Stepping In

Meet Michela


30 September 2021

Favourite quote

"just keep swimming"

– Dory

You’re very soon embarking on a new experience and it’s so exciting… tell us about it, how did it come about?

Costume design has always been close to my heart, when preparing for my O-levels I would look up different costume designing courses to keep myself motivated. Malta does not have any courses in costume designing or making, and I lacked the necessary experience to go read for a BA in costume design after sixth form. Therefore, I chose to read for a BA in Digital Arts and get as much work experience as possible in the field during this period. Fortunately, the work experience served as a very steep learning curve and allowed me to learn things which cannot be taught in a classroom. Having said so, I still need to learn a lot. Which is why this year I applied for my MA in costume making at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, I am very excited to have been accepted and cannot wait to start my course in October!

What inspires you and motivates you to pursue your goals?

I cannot sit still; my mind is constantly buzzing from one goal to another. Each new goal/project excites me, and my excitement generally motivates me to work. When this motivation isn’t enough I try to create schedules or plan out my time according to my deadlines.

Generally, I have to juggle more than one project at a go which means I have to manage my time very carefully and cannot afford to stall or waste time, funnily enough, the juggling act motivates me to do more and ensures that I am very careful about my deadlines.

What are you most curious about in life? Does it show in your designs?

Since I work in costume designing it is very different from fashion, generally my role in designing is taking the director’s vision and ideas and designing them and making them a reality. I love to design bombastic and dramatic designs, probably because I love trying to push my own boundaries, but not all projects have the budget or need such extreme designs.

Can you describe/outline your typical day?

My typical day changes according to the project/s I am working on and the stage of the project. At the start it consists of a lot of running around, designing, sewing and meetings. During production there is very little time to sleep as I juggle my freelance costume and designing projects with my part time teaching jobs. After the production I have to sort out returning costumes and would usually start working or planning my next ventures.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Fortunately, I am constantly surrounded by inspirational people, from my family life to my work place there are many strong individuals who are hard working, bright and lovely. If I had to choose I would probably say my Nanna Bell, she thought me how to sew, and we really love sewing together. Nanna tells me that she always tries to look on the bright side of life because it makes it a lot better than looking at the negatives. Her joyful perspective is inspirational and her love for sewing and clothing makes her my most inspirational person.

What does success mean to you?

Success is more than just reaching a goal, getting into and completing a course or a dream job. I have been very fortunate, and if you spoke to me 5 years ago I would tell you that my current state is already a big success. At the moment I feel like success will be when I am getting paid a good enough wage to support me while working on projects I am passionate about.

What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?

Every project comes with new challenges. I love to push my boundaries and try make the best and sometimes most complex designs in my very limited time. My greatest fear is that I push my boundaries too far and don’t manage to deliver works of a high enough standard. Sometimes this can be especially overwhelming but I try to remind myself that I have come this far and that things will be okay.

What would you consider to be the biggest challenges for an aspiring fashion/costume designers?

I cannot really talk about fashion designers as I have always been more costume oriented. Unfortunately, so far I have not managed to support myself off my costume designing wages.

In your opinion, what are the top three skills needed to be a successful designer?

Time management, an understanding of clothing construction and being able to design coherent looks which fit the desired aesthetic.

How do you see yourself in two years’ time? What is your vision after completing your studies in Liverpool?

I hope that after completing my course in Liverpool I will get the chance to work on a big film or theatre production and be able eventually to lead my own costume designing team on a big production.

Stay tuned with Michela

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