Belfast Telegraph

Empire costume designer wasn't consulted on merchandise

The Mindy Project costume designer Salvador Perez thinks designers could get more recognition when it comes to merchandising.

Costume designer Paolo Nieddu finds it "perplexing" he was not asked to consult on a clothing collection inspired by hit show Empire.

The designer has twice been nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on the music drama, which stars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard as a warring ex-husband and wife.

When the show's costumes inspired a clothing line in 2015, Paolo was surprised to find he wasn't asked to help out.

"I find it so perplexing that they don't (ask us)," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "They rush it and they think it's faster to do it internally and not including an outside person who's actually the most inside person.... I don't know if they don't want to pay for the opinion or the consultation."

It's not uncommon for screen costume designers to be overlooked when it comes to merchandise that is directly inspired by their creations.

The Mindy Project designer Salvador Perez, who also serves as the Costume Designers Guild president, adds that the work-for-hire agreement that's currently in place came into force before mass marketing was invented. He thinks some small changes could be made to give designers more recognition though.

"We understand that and we don't really fight that. But the thing is, even if they just gave us some recognition for what we did. If they sell a Barbie doll, somewhere on the box they could say 'designed by Salvador Perez.' But they don't do that. They don't care," he sighed.

Perez adds that he doesn't think studios are acting maliciously, it's just they can't see how beneficial it would be to both parties if they brought designers on board to help out with merchandising opportunities.

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