Designer Clothing

Getting ‘Curious’ With Costume Designer Katherine Victoria Repp

Costume structure normally consists of a wonderful deal of analysis and scheduling. But for the the latest Montclair State College output of “The Curious Incident of the Puppy in the Evening-Time,” costume designer Katherine Victoria Repp, a junior in the theatre, layout, know-how and management plan, went higher than and over and above to learn much more about moral garments sources and accessibility.

“Researching accessible garments was truly critical to the authenticity of this demonstrate and researching in which these outfits appear from was an critical thing for me, individually, as a designer,” Repp mentioned. “Designing has manufactured me increasingly aware of how costuming can in some cases be a wasteful exercise because garments are usually acquired with velocity and price tag in head. This, regrettably, prospects to obtaining from unethical resources this kind of as Amazon and Shein.”

When purchasing her costume items, Repp tried out to prevent quickly trend firms that exploit their personnel and make garments as cheaply as probable. In its place, she opted for well-made, timeless principles to make up her neutral base costumes.

The goods she acquired will grow to be portion of costume stock to be employed in a lot of other displays. Sustainable purchasing is not one of the foundations of costuming, although Repp is acquiring a knack for it.

“I wouldn’t say that it helps make it more difficult, but it definitely is a instrument that requires time and follow to produce,” Repp said. “This display gave me a plethora of excellent sources in phrases of sustainable shops, as properly as techniques of deciding what shops are ‘safe’ compared to which are unethical.”

Scenic designer Louis Medrano, lighting designer Justin Stuart, Katherine Victoria, assistant scenic designer Frank Scarnaty jr., and assistant stage manager Miranda Rhode. Photo courtesy of Markus Johnson

Scenic designer Louis Medrano, lighting designer Justin Stuart, Katherine Victoria Repp, assistant scenic designer Frank Scarnaty Jr., and assistant phase manager Miranda Rhode.
Image courtesy of Markus Johnson

Employing what she learned in “The Curious Incident of the Puppy in the Night time-Time,” Repp hopes to continue on her a lot more sustainable practices as the costume designer for future semester’s creation of “Pippin.”

“In my following present, I system on continuing to use my primary resource which was,” Repp said. “This web page has an awesome listing. I will also retain employing thrift retailers and next-hand retailers, as properly as little costume artisans and businesses.”

In addition to sustainable sourcing, Repp also investigated how the major character’s sensory difficulties would impact the apparel he wears. The way Christopher perceives the earth was important to Repp’s design and style notion.

“The general idea of the exhibit was to exhibit the earth by means of Christopher’s eyes,” Repp mentioned. “For me, as a designer, that meant that Christopher’s dresses experienced to accommodate his needs.”

Mainly because the character of Christopher is neurodivergent, Repp experienced to consider unique treatment in her design selections.

“I observed what mom and dad experienced done for their youngsters with related needs as Christopher,” Repp said. “His jeans are particularly created to make it possible for for motion and are designed with an elastic waistband to enable Christopher costume himself. A further factor we did was use elastic laces on his sneakers. Converse especially was recommended by a mother who mentioned that her son preferred them, because of to the protection about the ankle and the flatness of the soles.”

Photo courtesy of Gennadi Novash

Andrew Linden as Christopher and the ensemble of “The Curious Incident of the Doggy in the Evening-Time.”
Image courtesy of Gennadi Novash

Getting investigated available clothing objects for Christopher, some of Repp’s newfound awareness also created its way into her patterns for other figures. One elderly character, for case in point, wore a sweater with back again closures built to offer accessibility to nursing guidance. In that way, criteria of accessibility ended up not confined to Christopher but grew to become component of the broader material of her exhibit.

Her work and energy do not go unnoticed, specially by classmate Justin Stuart, a senior theatre manufacturing/style and design major and also the lighting director for “Curious Incident.”

“I imagine [Repp’s] major good results was costuming an ensemble in contemporary apparel so perfectly,” Stuart stated. “They all soften into the qualifications when the concentration isn’t on them, but when they are existing, you really feel it.”

Her director and affiliate professor of theatre and dance, Heather Benton, also had high praise for Repp’s perform in sustainable costume style.

“My expertise collaborating with [Repp] on ‘Curious Incident’ was great,” Benton reported. “From the beginning, [Repp] was pretty committed to exploring and getting obtainable clothes for the character of Christopher, and her structure was deeply influenced by the nuances of Christopher’s character as articulated in the novel, in individual, the way he responds to selected colors and the mathematical homes of styles.”

Previously mentioned all, Repp’s objective was to give audiences a way into Christopher’s headspace and foster empathy with his activities.

“This show taught me about how lots of things go into the clothes we use, not in just the obvious ways, but also [in terms of] how we place them on and how textures, seams, closures, and many others., make us sense,” Repp explained. “[Also], how these things can improve our mood and possibly provide or debilitate us. I hope this [allowed] audiences to sympathize with Christopher and genuinely see what his earth seems to be and feels like.”

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