A costume is the armour of an actor, which he or she dons to get ready for battle and face the cameras. The responsibility of readying them for this war rests on the shoulder of a costume designer. They are the ones who have the responsibility of lending confidence to the actors and realizing the vision of the director.
So what exactly does it take to do this job? We got in touch with Bibi Zeeba Miraie, a costume designer who has worked on projects like Jodha Akbar, No one killed Jessica, Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana, Bajatey Raho, and most recently, Beyond the Clouds.
Media Konnect: How did you begin your journey to be a costume designer?
Zeeba: I have always really enjoyed the idea of creating things and I had a flair for fashion long before I even knew that I’d want to be a part of the fashion industry. I have always loved dressing up people who are close to me, like family and friends. So after my college, I enrolled myself with a couple of friends, to this design institute called the Empire Institute of learning. It was a very casual approach, but the process of learning the art actually came quite naturally to me and I have thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the course and the education for fashion that I was being provided with. We had a fashion show, and I won the major awards for my collection, the “Kimaya Excellence Award” and also the “Collection of the Year Award”. The show was judged by Neeta Lulla and it was there, where I got a job at her fashion house and the opportunity to work on the feature film Jodha Akbar. That’s where my journey began as a Costume Designer and stylist began! I realized how much I actually loved what I was doing.
MK: Is it a different experience working on different platforms i.e. film, TV series, videos etc.?
Zeeba: It all depends upon the project. Every project or subject has its own demands. We, as people are each different from one another likewise every character we create is different. Whether it’s film/TV/videos the process is nearly the same. We have to get into finer nuances and details of a character/script depending on the nature of the subject chosen. A lot of research goes into a project if we are depicting real people and their stories because there can be no mistakes in those situations. It’s creatively satisfying, working on different subjects and stories is always challenging and it makes me happy when it’s appreciated and acknowledged by the directors and other creatives who are part of the film.
MK: What are some of the biggest challenges and biggest rewards of your work?
Zeeba: The biggest challenges are the ones when I have to get things done on very, very short notice. I have had to get elaborate costumes made overnight in a couple of hours and that’s very tricky. Organizing and putting together looks after making them in such short notice is super chaotic! It’s synchronized mayhem!
For me, a simple smile and look of approval from my directors and actors is the best reward because they create and live the character long before I design what they would be wearing and how they would be looking. It’s so important for the actor to feel correct in the costumes given to him because it just adds to the performance and helps create the character that the director visualises. I feel really happy when I have put to life what the director envisioned.
MK: What does a typical day of working look like for you? What is your schedule like?
Zeeba: It all depends on the kind of project I’m working on. We have to start with research on the subject /characters, then we go about designing the looks, creating the personalities of the characters in sync with the vision of the creatives/director, art director, and cinematographer. Then the actual process of making and sourcing the costumes begins. We have really hectic days at times where we work round the clock. While some days could just be like a light fun day of understanding the character and research.
MK: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to make it as a costume designer?
Zeeba: Have the faith and patience in doing what you do. Work hard and enjoy the process!
These words of wisdom are bound to help anyone who wants to be a costume designer. If you are someone who is a creative soul looking for their first break, then make a profile with us now!