Amazing Asians in the Arts: Darcy Kane
Darcy Kane is a fashion designer dressmaker, and does wardrobe in New York City! She has designed for the Easter Bonnet Competition, a Broadway inspired coloring book, gala and opening night gowns, was the Costume Stylist for the 25 Years of Disney on Broadway Anniversary Concert! Keep reading to find out more about what makes Darcy an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Darcy Kane
Hometown: Queens, New York
Current City: New York City
Current Project: “Darcy’s Broadway Coloring Book,” Wardrobe on Moulin Rouge Broadway, Props on Lion King
What are some of your favorite credits/projects?
Costume Stylist for the 25 Years of Disney on Broadway Anniversary Concert
What are some interesting facts about yourself?
I graduated as Valedictorian from New York’s High School of Fashion Industry, which is where I learned my sewing skills and fell in love with it.
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
Sometimes life will take you down a different path before you end up in the right place. After majoring in Fashion in high school, I ended up studying Psychology at a business college, even though I’d always know that I loved working in the creative arts because I had gotten a full scholarship. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make. I interned consistently in different areas of fashion and TV wardrobe during college and even the time I spent studying abroad in London. Studied Evolutionary Psychology that summer and still made sure to get wardrobe experience in the West End at the same time. That period of my life was a constant battle of making sure I was staying creative while I was majoring in something I was likely not going to end up pursuing.
Do you have any organizations or non profits you work with that you’d like to highlight?
I’ve loved how much I’ve gotten to work with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. When I was a teenager, I only knew about curtain call collecting and flea market. The first thing I ever designed with them was with the Lion King team for the Easter Bonnet Competition where we ended up taking home two big awards. Then I got reacquainted with them again the year after designing for the big Broadway Bares extravaganza in June, and later running the table for Moulin Rouge’s inaugural year of flea marketing before they asked me to be the Costume Supervisor for the Disney Anniversary concert. I love that every single one of these big events manages to excite and bring so many different people together for such a great cause!
I am constantly blown away by how much they do for the Broadway community all year round and even more so, especially now. Their fundraising efforts continue to help people in our industry who are hurting from the Broadway shutdown.
Where did you get your start?
My first costume related gig was in high school when I interned at a big costume shop called Parsons-Meares. They were responsible for a ton of costumes that I would eventually work with years later. During the time I was there, we built costumes for Spiderman: Turn off the Dark, Shrek, Disney on Ice, Wicked, and Phantom! Other than being a fantastic experience where they made a high schooler’s contributions feel welcome and valued, it was an excellent resume builder.
The choice to study one thing and pursue another career altogether paid off when I got my first job off-Broadway Wardrobe supervising, and in a truly rare instance of things working out for me, once that ended I immediately got my first Broadway job swing dressing at Lion King!
Do you have any mentors?
I find myself collecting different mentors in different fields. I have a mentor who taught me everything I know about the ins and outs of wardrobe and who I continue to turn to for advice, and then along the way I picked up one who taught me everything I never thought I’d learn about carpentry. There were so many mental blocks that came up early in life once I decided I was a designer and a dressmaker; power tools and woodwork was something my dad did. Then, less than a year into working with these magnificent Broadway costumes, I discovered that there was nothing scary about learning something entirely new and expanding my skillset to include tools I used to never even look at!
And then life becomes a game of improve, when asked if I want to learn how to do x, y, & z, the correct answer is “yes, and.” I’ve learned so many things I never expected to add to my repertoire.
Where do you draw your inspirations from for your designs?
I’ve started to realize that I’ve never truly separated theatre from my design work. MY proudest achievements to date have been designing gala dresses and opening night gowns for the incredibly talented actresses I’ve worked with on Broadway over the years. I’ve always taken a great deal of pride in understanding how to combine my artistic vision with what my client needs in a design to feel amazing and confident (this knowledge comes from a combination of working in bridal as well as what you learn as a dresser – anticipating the needs of your performer)
One of my many pet projects that I’ve been able to really sink my teeth into with this shutdown is design work inspired by Broadway costumes, my love letter (as one of my many furloughed dresser put it) to the costumes we live to work with. This project has encompassed everything from every day hair bows inspired by iconic Broadway looks, to reimagined Broadway designs if period pieces took place in the modern day, and even an illustrated series dedicated to the fabulous dance shoes of Broadway!
I feel so blessed to be able to work right in the trenches with the gorgeous things that inspire me and constantly challenge me to keep drawing and creating, even ig it’s sitting on the steps of the Al Hirshfeld Theater between shows to get some sketching in with my fresh air.
When did you first get into designing?
I first started seriously designing in high school, but I’ve been sketching clothes sine I knew how to pick up a pencil. From the moment I found out that being a designer was a thing, I knew it was something I needed to be doing.
When did you know you wanted to have a career in theater?
I fell in love with theatre as a whole when I was in middle school. At that point, I still skewed towards fashion design and loved costumes in period dramas, but then I discovered how truly extra Broadway costumes were, and then the more I learned about wardrobe and backstage life and all the crazy fun little things that go with it, the more I realized I also wanted a career I enjoyed instead of sitting behind a desk for the rest of my life.
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
Putting my foot down and trying to convince Asian parents that I could actually make a living with a career in the arts was not just hard, it never actually happened. Even in high school I wasn’t really sure I could make it. I had no idea how to get to Broadway other than that it was a shiny and nebulous goal. So I chose what seemed like the easier path and took that scholarship and studied Psychology.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
This is definitely my favorite accomplishment to date. I filmed a bridal design competition special that aired on TLC called “Hayley Ever After” a couple of years ago with several other interns of a fabulous wedding dress designer named Hayley Paige. It was truly the coolest experience to be able to design fluffy little wedding gowns on camera and pitch the design to both a celebrity bride and Hayley, our mentor. Getting on the show was one of those moments that kind of helped to fight off all the self doubt that likes to creep in.
That do you love most about what you do?
I love that Broadway creates families – whether we like it or not. We’re a giant group of people (sometimes with the same interests, sometimes with nothing more in common than the job) thrown together, often for upwards of 10 hours a day, and we’ve managed to not just make the most of it, but thrive and create these bonds that I can’t imagine existing like this in any other way. And I’ve met such incredible people, especially my Lion King family. I never could have imagined my coworkers being the biggest supporters of me as a designer, but that the company has been there with me since I started designing for opening nights. They were there to cheer me on when my TV special debuted. The electricians had the bridal design competition on in their room right next to a screen with a football game so they could tune in and see whether I’d win!
To find out more about Darcy, please visit her at:
FB: Viscountess New York