Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An Exclusive Interview with "American Idol" Costume Designer, Soyon An

If you don’t know her name, you probably know her work. Soyon An is the head costume designer of FOX’s hit TV shows “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” She has worked in the music, TV and film industries, and her past experience includes Jennifer Lopez, Carrie Underwood, Sean Kingston, Kate Bosworth, Mariah Carey, Avril Lavigne and Pink. Soyon earned her second Emmy award for her work on “So You Think You Can Dance” in 2010, after winning in 2009.

Hip Chick Zine: Did you always know you wanted to a designer?
Soyon An: No. I grew up being the biggest Tomboy. All I wanted to do was play outside.

HCZ: [Laughs] Me too. Your looks are so beautiful and unique! How do you get your inspiration?
Soyon An: Thank you! I draw inspiration from everything. Colors on a day after the rain, traveling, walking around in a busy street. And of course runway shows, magazines, movies, TV shows... The list can go on and on because it truly is from everything. And I'm very much into detail.

HCZ: Describe your personal style.
Soyon An: I see myself as a bohemian, rock-n-roll, and geek. [Laughs] I like to keep things low-maintenance.

HCZ: How did you get involved in “So You Think You Can Dance?”
Soyon An: I got my start as an assistant to the costume design on Season 2. That was the first season the show was going on tour, and I was the designer and supervisor of that show.

HCZ: How has winning not one, but TWO, Emmys changed your career… and life?
Soyon An: It definitely made me more confident in my work. It's an amazing feeling to receive an award like it. The fact that people who have been doing this for decades take notice of your work is life changing. I am now pushing myself to do better than the last, especially in my work and even with myself. I want to give more to the world... I don't know who's paying attention, but I want to give it my best.

HCZ: What’s the process like for designing a look on “American Idol?”
Soyon An: Well, to start, I only get 2 hours with each idol. It ranges, but a lot of idol's image styling is off the rack clothes that I tailor. This season, I have done a lot of custom pieces... The girls are smart this season! The fashion world is their oyster with me as their stylist, or if we can't find it the stores, I'll make it for them.

HCZ: What other projects are you working on right now? Future plans?
Soyon An: I am a fashion editor for Jimon Magazine, I'm helping to re- brand a company, possibly a boutique... Check out my upcoming website www.soyonan.com, follow me on twitter @soysfashion or read my blogs for the latest!

HCZ: Who would you love to collaborate with next?
Soyon An: I would love to collaborate with JLO, Gaga, or Rihanna... and maybe Banksy!

HCZ: What advice do you have for women who would like to become designers/stylists?
Soyon An: Get hands-on experience. Be prepared for long hours, a lot of schlepping, and organizing. Keep positive and when you see your work, or assistant work in a spread, on TV, or in a film, it's very rewarding.

HCZ: Off the topic of style, what’s your favorite travel destination and why?
Soyon An: I've had tons of fun all around the world, but I'd have to say Cusco, Peru was amazing. That's where Machu Picchu is, and when you get to the top, you know that anything is possible.

Photo Credit: Collin Stark


  1. What an inspiration! Hard work will take you places. Thanks for the interview!

  2. I agree! Very inspiring. Love the show and this website.

  3. I also really enjoyed reading this interview. It's good to know that working the long hours will eventually pay off (hopefully). Thank you!