Meet Costume Designer Katrina Hodge

KATRINA HODGE is a freelance Costume Designer specialising in film and television, with some 20 years' experience under her stylish belt…


FashioNZ:  How did you come to be a Costume Designer?
Katrina:   With a background in fashion and retail, costuming was an easy transition. My mother owned a string of vintage clothing stores – No Go Zone with Judy Neale (who then went on to open This is not a Love Shop), and Kaos Clothing – both in Karangahape Road. I also worked at Hunters and Collectors in K Rd and Victoria Park Market in the early ‘90s part time, which was an amazing life experience surrounded by cool.  At 18 I was at AUT doing a pattern making and garment assembly course. A friend’s mother -Jeanette Goode – who was a Costume Designer at the time, plucked me out of AUT  In 1994 and employed me at South Pacific Pictures on the series Plainclothes.  I took on a menial workroom assistant position.  I was paid $50 a day and I worked my butt off and proved myself.  I dressed all the extras, did alterations and steamed and prepped the garments.
Now I’m a Costume Designer at South Pacific Pictures (Most recently for The Almighty Johnson's and Nothing Trivial season 2).  I’m a Head of Department, and have pretty much worked myself through every costume job there is, to this position.  I have the strength of knowledge of everyone’s roles in this department.

FashioNZ:  What do you love about your job?
Katrina:  Nothing is ever the same.  It’s a nomadic industry and things change a lot –  I’m constantly challenged by new things, which I really enjoyed.  I love creating character  costumes, it’s a fine art.  You are telling the story of that personality through their clothing.  You have to really know the nuts and bolts of the character and their background.  It’s wonderful when you get it right (like (Outrageous Fortune’s) Cheryl West.  And the people – there are amazing people in the industry.


Outrageous Fortune character Cheryl West


FashioNZ:  Is there anything you dislike about your work?
Katrina:  The hours can be hard.  Generally I do between 50 and 70 hours a week, and if it’s 50 I usually take work home – things like character research, script breakdown, and compiling character shopping lists.

FashioNZ:  Who inspires you?
Katrina:  Lots of people.  Anything!  Everying that touches me.  I’m inspired by local designers’ ranges.  I love iconic people in history:  Patti Smith, Jane Birkin, Lauren Bacall, Marianne Faithful, Chrissy Hynde, David Bowie, Steve McQueen.

FashioNZ:  What’s been a highlight of your career to date?
Katrina:  Being Inspired and creative every day!  Working on Outrageous Fortune was amazing – but all shows bring their own joys.  Award nominations are pretty special, where collegues in my industry are acknowledging my work. 

FashioNZ:  What’s your advice to those wanting to work as Costume Designers?
Katrina:   The industry is hard to get into.  If you can get in, it’s who you know, and then what you know.  You have to run on your feet, think before you need something, be very thorough, have initiative, be a problem solver, and be ahead of your game.

FashioNZ:  Describe your own style…
Katrina:  Quite classic.  I like vintage, I like to wear suits with shirts and trainers; and dresses and coats – I buy up all the new season coats for Wardrobe.  I love a good boot (I spend a lot of my money at Mei Mei).  I’m influenced by what’s new and coming through in new season ranges that I really love.  Colours, fabrics, textures and cuts are all my thing, rather than a ‘look’.

FashioNZ:  Whose style do you admire?
Katrina:  Internationally:  Carine Roitfeld, Taylor Tomasi, and Bill Cunningham, for having his own look!  And not buying into the glitz. He has true 'character'.  Oooh – and I love Emmanuel Alt.

In our world, Chris Lorimer from Ciel PR.  I love how he presents himself and how he is really true to his look, and I think he has such good taste.  Kate Sylvester always looks smashing.  Murray Crane is always well turned out, and Chris from Crane Brothers in High Street is divine.  All the kids at Zambesi!


Kate Sylvester and Nga Waiata at Ryder Britomart

Photo: David Grrr


FashioNZ:  Can you share five style tips?
1.    Good underwear:  a really good structured, well-fitted bra that gives a good shape and that you don’t spill out of.  A good seam-free brief.
2.    Colour.
3.    Great accessories.
4.    Incredible shoes.
5.    Don’t be afraid to be individual.


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