Truly Underground Fashion

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The Green Center for the Performing Arts has a secret.

Beneath Moore Theater, the "Narnia" of costume shops dwells, supplying DePauw theatrical productions with endless wardrobe options. A huge room filled with racks upon racks of clothing, a shoe storage room and a room that houses the machines for costume production lie under the stage. Here, students explore their artistic side, designing and helping make costumes. The costume shop provides students with the ability to escape to a place where high energy and freedom of expression are encouraged. Caroline Good, director of the costume shop, describes working there as a form of "therapy" for students.

Work-study students, along with students from various theatre productions and design classes, generally work in the shop, which is primarily run by students.

"I needed a work-study job after not being able to land one freshman year, and I was talking about it at lunch in my sorority when a friend of mine mentioned she worked there," said senior Lily Bonwich. "I had no idea we had a costume shop, let alone work-study opportunities for it."

Bonwich said she now loves working in the shop and described it as a place "to relax, sew and talk with friends."

Sophomore Amanda Troyer said the environment in the shop feels comfortable.

"I feel very at home working there," Troyer said. "It also allows me to get my creative juices flowing."

The staff usually consists of nine work-study students and eight students from the laboratory component of the theatre production and design class, who are required to work rotating shifts in the costume shop.

Students who have worked in the costume shop have often taken their skills outside the theatre world, too.

"I learned how to do a lot of new types of stitches that I never even knew existed," Troyer said. "I have also started making a lot of my own clothes, which is not only economically convenient for me, but I also have so much fun doing it."

Sophomore Elise Lockwood agreed that working in the costume shop offers many learning opportunities.

"I've learned a lot about building costumes, the actual sewing and constructing of them," she said.

Each year, four main stage shows feature student-designed costumes. About eight weeks go into each show. The students who work in the costume shop design most of the costumes, rather than purchasing them from outside producers.

Lockwood recalled her favorite experience working in the shop, designing the costumes for Hedda Gabler.

"I really got to dive into the script and use my imagination to decide what each character was going to wear. Even the research to make sure that what they were wearing is accurate for the 1890s was fun because I got to take what I found and twist it to my own style and the style of the play," Lockwood said.  "I think it was also fun because the characters in the play are mostly wealthy people, so the costumes got to be lavish and rich-looking."

The costume shop is always looking for more help. Prior knowledge of sewing or other costume production skills isn't necessary to work in the shop.

A production class is also offered for the student opera over Winter Term. Students can work backstage on costume and set design, among other things. 

Costume Studio Open Hours: 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

1:30 — 5:30 p.m.

3 — 6 p.m.

1:30 — 5:30 p.m.

3 — 6 p.m.

2 — 4 p.m.