Editor’s note: This interview was conducted before and published during the WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes of 2023. The work examined would not exist without the work of the writers and actors.
“I’m a New Yorker and I wanted it to feel like a real New York.” –
Seeing fashion on a plus size body is something that excites me the most whenever I watch a particular movie or TV series. After seeing the Netflix trailer “Survival of the thickest” I was immediately intrigued by the quality of the series’ protagonist Michelle Buteau’s style throughout the 30-second clip.
Keia Bounds, from New York (and his style/design team), delivered in style with every episode of the series, bringing an edgy city-inspired theme. One that captured the essence of the energy, culture, creativity, individuality and sexiness often seen on the sidewalks of catwalks in New York’s various boroughs.
When I was given the task of interviewing Bounds, I immediately jumped at the chance! Having watched the series and being a wardrobe stylist myself, excitement ran through my “Single black woman addicted to retail” veins seeing different brands like Eloquii, Brandon Blackwood, Selkie (I’m such a fan of The Puff Dress on the cover)and in addition to sportswear like Adidas, I was eager to ask Bounds these questions that style lovers would ask.
In an attempt to calm my nerves and ease the urge to embark on an anxiety-filled episode, I put on my pink lipstick, entered the Zoom chat room, and had a chat. one-on-one with my girlfriend with the lead stylist of “Survival of.” the thickest. TCF supporters, fans and members of the public, I present to you Keia Bounds.
Get to know Keia Bounds, the costume designer for Survival of the Thickest!
Entering the chat with such warmth and a relaxed vibe, Bounds (alongside his publicist), (with passion in his eyes) inspired me to dive deep by asking questions not only about the film, but also about her career as a fashion designer turned wardrobe stylist.
We wondered, as a costume designer, what was her inspiration for each episode with each character. To be able to put your genius into play, to make fashion look so amazing and so New York, so avant-garde? We had to know; what was the inspiration behind it?
Keia Shares “So I guess the inspiration behind it was that I’m a New Yorker and I wanted it to feel like a real New York, as well as to get what they wanted me to take off the page (the scenario).”
Hearing, “the real New York” took me back to the early 2000s and watching TV at night with shows like Sex and the City. Being from the city, Bounds not only seemed to have grasped the production vision for the film, but she was also able to style Michelle Buteau in such a way that it made me want to try on the clothes and add them to my wardrobe. dress.
Out of curiosity, I asked him about his time working with Michelle Buteau.
About her work with Michele Buteau, Keia Bounds shares, “She’s amazing! To work with her as a woman, as a black woman, as a curvy woman! Like all of those things, Michelle is hilarious! She’s also not the kind of hilarious you’d wish they were. turn off. She’s just herself and naturally funny and naturally bright. It was fun!”
Throughout each episode, I noticed familiar brands and brands I hadn’t been introduced to before. With each cast member having their own stylistic appeal, I often wondered if the styling team had difficulty finding different fashion brands to collaborate with the film.
Although the fashion industry has evolved and continues to evolve with the inclusivity of size and body type, while also creating supportive and stylish fashion-forward environments for members of the LGBTQIA+ communitythere are still brands that aren’t as committed to creating clothes that fit the ever-changing society we live in.
Knowing that the film excitedly spotlighted much of the plus size AND LGBTQ community, we wondered about Keia Bounds’ experiences or challenges accessing plus size fashion for cast members.
Keia shares:I think, because as we know, it’s hard to find fashionable pieces (especially designer pieces) in plus sizes, for curvy women. The fact that the fashion industry is still unaware of what is happening in the real world made it difficult for me to find many things I needed.
Understanding his challenges, Bounds applied his creative and professional touch throughout the series by creating pieces that needed to be created, contacted different designers to receive specialized original clothing, and took the treasure of finding unknown brands to make his own. ensure the team was in style. at T.
While not surprising, Bounds’ empathy for not having so many plus size designer brands available for this project made me want to ask myself, “What’s wrong with the fashion industry? the fashion ?
With a career that stretched in style since the early 2000s, Keia Bounds has worked with actors such as Jack Black, Dave Chapelle and Edie Falco, and television series such as ” Lowering “ And “BMF.”
“I would like my legacy to have a positive impact on culture. Whether it’s fashion culture or people of color culture, I’d love to be able to put a mark on it somewhere.
Getting a glimpse of his background was surprising. Going from being a fashion designer to a stylist and then a costume designer, Keia Bounds possesses a flexibility in her creativity that has not only made her a pioneer, but has also given herself the ability to carry on the legacy of helping others to have an impact. , working in fashion and style within the television and film industry.
Be open to possibilities and be prepared to learn all the different processes in order to understand what is the thing you want to do. »
Bounds spoke passionately about the challenges and successes of being a costume designer in the film and television industry, while mentioning how refreshing it would be if more top brass respected and appreciated the art of costume styling. and wardrobes and remunerate the profession more. and talent within the film and television industry.
If you haven’t already, watch Netflix’s “Survival of the Thickest” and let us know what you thought of fashion!
I end in style, my name is D. Ni’Cole!