Wardrobe is an extremely important part of America's Got Talent. The people in this department make sure everyone from Anna Graceman to Daniel Joseph Baker to The Rhinestone Ropers to Summerwind Skippers have costumes to perform in. A team of many who are always working to make every AGT act look amazing, the America's Got Talent costume department is truly amazing.
Headed by Daniela Gschendtner and Steven Lee, the costume department makes sure that all contestants look their best. The two costume designers work with a large team, varying from at least four people to more than seven or eight. They maintain four trailers on the America's Got Talent lot: one that functions as an office, another that houses a sewing and costume-building workshop, one that is a dressing room, and a storage trailer for all of the costumes that they create. When we asked a seamstress about the most complex project she and the team have worked on so far on AGT, she and the team could not name a specifically challenging costume: every America's Got Talent costume so far has been very, very intricate and a challenge to produce.
We sat down quickly with Daniela and Steven, both impeccably dressed and slightly at ease - even though show time was in less than two hours! There was a constant flow of costume helpers popping in and out, mentioning that Monet was in need of a necklace and POPLYFE were missing accessories. The two were able to handle questions from us as well as their staff so easily: it was very obvious the creativity coming from AGT's costume department is rivaled by its efficiency and professionalism.
We wondered: how is working with contestants and do they have a say in their costumes? The two both found the answer quite easily: there is a general concept for a costume created by Daniela and Steven, but meeting the act is integral. What they make has to work with an act, to keep with its style. Before an act arrives, Daniela and Steven try to meet with the producers to see what everyone has in mind. They bring an act's style to the show, but amplify it for television: they create something that is at a quality level required for performance on national television. A costume that Daniela and Steven create showcases someone that could win America's Got Talent.
Because they need to work hand in hand with acts, they can't do anything in advance of contestants arriving. They need to meet the contestants to make the costumes. Daniela and Steven can draft ideas and brainstorm potential avenues for what to wear, but - until they meet an act - they don't know what would be best suited for that act.
Wardrobe is more than making people pretty: they also have to take into account every part of an act's performance. They have to ensure that the acts can perform in what they are wearing. For Snap Boogie, they need to provide street cool clothes that are easy to dance in; Attack Dance Crew needs eight identical costumes that are moveable, yet still carry Attack's style; and Professor Splash needs clothes to dive in as well as something for when he is not diving. Daniela and Steven have to consider the mood of the performance along with what the act wants. From there, they meet somewhere in the middle.
This may sound stressful, but that is the fun of wardrobe on America's Got Talent: the variety of performers. Daniela and Steven meet the most interesting people that you would ever meet. This makes work very creative. When you have contestants of different ages, different sizes and from different parts of the country, wardrobe never becomes routine.
Like everyone on the AGT set, Daniela and Steven love being able to see the performers perform. They fit contestants and create costumes before they actually see an act perform in person. When they finally get to see the performance, they get to witness the true talent these people have - talent that looks a lot cooler live onstage with props, dancers, a set, makeup and costumes.