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What's it like costume designing for Star Trek Beyond and the Fast and the Furious? Sanja Hays knows

Sanja Milkovic Hays is a costume designer who has worked on Star Trek Beyond, the Fast and the Furious Franchise, Total Recall and Marvel's upcoming first female-led superhero film, Captain Marvel. The talented 59-year-old designer, from Zagreb, Croatia, also received a nomination from the Costume Designers Guild Awards for Excellence in Fantasy Film for her work on The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.


7th August 2018
/ By James Collins

fast and furious movies captain marvel costume design Sanja Hays

Here she tells Mandy News about staying true to the Marvel and Star Trek universes how she got started as a costume designer, managing turnaround time and adapting character's styles and wardrobes for their environment and development. 

Please introduce yourself and tell us how you got involved in the costume department.
With me it was actually little bit backwards. I wanted to work in the film industry because I loved movies. After graduating in architecture, I thought that I may be able to work in the art department, but they offered me a costume internship instead. My grandma was a seamstress and I learned how to sew when I was six years old, so I agreed. After all, it was a job on a movie. I really loved it and so here I am.


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How did you get involved with Star Trek Beyond?
When Justin Lin got a job to direct the movie he called me and offered me a job. We had a great working relationship over the course of four different Fast and Furious movies. I have also always been a huge Start Trek fan. 


What is the process of working on the show, what is your turn around for an episode. How do you go about creating a character based on their costume and wardrobe?
Working on Star Trek Beyond, I had two distinctive jobs. One was creating the new characters and aliens, and the other was recreating the beloved Star Trek uniforms. Justin wanted to keep the feeling of the uniforms as close to the original Star Trek as possible. Keeping that in mind, I redesigned them by updating the lines, used new fabrics and technology and added long sleeves on the women uniforms so that they also had ranks, all the while keeping in mind the fans and their love for the show. I found inspiration creating the rest of the characters by researching computer games, animals, futuristic uniforms and technology, historic costumes, patterns in the nature. Basically I looked at everything that I could get my hands on.


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You also work on blockbuster films like Captain Marvel and the recent incarnations of the Fast and the Furious series of films.  What is the process like for working on these movies? 
Every movie has different types of characters, so my approach is very dependent. Fast and Furious is all about creating cool, contemporary characters. Over the course of the franchise, the wardrobe changed from  LA street clothes to high end international fashion- the tank top to the tuxedo. Star Trek and Captain Marvel were all about creating something new and unexpected, and at the same time staying faithful to the Marvel and Star Trek franchise.


What is coming up next for you in 2018 and beyond? 
I am not sure what is next in store for me. Possibly another one in the Fast and Furious franchise.


What advice do you have for people wanting to become a costume designer? 
There is no one way to get into the costume department in the movie business. The best way is to be persistent, knock on every door and when the door opens; work hard, pay attention, listen to the people around you and to your own inner voice. Always try to do something new and unexpected. Do not fall in love with the first idea that comes to your mind. It is almost never the best one.

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