Alumna Mona May and Santa Clarita Diet Costume Designer Featured on Fashionista
Veteran costume designer, Mona May, has designed some of the most memorable looks for films such as Clueless, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Never Been Kissed, and Enchanted, among many others.
Fashionista recently conducted a Q&A with the alumna of FIDM, who appears regularly on campus as a guest speaker. She chatted with the site about her iconic costumes for Clueless, how she got started in her career, and her 20 year-plus collaboration with Drew Barrymore. Mona most recently worked on three seasons of the actress and producer's Netflix zombie comedy series, The Santa Clarita Diet, which also stars Timothy Olyphant.
Mona told Fashionista her talent and enthusiasm for fashion dates back to her childhood. She said she designed outfits for cut-out paper dolls and recalls dressing her friends and family as a young girl. Born in India, raised in Warsaw and Berlin, with stints studying in Paris and New York gives her an insightful and unique global outlook on fashion and style.
While in school at FIDM in Los Angeles, Mona began working on music videos and commercials. "It was the '80s and MTV was starting up. I started working with MTV on [Julie Brown's] Just Say Julie. It was really fun," she said. "Weird Al Yankovic and [celebrity guests would] come on. We were making clothes and costumes out of nothing." But her big break came with 1995's Clueless. She went on to work on The Wedding Singer, A Night at the Roxbury, Enchanted, and The House Bunny.
When asked what advice she had for aspiring costume designers, Mona told Fashionista: "We have to, number one, love what we do. That really is key because this is not an easy job. We work long hours. We go away from our families on location all the time. Now more and more films are being filmed away from where we live. You have to be really passionate about this so it doesn't feel like work."