Fuzzy hair, neon colors, leggings, colorful makeup and swimsuits… We’re counting down for the second season of Netflix’s Glow, which we excitedly await and features everything about the ‘80s. We appease our thrill with costume designer Beth Morgan.
“The hunt for finding the perfect hidden treasure became a passion. I loved theater and old movie musicals growing up. So, it just became natural that I study costume design for the theater in college,” says Morgan who grew up going to estate sales and thrift stores. This led her to Los Angeles where she started working in film and designed costumes for many productions such as Ghost Ghirls, Key and Peele, and The Last Man on Earth. One of the invisible heroes of the film industry, Morgan’s choices are based on projects that enable her to create a new world. “After I get the job, I dive deeper into research for the show. Depending on what the show calls for, I will start to gather images and do boards of inspiration looks for each character or group type. After all the elements are in place for what our look will be, I start to gather clothing by either resourcing fabric and making the clothes custom, shopping or combining the two. Then we start the fittings and final touches before we start shooting.”
We ask her the question everyone is curious about, “What inspired you when you designed the costumes for Glow?” This is when we witness that there is no limit to Morgan’s imagination and ability to design new things. “I did a lot of research from old family photos as well as Sears and J.C. Penney Catalogues. I watched some of my favorite movies from that time. Karate Kid, Girls Just Want to Have Fun… Music videos and of course wrestling footage.” She clearly defines the relationship between period costumes and characters in Glow. “Glow is from 1985 and so this is all they know what to wear.” Although we mostly think about the iconic style of the ‘80s, what else was going on in that period? We ask her about her favorite costume/piece from that era from the ‘80s considering that the costumes reflect the historical, political and cultural atmosphere of the period. She responds with a piece we’re familiar from her personal account – sweaters! “I love the sweaters of the ‘80s. They have such amazing detail and are so well made. Each one I have found feels unique and one of a kind.”
” I have been so lucky to get to design shows that feel like they have a deeper message.”
‘80s is not the only era embedded in Morgan’s picks for period costumes; she has also been a part of the ‘60s with the movie “The Help.” “What do you think about the costume design process of periodic productions?” She replies, “For most shows, the process is the same, even if it takes place in modern times. I still have to research what makes the character tick. I need to be able to offer a reason to what they would choose to wear and why.”
We cannot help but surrender ourselves to Morgan’s exciting and busy schedule. We ask her with curiosity, “You’ve been a costume designer for more than 15 years. What was its challenges? Are there any shortcomings or novelties in the field?” She replies, “The challenge is always finding the most interesting shows. I have been so lucky to get to design shows that feel like they have a deeper message. Every costume designer works so hard, and we work lots of long hours. So, for me it has always been important to really believe in the story you are helping to tell. I truly love what I do and that is a blessing. The shortcoming is the hours for sure! Most days are at least 12 hours and usually start either very early in the morning or in the afternoon and go until the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes it can be both of those in the same week, so it is hard to keep a routine. I have two small kids, so the balance is a big challenge.” We believe that she compensates for her long working hours with the passion she feels for her profession. We ask Morgan what she would wish to know if she went back to the early years of her career, and she replies with a sincerity we’re not used to hearing in an interview. She says, “To take more photos! I worked on some amazing projects and never took photos!” reminiscing about those years.
“What is or should be the signature look in a famous costume designer’s wardrobe?” we ask curiously. She replies, “Black jeans and Versace sunglasses,” in contrast to her colorful personality. We cannot wait to witness the visual feast Beth Morgan creates for the second season of Glow.