Patrick Antosh, Costume Designer for Queer As Folk, kindly agreed to answer a few of our questions about his experience on the show during the past five years, and shared some fashion insights with us at the same time. Thanks to those of you who offered suggestions (you know who you are!). Photo credit: Alexander Plata (www.rafaelfotoz.com).
When we did our first interview back in 2001, you mentioned that you got your first break on the Keanu Reeves film "Johnny Mnemonic" where the Costume Designer took you under her wing and taught you the ropes. Do you feel as though you’ve been able to 'pay it forward' by helping other novices as you've gained more experience in the business yourself? Along those same lines, you speak highly of your assistants at QAF. Can you tell me a little bit about the people you’ve worked with and what they've brought to the table?
Patrick: I am a great believer in paying it forward and am always supportive of anyone trying to get into the business. Throughout QAF's 5 seasons I have gotten many actors, drag queens and dancers auditions, but of course their talent is what got them on the show. I am very proud to say that my staff enjoys working for me and that coming to work on Queer as Folk is always considered a positive experience. My permanent crew has always worked beyond expectations and I have relied on them to make the wardrobe on the show look as good as it does. In particular my assistant Kimberley Stanley is irreplaceable to me, keeping the business side in order,allowing me to only focus on the creative.
Over the years, several companies like Body Body Wear and FCUK were willing to provide clothes in exchange for exposure on the show. Has that trend continued, and if so, what labels should we keep an eye out for this season?
Patrick: Many wonderful companies have either sent free samples or given discounts. Larger ones like Hugo Boss and Diesel as well as smaller ones like Itsus, Kronk and Ginch Gonch.
Will the show's theme of "boys becoming men" be reflected in the clothing in season 5? How have you matured the characters in terms of fashion?
Patrick: Absolutely, Justin definitely has a style that reflects his bohemian, artistic side, a big change from his "twink" look from past seasons. Michael too wears more adult clothes in muted colours that reflect his connection to Ben. Lindsay has matured from her earth mother clothing to a strong independent business woman, capable of continuing with or with out Melanie, and of course it was a thrill to no longer have to dress Michelle Clunie in maternity clothes.
Is there one thing you are most proud of after five years at QAF?
Patrick: Sorry, there are too many to list!!
Do you ever design clothes for friends or family (outside of work)?
Patrick: I am very flattered when I've been asked to help out with wardrobe, most often I am asked after the outfit has been purchased and I love to give accessory tips, things they wouldn't have thought of. I have also helped out on several wedding gown designs for friends and most recently the prom gown for my niece Sherri-Lynn.
When it comes to personal taste, we all have favourites in the fashion world; but is there a particular clothing designer in the television or film industry that you respect or admire above all others as far as their work goes?
Patrick: I love Patricia Fields for the risks she is willing to take, although with her confidence I doubt she thinks of them as risks at all and I admire that too.
If you had the opportunity, whose closet (out of anyone in the world) would you most like to raid?
Patrick: Jude Law (we're the same size); Andre 3000 Benjamin (although I could never pull off the look); Clive Owen (just because I’d like to be in his closet).
What were your general impressions of the QAF set sale? Were you surprised by the turnout, and what people bought? Who made the decisions on what items would be sold? Did you keep any mementos yourself?
Patrick: Cast were given the opportunity to take items of their wardrobe that they liked, and I considered it a great compliment that they liked so many things. The rest of the items were inventoried and put up for sale. Over 2000 people came through on the first day alone. It was a bit of a zoo, but incredibly fun, meeting fans and seeing items go to good homes, after the sale any left over items were donated to various charities.
I realize that this might be a difficult question to answer in a forum like this, but in general terms, given its groundbreaking status, what impact do you think QAF has had on society, or the GLBT community?
Patrick: I think it is very easy to forget that only 5 years ago there were very few gay characters on television, and those were either comic relief or tragic. The greatest achievement of QAF was showing gay characters in situations that did not revolve solely around their sexuality. The rest of television has caught up with characters whose homosexuality is not their primary trait. It is simply not enough to be gay any more, characters require more depth. The characters on QAF have arrived at a point where they need to have more straight friends in order to be realistic. A show about gay characters is now a bit too exclusive and I think that is a great achievement.
A lot of notoriety generally goes to those in front of the camera. Are you surprised that your work behind the scenes on QAF has turned you into a 'celebrity' as well, with requests for interviews and appearances at the fan Conventions, along with a website and fan following of your own?
Patrick: I am constantly surprised by my fan base. I am often stopped on the street or notice people looking at me and I can tell they think they recognize me from some where. When Elsa Rose Bryant suggested www.patrickantosh.com last April, I agreed as a lark never imagining it would reach 2 million hits in one year. The fan letters complimenting my work are a great way to start each day.
We know that you've been writing a column for Scenester magazine. What else is next for you? Where can we see your designs in the future?
Patrick: Right now I am hoping to be able to take the summer off. I am off to Los Angeles soon to attend the season 5 premier and also to do some on camera interviews for the season 5 DVD extras. I am hoping to write for some other magazines and perhaps have a shot in front of the camera on a lifestyle show. The great sense of accomplishment from Queer as Folk will be hard to repeat so I am hoping to take my career in a new direction.
Thanks to Patrick for taking the time to share his thoughts with us, and for doing such a great job on the show these past five years! Be sure to visit patrickantosh.com, Patrick's official website to find out what he's up to. And for more information on the QAF characters' wardrobes, visit the Starbrand.tv for fans!