Two of the best shoes on right now, Girls and Orange is the New Black (OITNB), have something in common: costume design by Jenn Rogien.
Emmy-nominated designer, Jenn Rogien, uses her unique gift to add layers of personality to each character she dresses; by telling visual story through clothing, she helps deliver the message of the script. Rogien partnered with Winners for a media event in Toronto, where she chatted with us about her dream job and how she brings TV characters to life.
How did you go from studying chemical engineering at Yale to costume design?
I had declared engineering as my major but later changed to psychology. I was interested in studying chemical engineering because I love math and science; I'm generally curious and analytical. Whether it's breaking down a script, developing a character, running a budget, pulling looks or managing a crew, my job is the perfect combination of art, analysis and numbers.
For Rogien, clothing talks. The pumps say "executive," while this jacket and shirt scream "millenial." Leather pumps, $60, jacket, $25 and shirt, $50, winners.ca
What is your biggest challenge when styling characters?
Dressing them in a way that truthfully tells their story as it's written in the script. For Girls that means handling their constant evolution. For the inmates on OITNB, it's maintaining the characters' identities between life in prison and their lives in flashbacks or after they've been released.
What kind of research does your job involve?
I usually start with an online search. For Girls, I looked at a ton of street-style imagery. For OITNB, we source vintage catalogues and maintain a library in the design office. We also rely on the Picture Collection at the New York Library.
How do you juggle two busy shows?
Balance is a tough thing to find. For me, the different creative challenges of the shows keep me engaged and keep my energy going. I also have two incredible teams that work with me, and I have a deeply understanding and supportive husband. Plus, I'm very protective of my weekends.
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