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An Interview with Sophia Amoruso & Visiting The #Girlboss Costume Department

Creative Business May 23, 2017

An Interview With Sophia Amoruso

Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Which is why it seems like eons ago that I travelled to LA to visit the set of Netflix’s new Girlboss show, explore the Costume Department and interview Sophia Amoruso.

In case you’re not familiar, the TV show Girlboss is loosely based on the life of Sophia Amoruso, from her beginnings as a small time eBay seller in the early 2000’s to the CEO of fashion retailer Nastygal. Because of the era in which it was set, and the subject matter, the show and Sophia herself has so much to offer in terms of an insight into a creative business, so it was really amazing to get to visit the costume department and have a little sit down with Sophia herself.

An Interview With Sophia Amoruso

As part of my trip I got to have a quick sit down with Sophia, which was really interesting, and needless to say I was very nervous…

On a side note, I did this interview in August last year, and I’m sure that you know that since then Nastygal has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, not bankruptcy per say but it does indicate that the company is in trouble. You’ll see in the video that I asked Sophia about what mistakes she had made in the past (remember I love that question?) and whilst at the time I only viewed her answer from the surface, in light of what subsequently happened at Nastygal has a lot more weight now. Watch the video and let me know what you think about her answer! (I’m also interested to see where the show takes the whole rollercoaster of Sophia’s success).

It was a pretty wild experience, one minute being in my little studio in Hong Kong and the other sitting under the bright lights of the Girlboss set (and MAN I was jetlagged!!) but such a great opportunity to learn more about other people’s creative processes. Now, onto the wardrobe!

Behind the Scenes of the Costume Department

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it here but costume designer was a dream profession growing up, so when I was invited to visit the set of the show I couldn’t turn it down, particularly when I was told I would have all access to the Costume Designer and Department!

Naturally, as soon as I landed on set I was itching to meet the head Costume Designer, Audrey Fischer (see also True Blood, and That 70’s Show) and have her talk me through her creative process.  Below, I’ve outlined the steps that Audrey described, bearing in mind that this is a seriously condensed version of what is a very complicated job!

1. Script Breakdown

The first thing that Audrey and her team does it break down the script to work out the exact requirements for costuming the show – exactly how many outfits for each character, outfit changes, and the actual requirements of the outfits (i.e. what will the actor do in them?). Once they’ve done that they zoom out to understand what each scene itself will be like in terms of colours, shape and lighting, to further get to grips with what is needed for the costume. *All I could think is that you’d have to be very organised to keep that all straight in your head!

2. Researching/Moodboarding

Then, onto another key stage – research. Audrey and her team immerse themselves in researching the subject and era. From that they create research boards which are a mix of the subject matter, in this case real photos of Sophia and pieces form her closet that she had kept, as well as imagery from fashion books, magazines, internet printouts.   These boards are then presented to the rest of the Girlboss team (like the show runner and producer), in order to agree the visual direction for the different characters. *For Girlboss, this step was made even more tricky by the fact that style in the 2000’s when the show is set was a mix of other eras like the 60’s and 70’s, and replicating this style in a believable way was a multilayered process.

3. Sourcing/Designing

Next, on to actually finding the clothes – the part that appeals to me the most but, in fact, after I heard Audrey talk about it I realised how challenging it is. Being a vintage lover, Audrey looks to source genuine vintage pieces from Fairs and stores, trying to match what she has in her head and on her mood boards with the actor and scene. In many cases items will also need to be made from scratch, which is something Audrey will do herself. Talk about multitalented!

4. Shooting

Once the show starts shooting (for #Girlboss Audrey was given 5 weeks pre-shooting to plan and source the clothes), the costume department works around the clock to have costumes ready for shooting, source additional items or work on further episodes. The work fun never ends!

Thank you for having me Netflix!


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