Above photo credit: Lacey Terrell, behind the scenes of Hillbilly Elegy, summer 2019.
Virginia B. Johnson is a Filipina-American costume designer living in Greater Boston. For almost two decades Virginia has designed an array of stylish costumes for television, documentaries, and feature films. She adeptly learned the ropes of the costume department by serving as a costume supervisor on such acclaimed productions as The Social Network, Spotlight, Black Mass, and Joy.
Her earliest opportunities as a motion picture costume designer were found in the arena of non-fiction storytelling, wherein she created period costumes for the examinations of various historical figures in the PBS productions, The War That Made America (five part mini-series), Nova, and American Experience (various mini-series).
It was through her steadfast work on these and a number of independent films which were shot in and around Boston, Massachusetts that Johnson came to the attention of director Peter Berg when he was searching for a costume designer for his retelling of the events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Patriots Day, starring Mark Wahlberg. This opportunity led to a collaboration with Berg and Wahlberg that would be revisited with Mile 22 (STX Entertainment) and Spenser Confidential (Netflix).
Having earned her MFA in Costume Design & Fashion History from West Virginia University in the heart of Appalachia, Johnson was elated when chosen by director Ron Howard to design the costumes for his film adaptation of J. D. Vance’s autobiographical, best-selling memoir, Hillbilly Elegy.
When the novel coronavirus pandemic incapacitated the motion picture industry in March 2020, Johnson put her skills to good use by making thousands of masks for healthcare workers, hospitals, and other organizations in the Boston area and nationwide.
She recently wrapped up production on Salem's Lot, written and directed by Gary Dauberman. Produced by New Line Cinema, it is based on Stephen King's 1975 novel of the same name. Set in a small town in Maine in 1975, up and coming author Ben Mears discovers that an ancient evil has also come to town and its turning the residents into vampires.
When not designing costumes, Virginia explores the intersection of feminism and craft. Virginia opened a fabric and fibers studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2011 where people can learn to sew, knit, crochet, embroider, and quilt. You can read about Virginia's relationship to craft in Jen Hewett's 2021 book, This Long Thread: Women of Color on Craft, Community and Connection.
Virginia is represented by Sandra Marsh and Associates.
An Unexpected History: The Story of Hennessy and African Americans