The amount of costumes that hang stored for the performing arts department in the Browning Center almost add up to the amount of hours costume design students spend creating them. The costume design room is tucked away on the third floor of the Browning Center, where approximately 100 students work together to provide costumes for Weber State University’s theater department.
Kelsey Nichols, a 22-year-old costume design major at WSU, has been working in theater since she was a little girl. Taking 18 credit hours for her senior year, working as a makeup artist at Lagoon’s Frightmares, and working for hours in the design room is how she spends her days.
“Lately I have been working on projects for 12 hours or more a day, getting ready for our upcoming show Charm,” Nichols said. “You’d think I wouldn’t have a social life, but even after the long hours, I still love it, because we have a built-in social life here.”
Behind the design room is a closet full of thousands of costumes for all shapes and sizes, genres and eras. The costumes are hung on racks not only lined from wall to wall, but also from the floor to the ceiling.
“Yesterday, we took hide-and-go-seek breaks, and we had one finder and the rest of us were hiding in the costumes and things,” said Derek Williamson, another costume design major.
The rows of costumes never go to waste; the design students are constantly recycling the clothing. If they don’t like the way something fits, they redesign it to fit what they are looking for.
“A lot of designers want to build their designs from scratch,” Nichols said. “For our show starting tonight, Charm, we went through and pulled a lot of men’s pants and things and a couple of jackets that we had, but then we also went through and tailored a bunch of new jackets and built a bunch of corsets. It’s kind of a give-and-take, depending on what type of show it is.”
Catherine Zublin, a theater professor, said she feels she is not only a professor for the students, but a mentor.
“Tuesday night we were here until 2 a.m.,” Zublin said. “The reason is I feel very strongly that the buck stops here with costumes for me. Yes, I have a student designer; yes, he is responsible, but I’m his mentor. So I don’t ask students to do things I’m not willing to do.”
The WSU Department of Performing Arts kicked off its newest musical, Charm, on Friday, Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m. More information about the WSU Department of Performing Arts is available at http://www.weber.edu/performingarts/.