Carbon County Native Pursues Career as Costume Designer
Strolling by a costume shop every day, led Carbon County native into her career as a costume designer and the ability to live in the city of her dreams: Houston, Texas.
Macy Lyne Malmstrom grew up in Price where her father taught at Carbon High School and her mother worked in the office. She took a theater class at CHS to fulfill an art credit, but never thought much about majoring in it.
She worked a couple of years and ended up enrolling at Utah Valley State College in the ‘90s. “I was taking general business classes and walked by the costume shop every day. I stopped one day and asked some of the students (I asked the shop manager Iris Marshall) if they need help sewing because I know how to sew.” Malmstrom's mother had taught her how to sew and she made most of her clothes growing up. With this talent under her belt, she volunteered for the show which proved gold to the UVSC’s theatre department.
“When I watched the costumes I made for my first show, I was hooked. I cannot describe the feeling I had when I first saw my work. I was totally smitten with theatre,” she said.
UVSC theatre department provided Malmstrom with a scholarship for the next three semesters as she spent countless hours sewing for its productions.
When the light went off in her head that she could actually major in costume design, she transferred to Utah State University to pursue a degree in apparel merchandising which included classes in historic and costume design taught in the theatre department.
After earning her bachelor’s degree, she spent three years working on her master of fine art’s degree in costume design in Logan. “I dress people for a living,” she quipped. While at USU, she worked with Brent Innes, whose theatre career led him to USU Eastern as an associate professor of theatre.
After graduation, her first job was working for Houston’s Grand Opera which included full benefits. “I was the head cutter and draper,” she said. “I made all the patterns and cut all the material plus got to work with world-famous designers.”
After working full time for two years, Malstrom felt like she was not being fulfilled artistically. I wanted to make my own designs. It did not make sense to me to not use my creativity so I quit my full-time job and went out on my own.
The first couple of years were tough because I had to establish myself. And now people are seeking me out. I've worked in a lot of cities and states, but Utah is my home.
Designing costumes is always artistic fun for Malstrom, however she found her hardest challenge was in graduate school where she had to design a Shakespeare show in comedia dell’arte, or comedy of the profession. “I found it tough, but familiar. The form is a distinct and historic technique.” She likes to design dark shows that are post-apocalyptic because “I love to transform things. Repurposing objects and making costumes out of curtains is fabulous.” Her favorite fashion years were the 1920s.
She hopes to travel to see the world as a tourist someday. “Since I spend most of my time in a dark theater, I want to see the world’s museums and taste all the wonderful food as simply a tourist.”
Malmstrom lives in a world of stress and deadlines. “I have to manage my time and constantly try to figure out how to best use it. As a free-lance costumer, I weigh the odds of what I will do next . . . it’s a lot of ‘what if’ games.”
The advice she gives to anyone is “somebody will know someone, who knows someone, so always be delightful. It’s a small world.”
This the is the second time Malmstrom’s work has been seen in Price. She designed the costumes for “Little Shop of Horrors” two years ago and now her designs can be seen in “Games Afoot” now in its last week of production at USU Eastern’s Peterson Black Box Theatre in the Central Instructional Building. The play runs Dec. 8-10 at 7:30 p.m.
December 6, 2016
Writer: Susan Polster