QD & ME – JULIE HARFF – COSTUME DESIGNER
Quantic Dream: Please introduce yourself! What’s your name, where are you from, and what is your role at QD?
My name is Julie Harff, I come from the Paris region, France. I am a mother of three little monsters, and at Quantic Dream I work as a Costume Designer for the characters in our games. I’m part of the Character Design team.
QD: How did you come to work in the video games industry? Was it a lifelong dream, or did you luckily stumble into it?
I worked in the fashion industry as a licence coordinator designer for about ten years, it was very enriching to work with different people and markets all over the world, but itI was also very time consuming. I had other desires, a need to return to pure creation, with more meaning and less “politics”. One of my best friends was working as a Concept Art Designer at Quantic Dream. He suggested my profile and that was it! I can’t hide the fact that, being a novice in the gaming industry, I didn’t really believe I could fit, but that’s also the strength of this studio: to look for passionate people with different skills and backgrounds, who make the greatness of the teams. So, I joined for Detroit: Become Human, which was the start of this wonderful adventure!
QD: Let’s talk about your job at Quantic Dream! Could you elaborate more on your role, and the role of your team?
Our job is to design the characters of our game. After a thorough reading of the script, we try to translate the essence of each character visually: outfits, make-up, accessories, every element must be justified. We favour the emotional aspect by making the characters unique, realistic and consistent with their environment and personality. Costume designer is in fact the psychotherapist and personal shopper of each character 😊
QD: Tell us more about the members of your team.
In the creative department, there are about fifteen of us: art directors, concept artists, coordinators. Working remotely half of the week has changed the organisation a bit, but it’s a talented group with a lot of different experiences and we are all proud to contribute to the fabulous Star Wars EclipseTM project. It’s a huge creative challenge for all of us!
QD: Can you describe to us a typical day for you? Does a typical day even exist for you?
Nothing starts without one, two or even three coffees! Besides that, there is no real routine. With the other coordinators, we are Swiss Army knives. Depending on the day, I can work out trends, prepare briefs, presentation documents, outsourcing packages, do iconographic monitoring or recreate products on Photoshop, analyse scripts, summarise schedules or processes on Excel… Every day is special in its own fashion and I love it! The only constant is to aim for excellence and to ensure overall consistency – lore, scripts, sets, characters – with the other coordinators.
QD: What are your external inspirations that are reflected in your job?
First, I’m inspired by my own life experience. It’s essential to immerse oneself in the psychology of the characters portrayed in the script. I also draw on my passion for cinema, for fashion designers such as Haider Ackermann, architects like Zaha Hadid, film music that I listen to over and over again while working (especially Hans Zimmer) and photographers who observe the world through their unique prism, like Steve McCurry or Jimmy Nelson. Inspiration is everywhere, if you take the time to look.
QD: Be careful, BIG question… What are your favourite games?
I could spend hours stacking blocks on Tetris! It calms me down, whereas other games make me get hysterical very quickly and I still haven’t understood at 40 that I don’t need to move the controller around when I play; I know, it’s sad! (ed. note: not at all, Julie! Everyone does that ^^) I’m more of a board game person, actually.
QD: Tell us more about your hobbies outside of work.
Looking for vintage stuff in flea markets or online: old objects, furniture, vinyl records… I’m in my art deco period now, I must stop, I have no more room! I also like to listen to my vinyl records on my couch, to watch movies, to go to a nice restaurant with friends… But all this is 10% of my free time; the rest is obviously for my children.
QD: All right! What does your perfect Friday night look like?
It’s hard to get old! I would say a small glass of wine with my husband, watching a series. Simple, yet I love it!
QD: Do you have a message for our readers?
Don’t be afraid to follow your passions! It doesn’t necessarily fit into the established boxes but if there is passion, talent and humility, the adventure will be unexpected and fulfilling. Nothing comes naturally and you learn every day, whatever your experience. But don’t forget what is essential: your loved ones, love, laughter, real life.
QD: Final question! Chocolate cake or Fruit pie?
I’m not much of a dessert person. Am I allowed to say ribs?