Masala: Emmy Award Winning Costume Designer Soyon An on Taking the Road Less Traveled

From styling the A-list glitterati to working on acclaimed TV shows and films, two-time Emmy award winning costume designer, Soyon An sat down virtually to share how she got her start, the importance of resilience and the uplifting message in her most recent work on the eclectic Netflix hit, “Julie and the Phantoms.”

Having been interested in the arts since high school, An dabbled with a variety of mediums before finding her passion in fashion design. While she was at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), An picked up a job styling A-list clients like Jessica Simpson, Mariah Carey and Kate Bosworth. Despite the success, she realized she missed designing, the creative endeavor she first set out in the industry to do. 

After a stint as a freelance costume design assistant for Fox’s award-winning program, “So You Think You Can Dance,” An was hired as a knitwear designer for Forever 21. The corporate role brought stability for the designer—a steady paycheck, health insurance and her parent’s approval. But six months into the role, An received a call that presented a new opportunity—to be the costume designer for “American Idol.” “It was kind of a big life decision and I felt like it was my major fork in the road,” she admitted. “The Sagittarius in me was totally like ‘TAKE THE JOB!’”

Her decision eventually led to her most recent work on Netflix’s “Julie and the Phantoms,” a musical comedy-drama about a teenage girl who finds her passion for music while helping the Phantoms, a trio of ghostly guys, and in turn, discovers who she is in life and on the stage. An supplements Julie’s state of mind by starting off the character in muted, oversized clothing but as the character builds up her confidence, An highlights the journey into more colorful, bolder ensembles. “Clothing just says so much about a person without you even having to talk to them,” she explained. “When I read a script about Julie’s description, it’s 12 pages long. I have to create a look that visually describes those 12 pages.” An hopes the show can inspire people to turn the hurt they feel into something beautiful, whether that is passion or ambition to follow their dreams. 

Watch the full video above to learn more on An’s tenacious journey to making her fashion dreams come true.