One of the biggest shows on TV this year has a Moose Jaw connection.
Former Moose Javian Crystal Mckenzie, who now resides in Calgary, worked as a wardrobe buyer for HBO’s The Last of Us.
A wardrobe buyer assists the costume designer by searching out and buying wardrobe items for the production.
The Last of Us is a post-apocalyptic drama series starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey and based on the video game of the same name. The show was filmed in Alberta from July 2021 to June 2022.
“I knew it was just going to be such a huge hit because of how popular the video game is,” Mckenzie said.
She came across the opportunity through word of mouth. Her friend Ben Toner was the assistant designer for the show. He was looking for a high-level wardrobe buyer for costume designer Cynthia Summers and recommended Mckenzie.
The next thing she knew, she was on a Zoom call with Summers. Mckenzie said it was a dream come true as she was a big fan of Summers’ costume work on A Series of Unfortunate Events.
“A Series of Unfortunate Events, she just went all out. There were octopus dresses and you name it. It was out-of-this-world creative,” Mckenzie said.
She remembered getting the offer to work on the show. The moment she got the offer she knew she had to accept it.
“It was one of those things that I knew was just going to be a game changer, whether or not I'd stay in film, it's just a really great addition to my portfolio,” she said.
Working five days per week for 10-12 hours, Mckenzie shopped for wardrobe pieces. As an example, she said they needed 25 of the exact same jackets for the main character for the actor, the stunt doubles and extras in case the jacket got ruined during production.
Her fashion choices have garnered her a lot of attention. Mckenzie received a call from Rolling Stone Magazine last week about a winter shearling jacket she procured for Pascal, aka Joel in the series.
“It was one of the most incredible things and to get a call from Rolling Stone about one of your jackets, it is just like the coolest thing ever,” she said.
Out of hundreds of jackets to choose from, Pascal chose the shearling jacket Mckenzie procured. However, the problem was they needed to find 25 more of them. She found the jacket at a store in Calgary and the store looked across Canada for anyone who sold the coat and gather as many as they could. Because of the sheepskin used, about 20 of the jackets needed to be manufactured in Turkey.
“We all literally cried. It was either this is going to work or I’m never going to work in film again,” she said.
It’s also garnered her some attention at the Academy Awards. The creators of the Oscar-nominated short film The Flying Sailor, Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby, hired Mckenzie to outfit them for the red carpet.
Mckenzie's other credits include Ghostbusters: Afterlife and the IMAX documentary Asteroid Hunter.