“Almost everything I wear they made from scratch,” Bryant said during a recent talk with Charlotte Zoller, senior social media strategist at plus-size fashion brand Eloquii.
The talk was captured on Bryant’s Instagram stories, and she pointed out that the above-the-knee sequin show-stopping dress from episode 3 and another red frock from the show are among the custom looks her character Annie wears. “It’s almost all from scratch, which is kind of wild, but I really appreciated that our costume designer put in the work,” she said.
The search for ready-to-wear plus-size options can be dismal, which Shrill hilariously points out.
“Everything is either like a big Indiana Walmart sack or it’s like some cutesy shit covered in Eiffel Tower postage stamps,” Annie says in the show.
To avoid that, the show’s costume designer Amanda Needham had to go the custom route. She talked to HuffPost about dressing Bryant for the role. “Originally, I was just like, ‘Oh my God, she, just in her own life, has such great fashion,’” Needham said of Bryant.
She was excited about what she could pull for the character to wear, but quickly realized there was a lack of plus-size options on the market. Needham said Bryant described it as the “dead zone” in fashion. “I just felt a little bit ashamed that there wasn’t a market that was fashionable for plus size...As we got product in the bigger sizes, the bigger you went, the cheaper the fabric was and the larger the garment was,” Needham said. “It was like a real hide-your-body moment, and so really upsetting.”
This was the exact opposite of what Needham was going for. So much of Shrill’s plot is about Annie's confidence as it relates to being plus-size, which made having a stylish plus-size wardrobe for Bryant even more important. Needham wanted to convey that Annie is plus-size and happy, with the goal of sparking conversations about accepting plus-size people in society and the fashion world.
Needham worked with Bryant to develop Annie’s look, pulling from the Saturday Night Live star’s own style and mixing it with Annie’s “cool girl, Portland, poppy colors, really exciting moments.” To achieve that, Needham created custom looks and also pulled from brands slowly catching on to the size-inclusive movement. She turned to designers such as Rachel Antonoff and Mara Hoffman, and fast fashion lines ASOS, Forever 21, Wild Fang, and Fashion Nova to fill out the rest of the wardrobe.