In Emma Seligman’s new film Bottoms, coming of age is bloody, absurd, and filled with fashion hits and misses. Starring The Bear’s Ayo Edebiri (Josie) and Shiva Baby’s Rachel Sennott (PJ), the raunchy comedy follows two self-professed lesbian losers in high school, who form an all-girls fight club just to get laid. Like many queer teens, feeling a lack of control during such a tumultuous time in their lives, Josie and PJ exercise agency through their outfit choices. Both characters notably experiment with menswear: rugby shirts, oversized graphic tees, corduroy overalls, and suspenders that make them look, as Kaia Gerber’s Brittany puts it, like “a little Dutch boy.”
Eunice Jera Lee, the film’s costume designer, collaborated with Seligman to curate looks inspired by some of Bottoms’ timeless teen comedy forebears—like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Heathers, Clueless, and Bring It On. Beginning her career as a fashion stylist, Lee now has credits as a designer on films like How to Blow Up a Pipeline, Gook, Blue Bayou, and the upcoming film about Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, The Collaboration.
With Bottoms opening wide today, GQ called up Lee to chat about sourcing the movie’s evocative costumes, her own history of dabbling in menswear, and the one Y2K trend she hopes never comes back.
GQ: What sold you on this project initially?
Lee: I love this film. I mean, even on paper it was just hysterical. It’s so fantastical and surreal that you can’t take the script seriously at all, in terms of the misogyny and the chauvinism in the town. It was just this hysterical but amplified look at the world we live in now, and I just wanted to be a part of it. I love Emma Seligman and I’m still a fan after working with her.
Where did you source the clothing from? I desperately need everything Ayo Edibiri was wearing in this film, especially her Levi’s rugby long-sleeve and the “Artists are the Gatekeepers of Truth” shirt.
We shot the film in New Orleans, so we did quite a bit of sourcing out there. I wanted to make sure that we really respected the intersectionality of Josie’s character, so I reached out to this local artist and activist Brandan “BMike” Odums. He has this art house called Studio Be. That was kind of like my ode to New Orleans because his presence is so massive there. He’s this wonderful Black artist who gives back to the community, and he’s so dope.
He sells clothing, so I reached out about getting that shirt, and just to give it that vintage collegiate spin we added the ringer bit. He’s so cool and I wanted to get everything for her from him.
We reached out to a few brands. Levi’s was actually one of them and they sent us a lot of merch, but we thrifted the other rugby shirts. I wanted to make sure that they had a vintage thrift look as well, because, you know, you’re high school students and it’s not like you can afford the world.