How Gossip Girl's Costume Designer Is "Breaking Down Gender Norms" With the Reboot

We don't know about you, but most of us were still talking about the fashion from the iconic teen drama series Gossip Girl well after the hit show came to an end in 2012. With everyone (ourselves included) buzzing about the HBO Max reboot, we spoke with costume designer Eric Daman about how the wardrobe has gotten a Gen Z spin, how the new show pays homage to the original, and how diversity has played a factor, not only in the casting, but in the designers repped in the new series.

"I think because of the diversity of the cast and where we are in the world right now, it was important to think with as much inclusivity and to reach out to designers like LaQuan Smith, Pyer Moss, and Telfar."

"I think because of the diversity of the cast and where we are in the world right now, it was important to think with as much inclusivity and to reach out to designers like LaQuan Smith, Pyer Moss, and Telfar," Eric told POPSUGAR. "Christopher [John Rogers] was like definitely on top, top, top of the list for the fashion show [in the reboot's pilot episode]. I love what he's doing in fashion, and I think he really hit the mark with his first collection, which was very opulent and full of beautiful, bright colors, in a time when everything else was purely athleisure. It reminded me of Gossip Girl, but a very modern vision of it."


Obviously, we were curious to learn how exactly the reboot would both pay homage to the OG series and differ from it. "I wanted to make it feel very contemporary, current, and speak to the Gen Z generation," Eric told POPSUGAR.

"These students are a part of the generation that has ushered us into this brave new fashion world that we're in, but I also wanted to pay homage to the OG Gossip Girl because the fans want some opulence as well. The school uniforms are the biggest connecting connective tissue between the two worlds. I wanted to leave behind the heavily embellished, Crayola-colored tights and bring [the uniforms] into this modern world with athleisure pieces. I wanted to give the nod to what's going on trend-wise as far as replacing schoolgirls' skirts with biker shorts."

Getty | Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin

That being said, you'll probably notice there are a few homages to the cast's original outfits from the opening scenes of the reboot. For example, Tavi Gevinson, who plays Kate, replicates an outfit made famous by Blake Lively's Serena in the Gossip Girl pilot. She wears S's iconic tan jacket, striped top, and scarf around her neck, just like Serena does in Grand Central Station when spotted by Dan Humphrey.

"We first see [Tavi's character] paying homage to Serena's first outfit. Here's this teacher coming in, and maybe she knows that she's emulating Serena, who was the It girl. Maybe she thinks it's cool to be dressing like Serena, but it's actually a little bit dated," Eric said.


Aside from the new iterations of the uniforms, you'll also notice that the accessories like handbags play a significant role in the characters' wardrobes, just like on the original series. "With the bags, I chose a lot of secondhand, thrift, and resale pieces since there's a movement towards sustainability. Sustainability is a huge part of how Gen Z is shopping and giving these luxury bags a second life. This generation identifies with these heritage brands differently because of this and the fact that the quality of these bags has a much longer shelf life than disposable fashion."

Of course, that didn't stop the reboot from including bags right off the runway, as you can tell from the first episode. "It was important to have still the giant LV bag moment," Eric revealed. "I think it's sensational, fun, and part of the GG fantasy. But Serena [from the original series] was definitely not carrying a secondhand bag."


Another thing that has changed with the reboot is the concept of gender fluidity when it comes to the cast's wardrobes. "Some of Max's shirt button-downs are women's blouses. For example, the lace Paco Rabanne shirt he wears at the fashion show is categorized as women's wear," Eric told POPSUGAR.

"We are in a world where we can talk about gender fluidity. Max can wear a woman's blouse without being in drag or looking too camp while still being sexy AF. He's the sexiest guy in the room because he wears it with confidence, and it doesn't look like a joke. If we'd put Chuck Bass in a women's lace blouse, it would have been ridiculous. We're playing with these boundaries and seeing these lines get blurred while having a bigger conversation about fluidity."

Clearly, from the conversations being had behind the scenes to the designers who were chosen, the cast's wardrobes seem to reflect a modern viewpoint that more of us can relate to.