At Work With… Mary Lafayette, Costumer Supervisor / Wardrobe Stylist
The ‘At Work With…’ Interview Series is our way of bringing you behind-the-scenes with the people and businesses included in our Texas Production Directory (TPD). We want to showcase the creatives that cover all levels of production experience, backgrounds, and geographies around the state. This week’s spotlight is on Mary Lafayette, Costume Supervisor / Wardrobe Stylist based in Houston, and a brand-new Texan.
What’s the most memorable experience on a project or production that you’ve had and what made it so special?
All of the projects/productions I have worked on are memorable in many ways, but I would say that working on Legendary Seasons 1 and 2 have been the most memorable by far, especially season 1, because of all the craft work I was able to do. I love being able to learn new creative skills to enhance my qualifications, but working on the costumes by hand, and having the opportunity to work with some insanely talented vogue ballroom dancers from the top houses.
What are the skills required to succeed in your specific area of expertise?
PEOPLE SKILLS!! You can be personable AND professional! Hand sewing, creativity (great eye for styling and designing a look), some level of artistic ability (painting, custom design work, beading and embellishing), machine sewing (it is helpful to know the basics of sewing on a machine), troubleshooting and being flexible with last minute changes, effective shopping/being able to shop quickly for items last minute, great communication and negotiating skills, staying within (under) budget, being resourceful.
What advice have you been given that continues to be helpful in your work?
Always work hard, have fun, be a team player, be on time (15-30 minutes early is the norm for me), be yourself, communicate with your team, and respect your work, team and crew.
In your industry, collaboration is the key to success. How do you best foster collaboration with your colleagues from project to project?
Respect and communication build trust and ultimately (hopefully) create long-lasting relationships. I have worked with some really wonderful people over the years. We either keep in touch to check on each other, or check in to refer each other on projects, or hire each other on existing and upcoming projects.
What tools and supplies can’t you live without in your job and why?
Pre-thread sewing kit, pack of sewing needles, spools of thread (always have plenty of black and white), tool kit for the waist, mini supply kit that I carry by hand or use as a cross body bag, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, shout wipes, baby wipes, zip lock bags (small and large), fabric shears / scissors, lint rollers, top stick (the extreme stick lol), SAFETY PINS, fabric glue, shoe pads, portable steamer, black sharpies, writing pens, hot glue gun, white gaff tape, mole skin, first aid kit, bottled water ... My kit is now a rolling artist kit that I found on Amazon ... the best investment ever.
Why do you choose the Lone Star State as a place to live and work?
I chose to move here because of the history and large number of TV, film and commercial productions. I am conveniently located within 2-3 hour air travel (non-stop flight) to New York and California where I have worked the most, and lastly (and most importantly), because I have family here.
What’s the best part about working in Texas?
I am only one month and 3 days in as a "Lone Star State" resident. I look forward to working with some great people on some amazing productions and projects. Hopefully very soon.
What are some of the projects made in Texas that you feel reflect the diverse culture of the state?
I am not sure if any of these reflect the diverse culture of Texas, but some of my favorite TV series and films are: Queen of the South, Fear The Walking Dead, American Crime and Robocop.
Interview has been edited for brevity.
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