An interview with Ann Foley, costume designer for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Zoe Zahariadis (ZZ): What is your job?
Ann Foley (AF): Costume Designer for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
ZZ: What brought you into this industry? What did you like about it?
AF: I was in college majoring in Fashion Merchandising when a movie came to my home town of Savannah Georgia. I instantly fell in love with the costumes & decided to table the Fashion degree in favor of working in the film biz. I loved the creativity & that each project is it’s own entity. One film could be a period piece where I would be submerged into the 40’s, the next a western & then futuristic science fiction! You never know what the next job holds for you & I really love that challenge.
ZZ: Is it ever difficult to be a woman in this industry?
AF: I can only speak to my own experience & for me the answer is no. One of the things I truly love about this industry & especially a company like Marvel is that there are so many different opportunities for women in all different fields. I applaud the fact that Marvel celebrates diversity & we talk about that extensively at the Women of Marvel panels which I am proud to be a part of.
ZZ: What is an average day like during filming? During pre-production?
AF: Each episode starts with a concept meeting where we break down the script beat by beat with the writers & director. From there we start either shopping or building the costumes, depending on the needs of the character. Then we start fittings just before we start shooting. On the first day of shooting we start prepping the next episode! So we’re always prepping & shooting at the same time! It becomes a bit of a balancing act! Thankfully I have a brilliant crew who keep it all in order!
ZZ: What is the best part about your job?
AF: The creativity
ZZ: What is your best advice to young girls who want to be in the field of costume designing?
AF: Study & build your references! Whether they be fashion, film, architecture, art, etc… Costume Designers are like Anthropologists! We study everyone & everything to be able to draw on these experiences to create believable characters. Also take some sewing classes – learn about construction. I personally don’t sew but I do understand construction. It’s important to know how clothes should fit the actors & how to create the perfect silhouette for all different body types.