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Meet Stephanie Aguayo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Aguayo.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Stephanie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started as a costumer four years ago in theater and then began to do projects in tv/film. Through the work, I discovered I really enjoyed the process of aging, dyeing and distressing garments. I love to tell a story through color, I happened to learn about color pigments when I was young and I’ve always been fascinated with oil paintings and restoration.

Color can convey a lot, especially on screen and on stage. I always take the time to experiment with dyes, whether its something like Rit or if I’m using natural dyes in the form of vegetables and plants. It’s a slow process, I love discovering new colors and explaining the process which is why I plan to do workshops in the fall. I’m also producing, writing and hosting a podcast on Fashion History and Costume History, titled “Dressing the Screen” with the purpose of discussing the framework that surrounds Costume as art and craft.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been a winding road! Pursuing this line of work in not easy during this climate, but it brings me peace and joy. It’s an affirmation every time I see a client happy with my work. I also do it for myself, I like to challenge myself in my art which is why I explore so many different mediums. The current challenge is getting the word out that I do this kind of work, it’s hard for people to understand what it is. I consider myself a Costume Craftsperson, meaning I can do a lot! I can design, you need something to look 50 years old? I can age it with tea and paint and give it a patina. Distressing involves taking a garment and running over it (if need be) to wear it out. There’s all sorts of approaches one takes on in this realm of work and it’s certainly an art form. I think that has been the biggest challenge, getting the respect for me and my fellow costumers. It’s art and its work and it has its place in entertainment that needs to be studied further and seen as art.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I call myself a Costume Crafts person. I am also a Costume Designer, Fabricator, Ager/ Dyer and I also do embroidery and work with textiles and illustrate. I specialize in dyeing garments for stage and screen. I also enjoy working with textile clients and pattern makers, I love bringing a good color story to life. I’m known for my dip dyes, ombre work and aging and distressing garments for tv/film and theater. At the moment, I am most proud of having acquired a floor loom, I still need to assemble it and set it up but I will basically be able to weave my own textiles in the way my ancestors did. I’d say I’m a very adventurous person and when clients approach me, I am always up for experimenting and learning. I think I learn from everyone I work with and I carry that on to the next phase, the next project, the next exchange.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Last year, I had the opportunity to assist a Costume Designer fabricate Monster Costumes for the artist, Ayokay’s album “We Come Alive”. It was a small team of four of us that helped her with her sourcing, construction, fittings, down to the nails that went on to these creatures! It was over 120 hours of work, we used techniques similar to Disney in construction and I learned a lot about fabricating a creature, it was really rewarding.

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