Costume design is the part of television production where the characters' clothing pieces are designed and assembled. The costume designers for Stranger Things were Kimberly Adams and Malgosia Turzanska for season one and Kim Wilcox for season 2.


Season 1

The costume designers for the first season were Kimberly Adams for the first four episodes and Malgosia Turzanska for the remaining four. Adams has been a costume designer on Lizzie McGuire, associate costume designer on the Narnia film trilogy and assistant costume designer on The Ring and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Turzanska has been a costume designer on Hell or High Water, Ain't Them Bodies Saints and Maggie’s Plan. She got the job through her friend Sarah Hindsgaul, the hair stylist on the series.[1]

It was important to the Duffer Brothers that the characters and setting feel real, so Adams tried to be true to each character. She looked to films, catalogs, magazines, family photo albums and year books for inspiration, to tap into how the characters really lived in 1983. She focused her research on Middle America, where she found that there was a lot of leftover fashion from the 70s due to the recession, among other things.[2] Turzanska looked for inspiration in street photography, candid family images, mail order catalogues like Sears, magazines (Seventeen magazines specifically) and actual period clothing.[1]

Adams put together mood boards with images from her research to distinguish each character’s look, including the background characters and extras, who were dressed with the same care as the main characters. Adams said: "They are all part of the sets that create the world being filmed."[3] Oksana Nedavniaya illustrated some of the costumes for Adams.[4]

A stock of period clothing was built to cover the categories of characters they had to dress, including middle school, high school, town folk, agents, government workers and scientists. For the kids’ closets, they had multiples of the same costumes to be used for photo doubles and stunts, but also to take into account the rapid growth of the kids over the five months of shooting.[3]

Adams encouraged input from the actors and the characters’ closets evolved and became more unique as they merged with the actors. Pieces of clothing were aged according to how long the designer felt the character had owned it. For example, Will’s clothing was more aged and hand me down than Mike, who got new clothes for the school year, to reflect the characters’ difference in social status.[3]

Mood Boards

Mood boards created for the characters and groups by Kimberly Adams, with some of the image sources identified.


Award Category Nominee Result
2017 Costume Designers Guild Award Outstanding Period Television Series Stranger Things, Series – Kimberly Adams, Malgosia Turzanska Nominated


  1. 1.0 1.1 "A Season of Stranger Style" Because. February 13, 2017.
  2. "Kimberly Adams #StrangerThings interviewed at 19th Costume Designers Guild Awards" Red Carpet Report on Mingle Media TV on YouTube. February 22, 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Stranger Things - Costume Designing 1980s Nostalgia" Tyranny of Style.
  4. Instagram post by oksana_nedavniaya. July 28, 2016.

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