Strings sophomore Faith Amygdalitis adjusts the Japanese-inspired dress adorning the model and directs the photographer to utilize various camera angles in framing the shot.  The bright camera flashes and anxiety to capture the ideal photo may intimidate some; however, Amygdalitis is confident and in control, and she has reason to be, as the whole photoshoot is a product of her making.  Amygdalitis is an aspiring costume designer, and all of her creations are meticulously designed to celebrate specific cultures. Such a passion is cultivated from her photoshoots that showcase her designs, and they are just as lovingly crafted as the costumes she creates.

Photo courtesy of Chloe Reynolds
Band sophomore Talia Shusterman in a costume inspired by the moon, made by Amygdalitsis.
Photo courtesy of Alex Vallejo.

What inspired your interested in costuming?

I started exploring cosplay, [an activity where people dress up as characters and attend conventions], when I was in middle school, and I really loved it. Getting into the characters and designing things [is] what originally opened up the whole designing my own costume thing to me.


What factors go into the costume designing process?

The process to getting an ideal final product is never straightforward, or has set steps. Most projects go somewhat like this though: first, sketching the design out and writing extensive notes is important. I forget little details easily, so using as many descriptions as I can to explain the points is ideal for me. After that, coloring in the illustrations and finding the right fabrics is the hard part. Thrift stores are a savior when looking for everything cheap; it’s just searching everywhere for the right fabric that fits the image in mind. The sewing process takes around 10 hours for each [costume] since I hand sew everything. The final details of the costume, such as accessories and separate functioning parts, take around two hours alone to assemble. The final product then has to be arranged to be photographed and a date, time, and location for everything [must be set].


How long does it take you, on average, to plan a shoot including costuming, gathering models, and other essential steps in the process?

To plan takes about an accumulated day. It takes a lot of time to contact the photographer, make sure the costumes are ready, [and] get the filmographer. Preparing the costumes themselves can take two hours.

Photo courtesy of Chloe Reynolds
Strings sophomore Olivia Brumfield in a costume inspired by Mother Nature, made by Amygdalitis.

What inspired this specific shoot?

I wanted to express an array of different cultures through these characters [by] designing dresses and costumes that show their cultures through little things. There’s details in all the costumes and dresses that show different traditions from different cultures and portray them like royalty.


How often do you get inspired with new ideas?

I honestly get inspired with new ideas all the time, but putting them into action is the hard part. I usually sketch them out before they disappear and write some notes about the context and details, but the design has to be really special to get me spirited to sitting down for hours and trying to create it.


Now that the pre-production has been completed, Amygdalitis is currently preparing to shoot the last character in her series, The Sun.  Afterwards, she will be submitting both the photos and the costume designs to several contests.