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Meet Hairan Zuchelli of Midtowm

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hairan Zuchelli.

Hi Hairan. It’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for sharing your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
My name is Hairan Zuchelli. I’m a Brazilian Costume Designer, Wardrobe Stylist & Ethnic Garments Researcher; I create costumes for Musical Theater, TV Productions, Various Shows, Ballet, and Opera. Locally I have produced pieces for stages, The Rep, Winter Opera, Ballet 314, and others; In 2021, I was featured as a costume consultant at Bernadette Banner’s Video because of my extensive Historical Garments research. In 2019 and 18, I was also a speaker and panelist at Conventions in Utah and Idaho. I was also featured on TV at News 5 and Fox in Alabama. My current research on historical garments of Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) focusing on Creole wear has been extremely sought out. It is becoming a published book due to the importance of having more sources on Latin heritage and history. You can see some of my efforts in sharing my research on the Instagram and YouTube of the project: Brazilian Baroness @Brazilianbaroness.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It had not been easy to research BIPOC historical garments. We have very few minimal extents preserved and little access to them. Luckily I am a smooth talker, so many curators have granted me access to the pieces for understanding the importance of the research, but not everyone has this kind of help. Also, financial limitations are often challenging because we need to travel to locations since the pieces can’t be transported outside the institutes. And lastly, we have very good researchers in the field, but this hasn’t been popularized yet. So the creation of a YouTube channel in which I talk about it in an easier and more approachable way has been essential to spreading the word.

Thanks – so, what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m a costume designer, Wardrobe Stylist, and Ethnic Garments Researcher & Consultant. I make costumes. And I specialize in recreating/adapting Ethnic clothing for TV and theatrical productions in a culturally respectful way. This year I worked building with the Kimonos for the Broadway Original The Karate Kid, the musical, with Indian Fantasy garments for The House of Joy. Also, the Cuban Flashback wears the Creole Regalia in the Broadway musical In The Heights. I’m also the head of the Brazilian Baroness Project, where I teach about Brazilian 18th and 19th-century clothes. Have you seen what Tropical Victorians wore? We will show you.

What sets me apart from my peers is my absolute love for teaching and my drive to read old books, recreate old patterns, and make clothes from our past that aren’t necessarily the same as Europeans wore.

What do you think about happiness?
The thing that makes me the happiest is being able to make knowledge accessible. For at least 2 centuries, the women in my family had to endure a lot for me to be in the position I am. Being respected in my profession for being educated and helping shape my field of work with my research. Now that I am in a position of power, I can share my knowledge with many others who didn’t have the privileges I did. And that is my ultimate goal: for kids to love historical garments as much as I do.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
The company of “The Karate Kid” (Photo by Danny Zofness with DTK Studios)

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