Interview with Jessica Jahn

Find out more about Jessica Jahn, the costume designer for The Road We Came!

Tell us about yourself! How did you get started with costume design?
I actually started out as a dancer–I graduated from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts with a degree in dance and also Psychology. After moving into NYC to pursue dance, and working as a semi-professional dancer, I had the opportunity to help a friend with a show that he was directing in downtown Manhattan–he needed someone to create costumes and knew that I could both sketch and sew.  I ended up having a fantastic time and became excited enough about it to begin looking for more jobs in costumes.  From there, I got into film design, and then worked my way into theatre, and finally to opera. I was able to assist some pretty amazing folks that helped mentor me, and guide my career to where it is today.

Tell us a little about how you came to work with On Site and your experience working with us!
I have known Eric for a long time–from our days assisting at The Glimmerglass Festival!  We kept in touch through the years, and when he started On Site, he reached out to see if I wanted to collaborate.  The first time that our calendar lined up was for Amahl and the Night Vistors–a fantastic experience.

Where did you get your inspiration from?
All sorts of places, really–but mostly from the world around me, and the people in it.  There is much to see and learn if you take time to look up and out and experience your surroundings.  Other than that, I find a lot of inspiration in history, and in art.  

What was the most challenging part of designing for The Road We Came?
Hmmm.  That’s a good question actually–because it was such a fun experience!  I think that the most challenging part was the same for all of us, which was navigating working through and in the pandemic.  Doing zoom “fittings” for instance, created an interesting “problem” to overcome–but it feels like we were successful in that.  We had to be a bit more innovative in how we thought about working together without being able to be in the same space.

How did the physical locations influence the pieces you chose for The Road We Came?
I think the most important thing for myself, and I think for Kenny Overton as well, was that the costumes would feel like an extension of both the history of New York City, as well as a complement to it.  There is so much richness in the energy here–there always has been–and we wanted the clothes to embody that space.  That even if the physical location wasn’t visually the same as the period we were referencing–that the spiritual energy of the location was still there–and we wanted the clothes to have that same sense of energy. 

The pieces for The Road We Came came from these amazing designers:
La Linguere By Aita
M’Baye, who can be found at the African Market in NYC

Purchase your tickets for The Road We Came here.

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