The problem with using fan work comes down to ownership rights. There's a big of legal work involved when someone submits something as a non-employee. Things like contests, however, take care of the legalese up front by requiring contestants to accept an agreement that usually acknowledges that their submission will lawfully become the property of the contest sponsor if they're chosen (sometimes they don't even have to be a winner).
This. I think holding a contest for a cool design to throw up onto the social vendors would be pretty neat.
While the current end game armor sets may not be the most popular, it's up to their internal artists to bring the game more in line with your typical Star Wars fare for armors. While we haven't seen the newer designs yet, I'm content to wait and see what they do. My scoundrel can stand to be a space ranger for the time being (you're all under Space Arrest by the way).