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Meet the LA Costume Designer Behind 'Jem and the Holograms'

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Images via Soyon An
Images via Soyon An

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Earlier this year, it was revealed that wildly popular '80s cartoon Jem and the Holograms was headed to the big screen in the form of a live-action film directed by John M. Chu. While we're definitely feeling the cast that includes retro It girl Molly Ringwald, Nashville's Aubrey Peeples as Jem, Disney's Stefanie Scott as Kimber, Pretty Little Liars' Aurora Perrineau as Shana and The Fosters' Hayley Kiyoko as Aja, we're dying to see the costumes, which promise to be as "truly outrageous" as the original series.

Besides the highly-anticipated flick's plot (the Ryan Landels-written script centers around Jem and her sisters as they "embark on a music-themed scavenger hunt across Los Angeles in order to uncover a final message that was left by Jem's father"), Jem's other local connection is its costume designer, Soyon An. Here, An gives us the exclusive scoop on where she shopped for the film, what inspired each characters' style and who she identifies with the most.

How did you get your start in styling?
"It all started in high school, where I styled everyone. I'd style looks for everyday and prom, and even designed varsity shirts. I then studied Fashion Design at both FIDM and Otis College of Art and Design."

What were some of the sets you worked on early in your career?
"I was the costume designer for So You Think You Can Dance for six seasons, as well as the American Idol show, tour and concert tours."

Did you make any mistakes along the way?
"One mistake that stands out is being overly-ambitious with my designs. Sometimes there isn't enough time to create exactly what I want with the limited time production gives me for preparation. Now I know to just vocalize the reality of limitations of the time frame I'm given to make some of these costumes and come up with another option or solution."

Where do you shop in LA for all your film looks?
"I shop everywhere, from Downtown's Fashion District to costume houses to vintage stores. Some favorites include Wasteland, Playclothes, Kitson, Santee Alley, Topshop and, when online, Nasty Gal. I also like building custom pieces from a sketch. For my own wardrobe, I like to shop vintage, Barneys, Kitson...honestly, a little bit of everywhere!"

Now, let's talk Jem. Were you a fan of Jem before you got the gig?
"I wouldn't say I was a huge fan, but I was definitely familiar with the cartoon. It was one of the shows I watched growing up because it helped me learn English."

What was your individual style inspo for the main characters?
"For Jem aka Jerrica, she's indie rock-n-roll, but in a subtle, simple and fashionable way. Aja is totally punk rock and doesn't give a f*ck. Shana is a wannabe fashionista who's willing to try anything trendy and fabulous. Kimber is a girly-girl but in a tomboyish kind of way."

Did any pop culture figures inspire their looks?
"Definitely. Musicians like Guns N' Roses, Madonna and Gwen Stefani, and films like Almost Famous and The Runaways."

Care to namedrop any specific brands featured in the film?
"Alexander McQueen, Rebecca Minkoff, Elizabeth and James, Coye shoes, some Kitson designers and my own custom pieces."

Which character fits your personal style the most?"
"I'm all four girls rolled into one, really. I think that's why I had tons of fun designing their costumes!"

Jem and the Holograms is expected to hit theaters in 2016.
· Soyon An [Official Site]
· Jem the Movie [Official Site]


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