Creatives We Love: Rory Cunningham


What do you want to see reflected in your work?

As a costume manufacturer, I make what other people want for their project, I just make their vision the best that I can.

What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?

When it comes to my daily work on costume: Getting it out the door! When it comes to working on my own things: making whoever is going to wear the garment(s) happy and feel special.

Who or what inspires you?

That depends entirely on the project at hand.

What is your favorite place or thing to do in Los Angeles?

I spend a lot of time volunteering for various architectural preservation organizations docenting and the like, so I guess I would have to say that it would be in a beautiful historic building explaining its significance to other people.

If you could pick a place to teleport to right now, where would you go?

I’ll wait until that technology is created and perfected before I distribute my atoms into the ether and reassembled in any given location. (I worked on all of the TV Star Trek’s in the 1990s – so I have a little insight as to what could go wrong!)

What’s your motto for life?

“Life is better with bubbles!”

Whether its water, whine or Good Witch traveling devices, bubbles just make it better!

We believe in creating really personal pieces of wearable art. For some, it’s a reflection of a personal truth they hold dear or a reminder of inner strength. Is there a piece of jewelry or some other personal talisman that reflects you, give you strength, or tells something of you?

I have no such talisman I’m sad to say. I don’t have a lucky shirt, a sacred ritual, or even rabbit’s foot. In fact, I wear a t-shirt and jeans to work every day because I never know what the day might hold. I could be patterning and cutting fabric or gluing, painting or sanding foam – I need to be prepared to have my own clothing ruined as well as fitting an Academy Award winning actor. There have been days when all of the above has occurred!

What interested you about the process?

The thing that I think that I like the most about creating things is the engineering of the design. Whether it’s a period gown, a super hero, an alien or even a project around my home, I really like the process of designing and figuring out HOW the design is built.

What interests you about design?

If it is something that has come to me at work, I don’t get much say in the design, but I do get a lot of say in HOW the costume is built. Again, it’s about the engineering. And every single project is different and has it’s own challenges. I guess the same thing goes if the design originated with me, the difference is that there I have even freer range for creativity.

Obviously you create a lot for the movies, but when you created for us there was still a lot of your flair in there, what is it that you wanted to see and evoke?

Well, when I’m designing for a client, it usually is about pretty, and that’s GREAT! Who doesn’t want to look good especially if it’s for a special occasion? But when I’m working for a personal client, it’s of the utmost importance that I create something that is for them exclusively. I try to find their personality in the lines, shape, fabric, color, and mood of the garment. Some people like lots of embellishments others want clean, simple lines. As someone who makes costumes for a living, I feel that I can straddle various different styles and looks. After all, when we dress we are wearing something that we chose to show the world that day, for that occasion, be it work, the gym or a night out on the town – it’s all costume.


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