‘Insecure’ Costume Designer Gives Us A Taste Of Her Inspiration

The hit HBO series “Insecure” is the story of two black women who are the opposite of strong and confident, with the main characters going through struggles through their insecurities through everyday life experiences. The costume designer for the show, Ayanna James, is the driving force of dressing the main characters to portray them as insecure.

“Insecure” is James’s first major network to work with as a costume designer and previously worked as a costumer for the hit dance movie “Step Up.” After working on “Insecure” for the first two seasons, James developed a wardrobe that is incomparable in television.

James says, “The statement that I make on ‘Insecure’ with the clothing is very black.”

In regards to the impact James has made on the show she says, “If it caused a discussion, then I’ve done my job.” She goes onto explain that costume is “prime real estate on television” and that costumes are one of the fundamental elements in delivering a message about the characters.

The character Issa is supposed to be a bit on the weird side, so her clothes never fit correctly and most of the time there is something wrong with her outfit. The other character Molly is career-oriented and is more fashion-forward, with most of her outfit appearing to “look together” and stylish.

Molly’s wardrobe features no designer names and Issa’s wardrobe only features top designers, making for an interesting character dynamic through their costumes. In one episode, Issa is talking with a woman who loves her Fendi heels while Molly is rocking some classic Converse sneakers.

Another character Lawrence is described by James as a peacock and womanizer (to put it into nicer terms). James likes to pay homage to influences in black pop culture including graphic t-shirts inspired by Public Enemy, Prince, and Beyonce.

Right before shooting the second episode of the first season, black pop-artist Prince passed away and James dressed Molly in a Prince graphic tee. This simple choice turned out to be a huge success since the black community saw Prince as a fallen hero.

James doesn’t hold back when it comes to embracing the style of the black community saying, “Bring me all of black pop culture. Everything that influenced us growing up.” She goes onto say that the classic show “A Different World” has the biggest influence on her since every character offered their own unique style that was flashy in their own way and says that she would dress like that today.

James says, “I really wanted to design a show that showed individuality through a black female lens. We all know that this is something that hasn’t been done before. We’re all so grateful and excited in this ride along with Issa. And just really everyone going out there and doing their absolute best job.”