Mynka Draper interview: ‘Snowfall’ costume designer

“It begins with the script, and then the research, and then delving into the reality of the characters,” says “Snowfall” costume designer Mynka Draper about her work on the FX drama, which chronicles the crack epidemic in Los Angeles during the 1980s. The series required her to familiarize herself with the different intersecting groups involved in that story, from the Black and Hispanic communities to the CIA. “And I lived in LA in the ’80s, frankly. So I kind of lived through some of it, which I think is helpful.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Draper above.

The series stars Damson Idris as Franklin Saint, a low-level drug dealer who rises to become a kingpin, riding the wave of cocaine as it enters his neighborhood. Therefore, he exists between multiple social and economic strata, “so I think he dresses in a way to be able to integrate and blend with all different types of characters. So we’ve given him this very clean sort of preppy look.”

Franklin and his family’s change in circumstances also gives Draper the opportunity to explore “what happens when groups of people just get so much money so fast, and that’s been a really fun aspect to develop the characters and how they would show that money, and also how money shows power in the world.”

To create those character-driven period looks, Draper “did a ton of vintage shopping so that we have period pieces that feel correct with tone and palette. And in the show we do a ton of aging and dyeing because we show poverty” and the “shocking” ways that drugs brought “devastation” to communities.

Meanwhile, Franklin’s uncle Jerome (Amin Joseph) is “a more flamboyant kind of fun character, so we’ve created some of his clothes. A lot of his stuff has been an homage to Dapper Dan,” the fashion designer who was prominent at the time and is still working now, and who is “super fabulous.”

“Snowfall” was one of many shows that had its production interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic last year, and returning to production with new safety protocols in place brought a new set of challenges, especially for a field as intimate as costumes. But “I feel like our show did really well considering there’s so many crew members, so many cast members, so many extras. It was definitely challenging, but we kind of met that challenge pretty well.”

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UPLOADED May 31, 2021 2:23 pm