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A journal for storytelling, arguments, and discovery through tangential conversations.
In conversation with Indigenous costume designer Carmen Thompson
Wednesday, October 21, 2020 | Michel Ghanem
Carmen Thompson (Diitiidaht/Kyuquot/Coast Salish), 46, has lived and breathed costume design for the last 15 years. Her given name by her uncle is Tl’aakwaa (Nuu-chah-nulth), meaning copper. Copper is a versatile, malleable material with high electrical conductivity, twisted into jewellery, coins, and metal alloys. Copper is a trace dietary mineral, it lives in our bones, and seems to be everywhere else. Thompson’s career embodies malleability. She has played a vital role in the complex visual language of costume on multiple full feature films, commercials, award shows, television, theatre, and opera. Her father, Art Thompson, was a prominent Victoria artist working in carving and painting. She was trained in fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles, and mentored in costume design by costume designer Warden Neil. She knew it was time to leave L.A. when she turned down a costume design job for a Rihanna music video, and made the decision to...