Shifting Silhouettes

Steph Hagens Designs to Delight
 By Rachel Werner

Steph Hagens’ design style isn’t easily typecast, and she likes it that way. Hagens moved to Madison after an impressive run in the film and television industry at Screen Gem Studios in North Carolina drafting wardrobe sketches and staging artwork on sets. She now works as a product designer at American Girl helping shape the vision of the Beforever historical doll line.

“Early on in my career, people told me that to be successful, you needed to have a look that was identifiable as your work. I don’t—and it’s a benefit. By having so many styles and working in so many mediums, I easily develop pieces for different characters like creating paintings for Viola Davis in ‘Nights in Rodanthe’ or the school artwork of a 5 year old on ‘One Tree Hill,’” she explains.

Hagens got interested in fashion as a child, when she loved to play dress up and she realized “how simply putting on a different outfit could transform whom you are.” She then progressed to sneaking fabric samples from her father’s textile stash—leftovers from his days studying textile design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York—to make outfits for herself and her dolls. She also began to make images with oils, acrylics and via collage. Eventually she studied figure drawing at the University of North Carolina.

Hagens’ artistic wheelhouse includes commissioned portraits, children’s book illustrations and digital renderings. She says, “Most of my work is purely aesthetic, light and whimsical. Sometimes people need a break from politics, controversy and personal struggles to find deeper meanings in life.”

Learn Hagens’ trade tricks during her Texture and Fashion Drawing workshop at One- One Thousand. Nov.5.  

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