Beverley Hugnh is a tremendous advocate for continuing to push for diversity in Hollywood both in front of and behind the cameras as well as initiatives such as #STOPASIANHATE. Beverley Huynh is a Costume Designer originating from Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Photographer : Shimon Karmel
In 2009, she turned her lifelong passion for fashion design (and her mission to be the next Vera Wang) into a career with the film and television industry as an active member of the costume department for IATSE 891 and ACFC.
Though she endured many obstacles along the way, she stayed the course, which was fueled by a creative mind and unwavering persistence. After years of working to achieve what her parents considered an acceptable back up plan, she took the leap of faith to pursue her passion and went into costume design full-time. After spending a year learning from other experts in her field in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia, Beverley has returned to Vancouver to utilize all that she has learned. Her work is woven into the masterpieces of “Van Helsing”, “The 100”, “Arrow”, “A Million Little Things," “Siren," “The Flash”. She is passionate about the art of creating characters and story with fabric, fine delicate details, the development of textile, technology and much more.
There is a continuing need for diversity in front of the camera, but Beverly strives to use her voice to bring the diversity behind the camera in all areas—inclusive of those who can weigh in on the decision-making. For her, it’s not just about representation; it’s a shift in the power of Hollywood to people with different cultural backgrounds.
How did you get started as a Hollywood costume designer? What's your signature style?
I started out in Fashion with print, editorials and commercials. A friend asked me to help out by designing a short film while I was in fashion school. Being a theatre kid, I absolutely fell in love. I eventually worked my way up through the ranks within the department, starting with independents and MOWs (Movie of the Weeks) and eventually in film unions (IATSE). I would say my signature style is mixed media of modern and vintage eras.
Tell me the process of creating a look as a costume Designer for TV or a movie versus stage?
The process for all three is the same. It all starts with a script. The descriptions give hints of what to know on the character you're creating for. From there, mood boards, color palettes and illustrations are pitched for approval by directors, producers, creators, writers and networks. Then you bring talent in for fittings, and you send options for decision makers to pick their favorites for what is called for. What differs from all three is time for preparations, turn around and logistics of the best execution requirements.
What the timetable like for a project?
How long does it take to get the final stage. It depends on the project, but for Movies and TV the prep time is on going is dependent on the shooting schedule. Prep starts anywhere between 4 weeks prior to the first day of shooting. For plays depending on requirements, you could have anywhere between 4 weeks to 2 weeks, but once it's set up you mainly manage maintenance.
What do you love and or hate about social media today? Being in the business of fashion entertainment.
I love social media for being able to share freely and ownership of work that can be made public for people who are interested. What I don't love is sometimes the amount of followers dictates the amount of talent.
What your most prudish accompaniments as a costume designer?
My favorite tool is my iPad and a program called Procreate that I use to sketch. It creates time-lapse videos and is an excellent tool for any digital artist.
How does it feel to be a woman of color in the entertainment fashion filed of costume design?
It's definitely empowering, but comes with its challenges. I just hope that I'm paving the way for others who wouldn't consider this form of expression and line of work for other people of color.
Are the any parts you would never do, or do you feel you're open for anything?
I love a good challenge, generally up for any project that has a rich story and diverse characters. However, if the narrative is derogatory I'm less inclined to take it on.
What costume design had you inspired as a young girl?
Some standouts are Memoirs of a Geisha, The Cell, Moulin Rouge, theater that involved Shakespeare, Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and of course, Harry Potter.
What inspires you in life? How do you stay humble?
People and their stories inspire me. Art, nature and masters of their craft. I love surrounding myself around people who are better, smarter and are experts in their craft. I love learning from them. My family keeps me humble. I came from humble beginnings with a family who worked tirelessly for the life I have. That keeps me grounded.
What advice can you give to others who would love to do what you've done as a career?
Keep learning, seek out new information, travel and surround yourself around like-minded individuals.
How can fans find you on social media?