In order for a show set in a past decade to work, the world portrayed on the screen has to make sense. Eddie Huang's show Fresh Off the Boat has been praised as an accurate and positive representation of what it's like growing up in an Asian American family, but the show also does a great job of portraying life in the 1990s. Part of the challenge with period shows is finding (or faking) the wardrobe of the times, something that the show's costume designer Debra McGuire knows a lot about.
McGuire was the costume designer on Friends, one of the biggest sitcoms of the '90s, as well as Superbad and Freaks and Geeks. In a recent interview with Fashionista, McGuire spoke about the process of finding old or retro clothes for the characters that look the part without being stereotypical. "There is a social responsibility," she said of working on the popular show in a time when diversity is ruling television, "and that’s one of the reasons I didn't want to go too far in any direction [with the period costuming.]"
A photo posted by hello (@hellofotb) on Mar 2, 2015 at 3:36pm PST
McGuire includes hip-hop references through pieces like Wu-Tang Clan, Public Enemy, Notorious B.I.G., and Beastie Boys shirts, but says that it can be hard to get approval from the artists and companies to use logos and images. She told Fashionista that she loves Eddie's character because all of his clothes match and he reminds her of her son.
Click through to read the full interview to learn more about what it takes to be a costume designer for a hit television show.