Beth Furgurson Photo
You don't have to look far to see where Richmond native and Hollywood costumer Joshua Coleman gets his flair for fashion. Between his mom's home retail boutique and his father's furniture-restoration business, both called Tinker's, the VCU fashion graduate grew up in a world infused with style, color and the concept of reinvention. As a costumer and stylist in Hollywood, Coleman has repaired boots on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean , helped shield the Iron Man suit from paparazzi, and fluffed and puffed Jessica Alba for the red carpet at the Academy Awards. His current job puts him in daily contact with Hollywood's latest It Boys, the Jonas Brothers, whose new Disney show, Jonas , premieres in May; the boys' 3-D movie premieres Feb. 27.
Q. As a costumer, what do you do on a day-to-day basis?
A. I've been working on the Jonas Brothers show since September, and I will continue to work on it until March, possibly longer if we get picked up for another season. The boys have a stylist, Michele Tomaszweski, who goes shopping for all the clothes and creates their final looks. My main job is to make sure that the boys are always in the correct outfit at the correct time. My main thing is to make it all continuous.
Q. What does that mean exactly?
A. We shoot out of order, and sometimes we have to reshoot something, so I take pictures of everything. I make a book called a continuity book, and it has a picture of them in every single outfit they wear for an episode. I give clothing descriptions, all sorts of fabric details. … It's gotta be something where someone can pick up my book in two months or three years and say, "I need this Dolce & Gabbana top with these Marc Jacobs pants with these Dior shoes and with this belt and a bracelet on this hand." It's a lot of organization.
Q. Does that ever feel tedious?
A. Yes. But it's the biggest thing because the details are what matter the most. It can cost thousands and thousands of dollars to reshoot a scene just because one button is undone. You really, really pay attention to details.
Q. So, what's the creative part of the job?
A. You learn how to distress things. That's my favorite part. I can make something look like it's 100 years old, or like you've been dragged in the dirt for days, or I can make your shoes or jeans look like they have grass stains from playing soccer or cutting grass. I can make rock stars look like they were just mobbed by a crowd of teenage girls. I also try to make them feel comfortable, even when they have smoothies dumped on their head or bird poop on them.
Q. You've had to re-create bird poop?
A. Yes. Very recently.
Q. How do you do that?
A. What did I use? I tried all the different substances. I tried everything from watered-down paint to Elmer's glue. … I think I ended up using a couple mixtures of watered-down paint. But I tried a lot of stuff.
Q. How much input do the boys have into what they wear?
A. They give a lot of input. All three of them understand style. All three of them understand what looks good on them. And I think all three understand that you can take chances with fashion, and it's fun. There are certain staple things that they like to do: Nick likes to roll his sleeves up; he likes to have his necklaces shown. Kevin likes to wear ascots, and when he dresses up, he loves to wear a vest. He loves Dior. Sometimes his entire outfit will be Dior. Joe's kind of the crazier one. He isn't afraid to wear bright neon colors or really crazy Ray-Ban sunglasses. Ultimately it's their decision what they wear, but they understand that we're here to help them.
Q. Whose idea was it to go with the skinny pants?
A. They really like the skinny pants. What can I say?
Q. The Jonas Brothers are the hottest thing this side of Zac Efron. What's it like to be in their stratosphere?
A. I was lucky that I came in at a time when I didn't know anything about them. When I went with them to Jimmy Kimmel — that was the first time I ever worked with them outside of the show — just seeing them walk down an alley of fans was crazy. It was pouring down rain, and there were girls who had been waiting for two days just screaming their heads off. It was like Beatlemania. It was totally bonkers. When you're on set, you're in a safe place and it's more chill. But when they're out there in front of the public eye, it's crazy. That's when it feels out of this world.
Q. They also have amazingly squeaky-clean images. I couldn't scrounge up any gossip, save whom they are currently dating. Can you give us any dish on them?
A. That image they have? That literally is them. They're so well mannered and so respectful. They're so thankful. They come on the set, they shake everyone's hands, they ask you how your day is. I've never seen them fight with each other; they always get along. They were just brought up in a great family. It's like they were brought up in Richmond, I swear.
Q. Without violating your confidentiality agreement with the Jonas Brothers, what can you tell me about their upcoming TV show?
A. It comes out in May? ( Laughs ) Let's see, what can I say? In my opinion, it reminds me a little bit of The Monkees . It's fun and lighthearted and teenybopper. It does a pretty good mockery of what it would be like to have a Jonas brother in your high school. It's very Disney-friendly, but I think the great thing about the show is that it's so different from any of the other Disney shows that I've seen. The writing on it is incredible; I know one of the writers helped write Shrek . It's fun, fashion-oriented, quirky, and you do get to hear songs that they write and sing.
Q. That's all you can give me?
A. That's all I can give you.