By JOANNA NIKAS
Name Miyako Bellizzi
Hometown Alameda, Calif.
Now Lives In a three-bedroom apartment in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.
Claim to Fame Ms. Bellizzi is a stylist and costume designer who worked on the film “Good Time,” transforming Robert Pattinson into Connie Nikas, who plays a con artist. She read the script, she said, and was intrigued by the chance to turn “this pretty boy” into a greasy-haired scammer. She teamed up with Mordechai Rubinstein, a street-style photographer and blogger, to take photos of New Yorkers as inspiration for the looks.
Big Break In 2015, a couple of years after graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and producing shoots for Vice, she landed a job as a costume designer on the indie film “As You Are.” It was about teenage skateboarders in the early ’90s, and Ms. Bellizzi spent weeks sifting through old Thrasher magazines, tracking down labels like Airwalk and researching events like Kurt Cobain’s death that would have had an impact on the characters. “I’d never seen another costume designer work, so I had to kind of figure out a system that works for me,” she said.
Latest Project Ms. Bellizzi worked on two of the latest Jay-Z music videos, one of which was directed by Joshua and Ben Safdie, the brothers who directed “Good Time.” It was a childhood dream of Ms. Bellizzi’s to work on a hip-hop video, and she has vivid memories of watching Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Missy Elliott and Method Man on TV. “You’re a kid, and you’re like, ‘God, I want to do that,’” she said.
Next Thing “I want to do the next ‘Matrix,’” said Ms. Bellizzi, who hopes to work on more films where style is a strategic element in the storytelling. Some of her favorites are the original “Blade Runner” and “Casino.” While filming “Good Time,” Josh Safdie told her to think about creating a character that someone would want to be as a Halloween costume. “That has always stuck with me,” she said.
In our overly commercialized world, creating looks can be costly and time consuming, but learning how and where to source items makes it easier and more affordable. Here are some of the tricks Ms. Bellizzi has honed along the way.
1. More is more Coco Chanel advised: “Always remove one thing before you leave the house.” For Ms. Bellizzi, this does not apply. “I think more is better,” she said. For her, no look is complete without layers of silver jewelry, including nameplate necklaces, chains of varying thickness and chokers with hanging dice, which she makes herself. She finds most of her jewelry and clothes at swap meets, learning from an early age in California that you can find unique pieces on a budget.
2. Do your research When Ms. Bellizzi starts a project, she puts in weeks of research, which is helpful if you’re trying to recreate a look from the past. She scours old books, photographs, magazines and even catalogs like Sears and Delia’s for inspiration. She uses her alumni pass to get into the F.I.T. library, which has a collection of Vogue magazines dating back to the ’50s.
3. Recreate a look on a dime Once you’ve done your research and have reference points for a look or pieces you want to find, you can begin shopping at thrift stores and searching the web. “I’m an eBay head,” Ms. Bellizzi said. “I get into deep holes.” Chances are, if you want something, there is someone who bought it and is sick of it. Also, you can compare and contrast prices on sites like eBay, even bidding for a better deal.
4. Offer people some $$$ It is not uncommon for Ms. Bellizzi to offer people $40 for something they’re wearing. “I ask mechanics if I can buy their shirts because they look so good,” said Ms. Beliizzi, a self-described uniform enthusiast. “There is one with navy and red stripes. It’s beautiful, and I can’t find that colorway anywhere else.
5. Stick with what works And speaking of uniforms, when Ms. Bellizzi finds something she likes, she sticks with it. For example, she has Dickies pants in at least 10 different colors. “I have all the colorways,” she said. “I can get obsessive.” She also has more than 100 pairs of hoops.
6. Mix it up Ms. Bellizzi never likes to look too matchy-matchy and never wants to be associated with one style. “I always like to be a little punk,” she said. “I always like to be a little ’hood. I always like to be a little fancy. If there’s too much of one element, I have to take something away.”
Bonus tip: It’s O.K. to splurge on one good thing. For Ms. Bellizzi, it was her Prada fanny pack.