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Why Costume Designers Are the Secret Heroes of Storytelling

The work of a costume designer accomplishes way more than just making the characters look cool, without you ever realizing most of it.

Why Costume Designers Are the Secret Heroes of Storytelling

WHAT: A new video that pays tribute to the under-praised talents of costume designers.

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WHO: Movie-obsessed video essayists, Now You See It.

WHY WE CARE: Sometimes it is easy to forget that every single detail in a movie is completely intentional. All those amazing songs slotted seamlessly into Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? They didn’t just end up there by accident or some kind of payola scandal, they were heavily fussed over by John Hughes and his music supervisor. The same thing goes for Ferris’ weird leopard print vest. We take it for granted that this is what he’s wearing on his notorious 10th day off of the school year, but why? What does that vest communicate without viewers dwelling on it too much? A new video goes through all the considerations a costume designer must make when putting possibly iconic outfits together–and it’s a more complex exercise than many might have gathered. These outfits have to take into account not only style, but class, background, time period, geography, and personal grooming habits. That’s a tall order! Watch below for specific examples of people putting way more thought into outfits than you did when choosing yours this morning.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.

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