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Portlandia

alive in portland

the costume designer of portlandia explains what goes into the hit tv show.

by: steff yotka

February 27 2014

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Good news, world! Portlandia comes back to TV tonight for its fourth season! But before you park yourself firmly on the couch and get ready to laugh so hard you cry, you should read on for our interview with costume designer Amanda Needham. 

Working with Portlandia since season one, Needham has brought the comedy of characters like Toni and Candace and Lance and Nina to life. We hopped on the phone with the Portland native to discuss the essentials of the Portland look, what costumes are her favorite to work on, and what's on deck for season four. 

Did you do a lot of research in Portland when you started to work on the show? 
I'm a Portland native, so I have a unique perspective on a lot of these characters. I feel like I know them in real life. 

If someone wanted to dress like a Portland native, what do you think is one piece that they should buy? 
Oh my gosh, well, I honestly think that there's so many different kinds of people here, so it really depends on what kind of style you are. I would say for me personally, a Portland native would be…hmm.... What do I wear everyday? I think it's a good boot and a nice leather jacket.

In the process of working with Fred and Carrie, did they ever come to you with a sketch where you thought, "This is too ridiculous"?
No. Trust me there are times when I think, "Can I pull this off?" because it's so intense, but I think that is what I thrive on for the show. It keeps things interesting. 

Is there any secret that you could allude to that are going to happen in season 4 or anything that you're really excited about?
Oh my gosh, season four is packed with a lot really interesting costumes, that's what I'll say. There are a lot of different things that we hit on that I think we really nailed as far as costumes go. I'm really excited to actually see it. Everybody that's seen the footage so far says that it's our best season yet so I'm really excited to note that.


Check out the slideshow to see some of Needham's favorite costumes from seasons past and her her inspirations for those characters!  And don't forget to watch Portlandia tonight at 10 PM on IFC!

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