archives that the initial idea was for Eckstein to wear three unique outfits – all sporting aspects of LEGO in the design – for the show, including a dress inspired by Rey, complete with a LEGO Millennium Falcon clutch bag.

With the cut of the gown finalized MacLaine had to create an underlayer to which the LEGO elements would attach, and so, working from home MacLaine hand-drilled tiny holes into 5,000 black 2 x 2 plates and sewed them onto a simple black slip.

“Each lego piece is a small 2×2 black square, which I drilled with 2 small holes, then sewed one by one onto the dress as if they were buttons.  So, at first, the dress looked like a fitted, black sequined dress, which was actually very pretty in its own way!” Andrew explained, exclusively for The Holo-Brick Archives.


Meanwhile, Eckstein had chosen a sketch of Ahsoka that Dave Filoni – the executive producer of The Clone Wars and Rebels – had given to her in thanks for her voice work on the shows. Sawaya’s first task was to find the right LEGO colors to match the character’s white, blue, orange, and burgundy palette. This he did by translating Filoni’s sketch into a mosaic made of LEGO elements.

Back at MacLaine’s house, work on the undergarment continued. Eventually taking three weeks to put together, the arduous precision and concentration required drove MacLaine to tears, who recounts that he was extremely grateful for Eckstein’s short stature.

With the first layer, which would act as the canvas, complete the gown – still on the dressmaker’s dummy – was taken to Sawaya’s studio where the brick artist added the art to the dress that MacLaine had sewn. Converting the flat image to a three-dimensional form took Sawaya another three weeks of carefully attaching an assortment of flat plates to the delicate substrate.

Once complete it was returned to MacLaine (who is quick to stress that no glue was used, and no pieces fell off) in July before being carefully transported – along with the other two dresses – to San Diego for the Her Universe Fashion Show, which Sawaya was one of the judges at.


However, after seeing how hair stylist and makeup artist Jen Blanchard had “specifically and meticulously made into an Ahsoka hairstyle, however, we decided it would be best to have her remain in the Ahsoka gown throughout the show” MacLaine shared with us.

Each year Eckstein wears a specially made gown that captures her love of geek couture, which she drops hints about prior to the show and while her fans were expecting an Ahsoka Tano tribute outfit they reeled when they dicovered the true nature of the gown. Decked out in over 10,000 bricks that weighted approximately 25 lbs (11 kgs) Eckstein received rapturous applause from the audience when she took her place on the stage to open the Her Universe Fashion Show.

Following the dress’s one and only catwalk appearance it was loaned to Lucasfilm who had it on public display in the lobby of their San Francisco offices until mid-2017.

Who knows where it went after that – perhaps it’s hanging up in Eckstein’s closet, waiting for the day her most famous character makes its live-action debut on The Mandalorian?

Extra special thanks to Andrew MacLaine, Nathan Sawaya and Matt Booker. Without their help, insight and images this feature would not have been possible.

Entertainment Earth

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