The independent drama “Sound of Metal” tells the story of Ruben (Riz Ahmed), a down-on-his-luck drummer who suddenly loses his hearing while touring with his girlfriend and lead singer Lou (Olivia Cooke). So for costume designer Megan Stark Evans, it was important to stay true “to their limited financial means and to the fact that they’re in that heavy metal and punk scene, which encompasses a lot of DIY … I really wanted everything to look super thrash, so we worked really hard on aging and dyeing.” Evans recently joined us for our “Meet the Experts” costume designers panel. Watch our interview above.
For some of her inspiration, Evans went straight to the source: “I actually got a lot of advice and worked with this guy, Sean Powell, who’s in a punk band called Surfbort … He’s been deep in that scene since the ’80s and ’90s, and he was able to give me a lot of advice as to how people live in that scene.” She also wanted to “come up with backstories” for the characters’ looks, so “on every single article of clothing they wear there’s visible mending, there are patches, there’s something they’ve maybe roughly embroidered in it that’s some sort of weird, obscure punk reference.”
Some costumes for the film came from thrift shops and vintage stores, while “a lot of the band t-shirts we bought new or we had screen-printed and just had to rip them up.” Since it was a “super-low-budget” production, they didn’t have much time to distress the clothing, so “we were running over stuff with the car, those old chestnuts.” So in a way, the production of the film and its costumes really did mirror the DIY punk style of its main characters.
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