Netflix released the Never Have I Ever season 3 trailer. While we wait for some of our favourite characters like Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), Paxton (Darren Barnet), and Ben (Jaren Lewison) to entertain us with their high school escapades, let us hark back to the series’s impeccable fashion through the words of Never Have I Ever’s costume designer Salvador Perez.
Below is an interview with Emmy-nominated costume designer Salvador Perez who has worked on various projects, including Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project and Sex Lives of College Girls, Rebel Wilson’s Senior, and Disney’s Hocus Pocus 2.
Q: You told Costume Designers Guild that the design team did a lot of internet shopping. Can you tell me the name of some of these stores?
S P: All of the clothing stores have websites like Macy’s, Nordstroms but I would also use Shopbop and Farfetch. With the Indian clothes, I found a vendor in Chennai who would send me saris. We would also go to the seller’s websites and buy them from them directly.
Q: You talked about how each character’s personality played a role in picking the Never Have I Ever outfits. Can you tell me more about that?
S P: As a costume designer, it is not just about what they are wearing but also how it looks on them. My kids were very simple and down-to-earth. They did not shop for high-end couture. The characters didn’t need to be in Prada in Dior. They were much more simple and much more attainable.
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Q: Personally, which character’s style did you like designing on Never Have I Ever?
S P: Fabiola’s (Lee Rodriguez) style improved in Never Have I Ever season 2 to go with the storyline. In season 1, she was withdrawn and did not come out as gay. Now she has, so we were trying to celebrate that. She was much more confident and more open with her dress. We made her cooler and hipper. We took away the polo shirts and the khakis.
I like Devi’s fashion. She liked to look, hipster. She liked colours. Her fashion is very bold.
Eleanor (Ramona Young) shops a lot from thrift stores. She is theatrical.
Each character was different.
Ben was a little more preppy. His father was a lawyer. He could get nicer clothes.
Paxton Hall Yoshida was sort of the bad boy, the rebel. He is in t-shirts and flannels.
There is another new character. Devi is much more girly and Aneesa is much more sporty. It was really fun to give Aneesa the sporty edge. Her character was very conservative. Even when she was wearing sporty clothes, she was always covered. There were never bare arms, bare mid-ribs. I gave her a specific style. It was still very conservative yet fashionable.
Q: I read that you designed the clothes from the Rebecca Hall-Yoshida collection by recycling clothes from The Mindy Project. Are there going to be any easter eggs like that this season too?
S P: It is really funny because we have the same office for The Mindy Project so I had all of the fabrics when I worked with Mindy. When I went out to buy fabrics, I realized I had so much stock already. I used pieces of fabrics from The Mindy Project. Some people recognized it. They thought I cut Mindy’s old dresses but I actually used the left-over fabrics from the show.
Q: Also, is the Rebecca hall-Yoshida collection available in stores?
S P: We tried to put out the Rebecca collection but it was hard to find a vendor. We had talked about it but it just never happened. We tried to bring back the collection organically in Never Have I Ever season 2 but it did not happen. All the clothes were made in Devi’s size.
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Q: Will you be making more customized denim jackets Devi wore?
S P: Devi’s custom denim jacket. I have seen a version of that jacket made by Dior. It was 4000usd and I am not buying a $4000 denim jacket so I made one for her. I collected the applique.
There is a pivotal scene where she wears the jacket in school. I wanted her to feel special and actor Maitreyi just loved it so when we were selecting an outfit for the promo shoot she was like I want to wear that denim jacket. I am so glad we used it. It pops in all photos. It is a one-of-a-kind piece and I only made one. I might market that. I may make more of them.
Q: Do fashion trends from the runway or social media have an impact on the style you come up with?
S P: As a costume designer, you don’t want to follow fashion, you want to lead it. Fashion changes so quickly, We shoot a show and it comes out 6 months or a year later. At the time it may be trendy but when the show comes out, it may be dated. Giving preference to style instead of trends. You want to start trends.
People are copying you and not the other way round. We definitely see the runway, stores, and what the kids are wearing. These kids are based on real life. The show takes place in Sherman Oaks California and our studio is in Sherman Oaks California.
When I go to the mall, I see what the kids are wearing. I wanted it to be authentic. It is really about street style and what the kids are wearing in the town where it takes place in. You really want to follow street style because the runway keeps changing.
Also, for those waiting for the Netflix show, Never Have I Ever season 3 release date is August 12.
Note: The above interview was interviewed in 2021 following the release of Never Have I Ever season 2.
Image Credits: Never Have I Ever.