March 19, 2012
Fashion Office With The Coveteur: Janie Bryant
Explain your job in one sentence please: I am responsible for the costume design of an entire TV show or film, which includes all cast members and background artists, and to tell the story of their character through costume. What is a typical workday like for you? One thing that I have always loved about being a costume designer is that every day is different. My workday is usually around 12-14 hours if I'm lucky. A days work could consist of reading the script, costume meetings to talk about the script, sketching a design, working with my tailor, working with my assistant costume designer on an upcoming episode, talking with my costume supervisor about budgets and background artists, going to the fabric stores to swatch or buy fabric, going to the costume shops, and chatting about the upcoming scenes with my set costumers, who take care of the actors on set. I always have fittings, and I usually finish my workday by preparing for the next day's scenes to be shot with my assistant costume designer and key costumer. And theres always more What is your go-to work outfit? My go-to work outfit is a leather jacket, which I have in many colors and shapes, a detailed t-shirt or blouse, skinny jeans, high-heeled knee boots (usually black), stacks of bracelets/cuffs, sunglasses, and a BIG bag! How did you get this job? Did you always know you wanted it? I studied fashion design and thought that I was going to be a fashion designer. I have been designing clothes all my life and made my first dress when I was 8-years-old. When I moved to NYC I was working on 7th Avenue with a fashion designer, John Scher, as his assistant. One night at a party I happened to meet a costume designer named Alexandra Welker. She told me all about her job. I was enthralled with her every word and knew I wanted to be a costume designer from that moment on. What did you do before you started your company/freelance career? I was working for a fashion designer, John Scher in NYC. What's the best part of your job? The worst? The best part of my job is working with so many other creative people. While filming, the hours can be long, so the worst part is that I dont have enough time to spend with my husband and my poodle. How important is having a fashionable/chic work area? I would say it is of the utmost importance to have an inspiring work area, rather than having a fashionable/chic work area. Because it is my passion to costume design period film projects, it is extremely important to be immersed in the period that I'm working on. Therefore I always have inspiration boards everywhere in my office filled with photos, tear sheets, designs, and swatches. Do you email or use the phone more? Email, phone, text"the Trifecta! What surprises you the most about your career? One of the things that I find so surprising is the huge influence Mad Men has had on fashion around the world. What changes do you make to your look if you have to go to dinner or drinks immediately after work? I never know what the day has in store for me, so I usually have a few changes for any occasion in the trunk of my car! I always keep a spare evening bag in my big day bag along with a travel size of Downy Wrinkle Releaser. In my office, I keep earrings and evening jewelry in a drawer, and I always have extra pairs of high heels! If all else fails, in my makeup bag I have my evening shade of lipstick or lipgloss! What items do you think every working girl should own (clothing and accessories)? For me, it is about having a purse that's big enough to fit all of my scripts, sketches, makeup bag, and all the contents of my purse! I also like to have a strap on my bag where I can pin all my fabric swatches, notes, and fitting schedule. I also suggest a proper fitting bra and shapewear to make your clothes look their best. Do you use a Mac or a PC? (or Blackberry or iPhone?) Mac and iPhone What do you listen to when you're working? I listen to music when Im on the road driving from the studio to the costume shop to the fabric store and back to the studio (for instance). I have SiriusXM radio in the car, so I listen to all the country stations, 1st Wave, Siriusly Sinatra, and the love channel [SiriusXM Love]. What are you wearing today? High heel booties, a black t-shirt, black leather blazer, and black skinny jeans. What do you try to teach your interns/assistants? I try to teach them how to navigate their way through their careers and life as strong, talented people. I also try teach them that attention to detail is very important and to appreciate the steps along the way. I also want them to enjoy their work and be happy! Have you fulfilled your career goal or do you still have more to achieve? I have achieved a lot but still more to go and to grow. It's all about moving forward and evolving. It is about having different desires and wants, and going for it. What advice would you give to someone who wants to emulate your career path? Be clear about the things that you want. Everyones path is different, so it is about appreciating and learning all the steps along the way. Be true to yourself; believe in yourself; listen to yourself because you are the only one that knows what you want in life. And most importantly, be mindful of taking other peoples advice. They can only guide you from their own perspective, which is not connected to the experiences that you may have.