Dana Covarrubias – Costume Designer For Inside Amy Schumer

For anyone in the entertainment industry, a shiny gold statuette may be the most obvious marker of success, but for costume designer Dana Covarrubias, the real arbiters of a job well done are trick-or-treaters.

“People are like, ‘Oh, I want an Academy Award,’ but I think as a costume designer, if something you create becomes a Halloween costume, that’s sort of the next level,” she says, pointing to the prison-issue jumpsuits of Orange is the New Black and the instantly recognizable Walter White pork pie hat and Jesse Pinkman hoodie from Breaking Bad as two recent examples of the phenomenon.

“When I watch a movie I can just tell sometimes—like in Drive, Ryan Gosling’s bomber jacket with the dragon on the back, you just knew. You saw that and you were like, ‘That’s going to be an iconic costume.’”

If her recent work is any indication, Covarrubias is well poised to be behind the next Halloween sensation. Fresh off a turn as head designer on Master of None, Aziz Ansari’s critically-acclaimed new Netflix show, she has taken up the reins on Inside Amy Schumer for the show’s fourth season on Comedy Central and been tapped for an HBO pilot produced and directed by Girls’ Judd Apatow.

Dana CovarrubiasAt a moment when the worlds of television and comedy are thriving, Covarrubias is right at the center of it all, making sure your favorite funny people are wearing exactly what they need to be.

Sometimes this calls for some slightly unusual requests. Amid Ansari’s spiffy Band Of Outsiders and Steven Alan-heavy wardrobe on Master of None is a scene that calls for a Hazmat suit—a mass-produced garment with sizing that tends to err on the side of XXL, a challenge when you’re shopping for a slim, five-foot-six star. To work around that, Covarrubias sourced a more fit-conscious flight suit, which she brought to her go-to “knockoff lady” along with some shiny white vinyl material to create a suit that looked capable of sealing off biological agents without drowning the actor’s frame.

Another group of flashback scenes took place in 1950s India and Taiwan, requiring reams of standing-collar shirts, lightweight pants, and colorful saris—along with four dedicated ager/dyers, who made H&M finds look decades old using chemicals, sandpaper, and other garment-distressing techniques. While there were tentative plans to shoot overseas, they ended up creating a faux-India in Brooklyn, which meant finding more than 200 pairs of old-world-style sandals to protect the extras’ feet. “In reality, most people would be barefoot, but we couldn’t have actors walking around barefoot in Bushwick,” she explains.

The mashup of different eras and styles made the show one of Covarrubias’ favorite projects to date. “It’s kind of the ideal, because it had custom-made cool futuristic things, period clothing, and current fashion,” she says. “It’s fun to have that balance of doing the styling side of it and fulfilling that desire to make the actors look awesome by putting them in a cool designer, and to also be super creative.”

Dana Covarrubias 2Creativity is of the essence for the Texas native, who studied theater before landing her first television internship, in the costume department of the IFC sketch comedy show The Whitest Kids U’ Know. After years spent re-working vintage costumes for the stage, the idea that she could be told, “This is the character’s name, this is their job, this is what they do, this is the kind of person they are—let’s go shop” was a revelation.

“I was like, ‘This is a job? This is a thing that people do?’,” she recalls. “I didn’t really know that that existed, and I just immediately fell in love with it. It made so much sense to me.”

How To Be A Costume Designer

As with any job, time and money are two of the biggest considerations that go into planning costumes for a show. Custom-made or difficult-to-find pieces have to be prioritized early on, while last-minute shopping trips will inevitably come up during filming.

On Inside Amy Schumer, for instance, Covarrubias had to get to work finding a custom-made, human-sized cockroach costume as soon as the script came in for the season’s already-written sketches, but says there will also be days when casting comes in at 8 a.m.—along with the actor’s measurements—and filming starts that afternoon. It happens more often than you might think, and means she’ll be running to Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s with 30 minutes and a corporate credit card in hand, and then right back to set to have the outfits fit, tailored, and ready to shoot.

While she has built an impressive resume with her small screen work (she also counts Louie and the pilot of the now über-popular Broad City among her successes), Covarrubias has a few avenues she would like to explore more in the future.

“I would love to do more movies—I think, like any industry, you get into one vein and then you get hired on the next thing, the next thing, the next thing. Doing movies is really different—for one thing, it’s faster,” she says. Where television shows can film for three to six months of the year (or longer), movies often call for only a month of work. “As a creative person, I enjoy the shortness of movies, because it’s like this little world that you create for a month, and the next month you get to create a whole new world.”

It also probably doesn’t hurt that the last movie she worked on, They Came Together, has a cast list that reads like a who’s who of everyone’s imaginary celebrity best friends: Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Ellie Kemper, Christopher Meloni…need we go on?

Far from corroborating the ladder-climbing, back-stabbing Hollywood stereotype, Covarrubias credits an amazingly supportive network of producers, directors, and fellow costume designers for helping her land increasingly high-profile gigs. And with business going strong in New York, she has no plans to relocate out west anytime soon.

“I’m sure it would be doable, but—knock on wood—I keep getting hired here and I keep getting to work on things that I really respect and love, and I like everyone that I work with.” Plus, she adds, “I feel like after you live in New York, you’re spoiled for anywhere else.”

Photo credit: Frank Mullaney

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestGoogle+

Bitcoin is the inescapable “next big thing” that will reportedly replace the banks and disrupt our entire financial system. While Bitcoin and the technology it’s built on are still in their infancy, entrepreneurs can benefit from being early adopters. (Please note: The following should not be considered financial advice.)

Five essential takeaways for Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a currency built on top of a technology called the blockchain, which I’ll explore in more detail later. Here’s the main gist of Bitcoin:

  1. It allows for a culture of full transparency where all transactions can be viewed by anyone on a “distributed ledger,” a table that lists all transactions occurring on the blockchain. You can see these transactions in real time with a blockchain explorer like Blockchain.info or Blockcypher.
  2. Transactions are irreversible. Once you send Bitcoin, you can’t cancel the transaction.
  3. Transactions are anonymous. To send or receive bitcoin, you need to set up a virtual wallet. Each wallet has a unique ID composed of random numbers and letters like 1NRedxSzhx7r. This is used in lieu of a real-name identity.
  4. There are only 21 million Bitcoins that will ever be in existence, a rule hard-coded into Bitcoin’s software. These coins are generated through a process called mining, which is very similar to mining for gold or diamonds but instead uses computing power to solve a mathematical puzzle. In addition to mining Bitcoin, miners also profit off the transaction fees since their computing hardware powers and connects the blockchain.
  5. It’s both a very volatile, decentralized currency and a storage of value with no central authority calling the shots.

How to purchase Bitcoin

  1. Sign up for Coinbase, which is by far one of the most trusted and reputable exchanges.
  2. In the US, you will need to verify your identity to be accepted to most legitimate exchanges. Once your ID is approved, you can then purchase Bitcoin or a small fraction of a Bitcoin. You can spend as little as $10. With such a volatile new currency, it’s important to only spend as much as you’re comfortable with losing.

What is the blockchain?

CryptoKitties illustrates key points about the blockchain
CryptoKitties is one of the first games built on the blockchain.

The blockchain is the underlying technology that makes Bitcoin work. Think of it as the App Store, with Bitcoin an app built on top of the blockchain. There are many other blockchains and cryptocurrencies. Ethereum, co-created by Vitalik Buterin, is one of the major competitors in the space and uses its own currency, called Ether.

Just like you can build any app and launch it in the App Store, you can build apps, commonly referred to as Dapps (decentralized apps), on the blockchain. Companies choose to build on the blockchain because it allows for full transparency—anyone can view each block on the chain—and accountability, meaning there can’t be any gaps in the chain, as each chain builds off of the next.

One silly but salient Dapp is CryptoKitties, a game where you can spend Ether to raise your own kittens. Companies like Maersk and IBM are working together to use the blockchain for other uses cases, like making global shipping industry more efficient.

Three opportunities for entrepreneurs

  1. Be active, any time. Now that you have your Bitcoin, you’re now a part of a global economy that is active 24/7, not bankers’ hours. You can participate in ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings, explained below), join other exchanges, and trade with other alt-coins. You can even make real-world purchases, like buy furniture from overstock.com. This is where you begin to see the true utility and revolution of cryptocurrencies.
  2. Raise capital. As an entrepreneur, you can launch your own coin and raise money from the public via an ICO instead of the typical seed or angel round. Keep in mind there will be heavy regulations around ICOs. Companies like the messaging app Telegram are raising well over $1 billion in their ICO.
  3. Help bring others on to the blockchain. You can also engage with the blockchain as an entrepreneur by consulting or development services to bring companies, cities, and even your own company on to the blockchain, like ConsenSys did. ConsenSys and IBM are working together to bring the city of Dubai on to the blockchain. Other companies, like Digital Asset Holdings, led by the extraordinary Blythe Masters, are working to bring institutions and exchanges on to their blockchain technology.

Three dangers of the blockchain

Almost anything could be built on top of or migrated to the blockchain—but that doesn’t mean it should. With Bitcoin and blockchain come tremendous upside and risks. Here are a few:

  1. Regulation. Governments around the world are cracking down on cryptocurrencies and ICOs, so be sure to read up on your local laws.
  2. Vaporware and Ponzi schemes. The majority of ICOs are companies that have no real technology, team, or product. Facebook recently banned ads for cryptocurrency and ICOs out of concern for “deceptive promotional practices.” They are designed to take your money if you don’t do your research.
  3. Scale. Dapps are still struggling with scale as small but popular ones like CryptoKitties are slowing down transaction times on the Ethereum blockchain. Imagine what would happen if purchasing came to a standstill because one app slowed everything down.

All hype aside, Bitcoin and the blockchain do have opportunities for entrepreneurs savvy enough to seize them. See where it might take you and your business.

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestGoogle+

From Shanghai to Nashville, the Year of the Dog is already in full effect at the pup-ready workspaces of WeWork. On Instagram, #dogsofwework has nearly 5,000 posts, and when WeWork brought its dog-friendly workspaces to Japan—a market with more pets than children—it made headline news in Bloomberg. (Thinking about starting dog-friendly policies in your spot? Here’s a ruff guide for that.)

Life’s a gas

Max is a dog of many talents
Katy Conrad and Max in New York City

Katy Conrad + Max

Location: WeWork HQ, New York City

Company: WeWork

What’s the best tip for bringing your dog to work? The best way to make sure your dog is comfortable at the office is to bring lots of treats, including treats to share. Just like us humans need a snack after a long day at the office, having a bag of treats helps make sure Max and his office puppy pals are all enjoying themselves, and able to get through the workday, too. A bunch of snuggles doesn’t hurt, either.

What’s your dog’s superpower? Besides being cute, his ability to end any meeting with his gas.

The office flirt

Fiona Webborn's pug, Nugget
Fiona Webborn’s dog Nugget in London

Fiona Webborn + Nug the Pug

Location: WeWork Spitalfields, London

Company: The Cotton Story

Why do you bring your canine friend to work?

He’s so cute, why wouldn’t I want to spend all day with him? He’s been coming in since he was 10 weeks old and is now really confident and friendly around all sort of people and dogs of all sizes.

What’s important to know before bringing a dog to work?

That everyone will forget you exist and forget your name because they now see you as “Nugget’s mum” or “the girl with the tiny pug.”

“Everyone will forget you exist and forget your name because they now see you as ‘Nugget’s mum.’”

Your dog as an emoji: 😘 Because he’s such a flirt with all the other dogs and members!

What’s your dog’s superpower?

Being able to finish his lunch in under 10 seconds flat.

 

Will sprint for belly rubs

Teddy uses constant reinforcement with his dog Scout
Teddy Connell and Scout in Atlanta

Teddy Connell + Scout

Location: WeWork Tower Place, Atlanta

Company: WeWork

What’s behind her name? Scout is a 6-year-old Blue-Heeler mix from Aberdeen, Mississippi. She’s named after Scout Finch [from To Kill A Mockingbird] and has become a part of the WeWork Tower Place community team.

What’s the best tip for bringing your dog to work? Pleasant interpersonal relationships seem to be the most reinforcing stimulus for a dog. After all, they are pack animals with complex social structures that eventually led to them synchronizing with human society. Always be watching for desirable behavior to positively reinforce your pup with, because they’ll always be watching you.

What’s your dog’s superpower? Asking for what she wants. She has been known to sprint towards members only to then slide on her side to stop perfectly in position for a belly rub.

 

Grumpy but loveable

Herby came from a shelter and is sometimes grumpy, but still loveable
Isabel Borst and Herby in Berlin (Photo by Milon Quayim)

Isabel Borst + Herby

Location: WeWork Hackescher Markt, Berlin

Company: WeWork

What’s the best tip for bringing your dog to work? Willingness to adapt is very important. The members love him, and he loves the attention he gets from them. There were moments, though, that I noticed he was getting quite stressed. I bring him to the office between two or three times per week, and I avoid bringing him if I know it will be a very busy day.

The fun part is that the members have also adapted to him. They know Herby doesn’t like hugs and clapping and that they shouldn’t feed him because he’s trying to lose some weight. At the end, the most important part is to respect his limits and make sure he is not disturbing anyone.

Your dog as an emoji: 😒 He’s both a grumpy man and a good pal.

What’s your dog’s superpower? Herby has the power of finding food in every bush. Normally he finds sandwiches, but last weekend he found a whole pizza.

 

Pastry bandit

Leah Gwin, a member from Inflammo, and her dog Harper
Leah Gwin and Harper in Nashville

Leah Gwin + Harper

Location: WeWork 901 Woodland, Nashville, Tennessee

Company: Inflammo

Why do you bring your dog to work? Instead of sitting at home bored all day, she’s able to come hang out with me, meet other dogs, and get loved on by WeWork members. I also—selfishly—love having her around because her bright, spunky spirit keeps me feeling positive, and she always finds things to do that make me laugh throughout the day.

What’s the best tip for adjusting to the office environment? Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. I have found this is the key to a well-behaved dog at work. Harper is a 1-year-old puppy, so she has a lot of fun energy. When I take her on runs or to the dog park before work, she cooperates way better. We also love taking walks during lunchtime or throwing the ball at the park nearby.

If your dog were an emoji, which would he/she be? 💃  Harper is always the life of the party.

What’s your dog’s superpower? Invisibility. She snuck upstairs at a friend’s house a few weeks ago without us seeing and ate 27 pastries.

 

Quiet cuddler

WeWork Weihai Lu is dog friendly
Bonnie Li’s dog Captain in Shanghai

Bonnie Li + Captain

Location: WeWork Weihai Lu, Shanghai

Company: WeWork

Why do you bring your canine friend to work? We have a lot of dogs in our community, so Captain can make friends here. If one day I don’t bring him to work, lots of members ask me, “Where is Captain?”

How do you know if your dog is ready to be a WeWork dog? The dog should be quiet and under your control, and also less than 14 kilograms or 30 pounds.

Your dog as an emoji: 😳

What’s your dog’s superpower? Being friendly and not barking.

 

Vibe manager

Rufino's Monica Limanto brings her dog Yoji Yoshimoto to work with her
Monica Limanto’s dog Yoji Yoshimoto in Sydney

Monica Limanto + Yoji Yoshimoto

Location: WeWork Pyrmont, Sydney

Company: Rufino

Why do you bring your canine friend to work? It makes the office a happier place. Dogs create instant good vibes.

What’s important to know before bringing a dog to work? Be respectful of the workplace and practice good manners by ensuring your dog is toilet trained, the office door is kept closed, and there is a dog bed, water, snacks, and toys for your pup to keep them occupied and comfortable during the day.

Your dog as an emoji: 💩

What’s your dog’s superpower? Making food disappear

 

 

Dog walker app trainer

WeWork Ipanema member GoDog uses Lexa to train walkers
Julia Aranha’s dog Lexa in Rio de Janeiro

Julia Graça Aranha + Lexa

Location: WeWork Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

Company: WeWork

Why do you bring your canine friend to work? She makes everyone’s day better. Even though the Ipanema building has only been open for 10 days, Lexa has already become the mascot. We have a dog walking app in our building, GoDog, that uses her every day to train new dog walkers.

What’s important to know before bringing a dog to work? People will “borrow” your dog, so if yours goes missing, it’s probably in someone else’s office.

Must-have toy to keep your dog happy: Toy to chew on.

What’s your dog’s superpower? Help people lose their fear of dogs.

 

WeWork's dog friendly policies have a lot of fans
Nugget and a friend in London

 

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestGoogle+

How do you set the mood for love? For one Detroit couple, it’s all about ideas, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Fance Logan and Keith Shadwick met last year at the Creator Awards, WeWork’s global competition for innovators. They connected over a love for sharing ideas and starting up new collaborations.

Usually, the Creator Awards’s impact is measured in the $15 million awarded, the 167 winners, or the 170 jobs created. But now they can count one relationship—and one baby on the way.

As Logan, 32, and Shadwick, 27, get ready to welcome a baby boy in March, they continue to follow their passions. For Logan, that’s real estate and fashion events, including the annual runway show, Fashion Massacre, now in its ninth year. Shadwick is developing a new fashion line, Prewave and Co. We caught up with the couple between their startups and side hustles to learn more about how they met and what baby names they’re considering.

Congratulations on the baby! How exactly did you meet at the Detroit Creator Awards?

Logan: At the time, I was just laid off from one of my jobs doing property management. I was downtown, it was a rainy day, and you guys had this glass pitch booth thing [where anyone could come up and pitch an idea for a chance to win money], which was so fascinating to me. The whole setup was something unique. I went in out of curiosity.

The Detroit Creator Awards sets up a pitch booth downtown.

Shadwick: We met at the pitch booth. I saw her walking around while I was pitching my idea. We started asking each other about business and entrepreneurship.

Logan: That’s how me and him started talking to each other, off our ideas. Some of the ideas he had were so amazing. Then we said, “OK, maybe I’ll see you later.” I saw him later that night at the awards ceremony, and we just hit it off. You don’t usually meet people talking about the entrepreneurial spirit. We both had that in common. He was just open forideas and open for creativity.

Shadwick: We ended up hanging out until Wyclef Jean performed, and that sparked something.

Were you hoping to meet anyone?

Logan: It was fascinating how I met Keith. I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone. Keith wasn’t planning to meet anyone, either. He just had a natural curiosity to be part of something. To meet in that element is amazing. It’s out of curiosity, and here I am, eight months pregnant, and we’re soon to be married. It’s a beautiful story.

How did you connect about entrepreneurship?

Shadwick: We started talking about fashion and different things. I was starting my brand, Prewave and Co. I have no design school background. It’s just in my spirit. Fance started talking to me about how to go about branding. She was telling me a certain way to go about it, being really professional about every aspect like consistent artwork, content, and stories behind the fashion.

Logan: We are [also] working on a real estate company focused on promoting homeownership, called Optimistic Realities. Homeownership sometimes seems intimidating to people. We’ve been leasing and are in the process of purchasing a home soon. We’ll buy homes and fix them up and offer programs for people so they could purchase their own home.

How does Detroit influence what you’re doing?

Shadwick: I’m from the westside in Detroit, where there’s violence, but it’s been reported that violence has gone down. This is the time to start doing things. It was a dark time in Detroit, but now there are lots of entrepreneurs, and networking is golden right now. My next collection is called Flourish Detroit.

Do you know what you’ll name the baby?

Logan: Sensei, which means master teacher. We’re putting that into the atmosphere.

How will you teach the entrepreneurial spirit to the next generation?

Logan: Lead by example. That’s the only way to teach someone. When I said me and Keith are going to buy a home soon, we’re doing it to lead by example.

So… would you recommend the Creator Awards as a place to find love?

Shadwick: For sure. It attracts people with a positive light and a mind to create. We all are creators, no matter what we do. Our words create our destiny. To actually create a human from that event is amazing in itself. It’s meant to be.

Photo by Craig Lewis II

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestGoogle+

A shaving company geared toward women. A movement to get more black men leading classrooms. A mentor program opening up opportunities in the media industry for people of color. We’re celebrating Black History Month this year by acknowledging influential African-American entrepreneurs in the WeWork community. See someone missing from the list? Tag them with #BlackHistoryMonth and #weworkBHM on social media.

1.  Where Langston Hughes meets Cardi B

Langston League founder Erica Buddington

Erica Buddington, a teacher in New York City, turned Cardi B into a teaching moment, then a teaching moment into a viral video sensation. Buddington rewrote the lyrics to Cardi B’s summer hit “Bodak Yellow” to teach geography after she heard her sixth graders singing the song. Now she’s using the publicity she received from the video (including mentions on Huffington Post and Forbes) to take her company ideas for culturally relevant curriculum to the next level with her company, Langston League.

“The kids push me to be creative. They’re my lab,” she says. “I take the kids’ comments every day and rework it. They’re so open when they know you love them.”

How you can support them: Hire them for workshops and curriculum design.

2. The perfect shave—for women

Karen Young founder of shaving company Oui Shave

Karen Young bootstrapped her business from day one. Her line of shaving products, Oui Shave, replaces flimsy plastic razors with a sturdy safety razor that can last a lifetime and reduce razor burn.

“We’re reimagining what the razor would look like if it was made with the best intentions for women,” Young says.

The Brooklyn-based entrepreneur has received nods from Vogue and Refinery 29, and in November, she took home $180,000 at the New York City Creator Awards, which she’ll use to scale her product further.

How you can support them: Buy a razor set.

3. Changing hearts, minds, and teachers

Larry Irvin, founder of Brothers Empowered to Teach, wants more men of color to become teachers. “We are looking to reignite our lost luster for the education profession that was once highly revered,” he says. His organization recruits the next generation of educators by reaching out early in college and providing programs to men looking to change careers.

“Though it is imperative that black boys start to see positive representations of black men in classrooms, it is equally important that kids of all races and ethnicities see that black men can and do teach,” Irvin says.

How you can support them: Donate.

4. Computer skills for all

Creator Awards Global Finalist Byte Back

Byte Back completely changes the lives of underserved Washington, DC residents by providing computer training and career preparation. “On average, our students are making $20,000 more per year than when they came to Byte Back,” says Executive Director Elizabeth Lindsey. “Their lives are changed profoundly.”

Lindsey represented Byte Back at the DC Creator Awards in 2017 and the Global Finals in 2018, winning $360,000 in funding at each event. For the Global Finals, Lindsey also welcomed Byte Back student Lisa R. Brown to the stage at Madison Square Garden. Brown had been juggling multiple jobs before starting at Byte Back, when she came to a  realization. “Six jobs would never equal one good career,” Brown says.

How you can support them: Donate.

5. The new media moguls

Co-founder of Marcus Graham ProjectLincoln Stephens was working in advertising and kept finding himself as the only African-American male in the company. He wanted to change that. Over the past 10 years, the Dallas nonprofit he started, The Marcus Graham Project, has worked to provide learning opportunities for minorities looking to break into the media industry, a field where “people of color are grossly underrepresented,” Stephens says.

“We work with hundreds of young leaders to help shape their career and advocate for the awareness of career opportunities in our field,” Stephens says.

How you can support them: Donate.

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestGoogle+