The Cool Fashion Job You Didn't Know Existed

When Focus Features reached out about a press opportunity involving LAIKA—America’s premiere stop-motion animation studio—and its latest film offering, Kubo and the Two Strings, my first thought was Cool! But what’s the fashion angle? And that’s when I learned about a little-known design career and the über-talented woman behind it.

On the quick trip to Portland, Oregon, I would meet with LAIKA’s resident costume designer, Deborah Cook. Having worked on such celebrated stop-motion films as Corpse Bride, Coraline, and The Boxtrolls, to name a few, the London native specializes in making pint-size costumes. But as I would quickly learn, her job is no small matter. From conceptualizing a character’s sartorial narrative to physically making each piece of clothing (with some looks requiring up to 30 duplicates!), costume design on a this scale can be as demanding and time consuming as the animation itself!

Arriving at the studios, we were given a rare peek at the design process behind the incredible costumes of LAIKA’s new fantasy action thriller Kubo and the Two Strings, which stars Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey and is in theaters today. After walking us through giant inspiration boards, complete with sketches and fabrics, and showing us how some of the looks are brought to life, we sat down with Cook to get the scoop on her awesome job. Keep reading for our exclusive interview.