Erin Roche

QUT doctorate student and Churchill Fellowship recipient, Erin Roche, is a creative and innovative costume designer. She has had an extensive career working on a number of prestigious Australian television shows and films.

Some of Roche’s design credits include television shows such as House Husbands and Sisters, feature films including The Menkoff Method and Boys In The Trees, as well as a wide variety of television commercials.

In 2016 Roche was nominated for best costume design at the 6th AACTA award for her work on the television show The Beautiful Lie.

Costume Design: The Beautiful Lie

“I think the design experience of the beautiful lie was really incredible. I had complete support from the producers and the start up director had a very clear vision for the tone of the series. Many of the costumes I designed were bespoke creations tailor made for our cast, which was pretty special,” Roche says.

More recently Roche has costume designed for The Wrong Girl for Channel 10 and Nick Verso’s debut feature film Boys In The Tree that premiered in 2016 at the Venice Film Festival.

Costume Design: The Wrong Girl

Costume design has been Roche’s singular focus for her entire career, starting at the age of sixteen with high school work experience at the Queensland Ballet. Roche went on to study fashion at Mt Gravatt TAFE and worked in London specialising in sculptural costumes before working in the Australian industry and continuing her own independent academic research.

In terms of inspiration, Roche relates to the lifeworld theory, which means that everything you’ve ever experienced – things that you’ve loved and hated – becomes inspiration.

“People on the street, a book I read ten years ago, a film I saw when I was twelve. Inspiration can strike at any time,” Roche says.

Not only is Roche an accomplished creative practitioner, she is also a researcher in the final stages of completing her Doctorate of Creative Industries at QUT.

Roche’s research explores the intersection of Film Studies, Gender Studies and Fashion Studies through a project titled, ‘Dress and Identity: The role of the costume designer in characterisation, a case study of contemporary Australian film and television’.

For this project Roche has interviewed six Australian costume designers in order to research the creative process of Australian costume designers through the collection and analysis of this data.

“It was more about their position in the industry as a whole and their general process, which there are commonalities in as opposed to the depths of their personal process,” says Roche.

Roche also interviewed writers, directors, producers and actors to gain external perspectives of the contribution and positioning of the costume designer within the Australian screen industry. She used these findings to explore her own design process as case studies.

In 2016 Roche was awarded the Stuart and Norma Leslie Churchill Fellowship to accelerate and strengthen costume design practices in the Australian screen industry. This fellowship will take her on a seven week professional development journey, where she will be exposed to costume designers and production companies around the world.

It is Roche’s research that is informing her own professional and creative practice as a costume designer.

“There is very little documentation on design process… and the more we take note of our process the more we understand what we’re creating,” Roche says.

“I think the pace we work at in the film and television industry is pretty crazy. So to actually make time to analyse why you make certain creative decisions has impacted how I work. It has put me in the position where I can activate those creative processes more, because I am aware of them,” says Roche.

To discover more about Erin Roche visit her website.