This article was originally published on 9/16/22.

One day, I will stop talking about how great Kevin Smith‘s Clerks III is, but that day is not today. And one of the best parts of the film is the way it connects with the original Clerks, from the story to the iconic scenes and quotes and right down to the outfits we see. We recently had the chance to sit down and chat with Clerks III costume designer Allison Pearce. She shared what happened behind-the-scenes to create and recreate these iconic outfits and her favorite parts of the process.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Allison Pearce

Allison Pearce standing next to Trevor Fehrman dressed up for Clerks III.

Julia Roth: Hello, Allie! It’s so great to chat with you! How did you become involved with Clerks III?

Allison Pearce: I had worked with one of the producers, Amy Jarvela, on a previous film. She sent me the script, and I obviously was a fan of Kevin’s previous work. So I went to meet with him, and the rest was history.

JR: It must have been a dream as a fan to work alongside Kevin.

AP: It was. When I read the script, I felt like it was such an interesting story, and I kept thinking that it was so different than how I thought it would turn out. I think the movie and movie portions where they’re shooting Randal’s (Jeff Anderson) film are so visual, and it’s all about recreating the costumes and assets and the cinematography from the original Clerks. That is what really drew me in because I saw that as an exciting challenge to recreate something that is almost 30 years old.

And those costumes that he used in the original all belonged to his friends and family, and most of them didn’t have them anymore. It was an exciting challenge to look at the source material and figure out how to bring them back to life.

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JR: You did a fantastic job! I did a rewatch of Clerks before going to see Clerks III, and the outfits were amazing. I really loved the attention to detail and making sure things matched up. How hard was it to source some of that stuff?

AP: Well, it was a combination of pouring over stills and watching the film. The stills were from a VHS, in black and white and really grainy, but we made do. We broke down every outfit the best we could, from what kind of shoes they wore to the sweatshirts and what appeared on them. It took my team and I quite a while to get excellent screen grabs so we could figure out exactly what the designs were, and then we moved on to how to recreate them.

The research was crucial for this, and it was necessary to figure out what it was before going out to try and source it. Sometimes we could find a specific item, but other times we had to Frankenstein things together to get what we needed. Dante’s (Brian O’Halloran) sweater is an excellent example of an item we needed to recreate completely.

Dante and Randal in Clerks III.

JR: Are you saying that the so-ugly-its-beautiful sweater that Dante wears isn’t the one from Clerks?

AP: Nope! We recreated it for Clerks III. We believe that it must have been destroyed during the alternate ending filming. But we sat down with Brian to pick his brain on what he could remember about it. And he had a really good memory and was able to help us figure out that it was a late 1980s Liz Sport sweater. We found a similar vintage pattern with the same number of argyle patterns across the front and fit in an oversized manner.


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Now, color-wise, we had a bit more work to do since we needed to make sure it matched the black and white shots from the first film but also looked good in color. Sometimes going back and forth between black and white and color is really challenging, and something that looks good in one doesn’t look good in another. And in my legit opinion, I think we nailed it.

JR: If you had told me that Brian had held onto that sweater for the last 30 years and pulled it out for this filming, I would have believed you. It looks fantastic.

AP: Well, now he wants to keep it!

JR: Speaking of keeping things, did anyone take outfits from the set?

AP: No. For the most part, we hold onto the costumes after we wrap, just in case they need to reshoot or for editing purposes. Everything goes to a secret location, along with some other paraphernalia from Kevin Smith movies.

JR: When I went to the live show in Red Bank, we stopped at the Secret Stash, and we did see some items, like Elias’ (Trevor Fehrman) cane.

AP: Oh, that’s exciting! The Secret Stash loves to show off stuff. We actually had to ask them to take Jay’s (Jason Mewes) red and black Dogma jacket out of a case to use for filming.

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JR: Were there any other outfits you pulled from Kevin Smith films that weren’t Clerks or Clerks II?

AP: Of course. Kevin constantly referenced other things from the View Askewniverse and other side projects. For one of the final scenes, Jay wore a tuxedo and beanie as he did in the Degrassi episode. I watched the episode to figure out what the tuxedo should look like. Then, most of the shirts Randal wears were designed by an artist that Kevin collaborates with, like Nate Gonzalez. The t-shirts and graphics were deep cuts and Easter eggs for other films. In one scene, Randal has a t-shirt for Truth or Date from Mallrats. Fans are going to love this because of all the little details they can pick out as the film goes on.

JR: One of the little tidbits Kevin and Brian shared during the Q&A after the Red Bank show was how Trevor blew the costume budget out of the water. I love that every time we see him, his transformation is just a little more intense, and I love its connection to his journey in the movie.

Blockchain Coltrane and Elias in Clerks III.

AP: Thank you! When I’m designing a character, it’s all about their arc. When we see him in Clerks II, he is a Jesus freak. And now we see Elias following Satan and then watch as he is slowly being pulled into the goth world. Each time we see him, he has added a bit more to his outfit. Sometimes it’s black lace, then maybe some kind of body armor. We even see a leather corset. There are all of these different details that I wanted to put in there, and we see so many different looks that it was fun piecing stuff together.

Some of the outfits were inspired by other movies, like the Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Fifth Element. I kept thinking about where Elias would get his ideas from. I even had a moment where I thought he would take stuff out of his mom’s closet, check out Goodwill and even visit some local shops to flesh out his wardrobe. It was really fun working with Trevor and hearing some of his ideas on how he thought Elias would handle all of this. In the end, he has fully graduated in his style, and we see such a great reference to King Diamond.

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JR: I think it works so well because Trevor/Elias is so confident in his looks. Everything from his hair to the clothes and then makeup looks perfect.

AP: It was a really good collaboration with Angie Johnson and Fiona Mifsud. We worked together to build each outfit and ensure everything worked. When I found something I wanted to use, like a bonnet, for example, we would sit down and decide how it would fit in with the rest of his outfit, hair and makeup. Everything was done in a way that would make every outfit look completely cohesive.

JR: How long did it take him to get ready?

AP: I think he had a pre-call time a few hours earlier than everyone else so we could get him into hair and makeup before most of the cast and crew got there.

JR: Now, movies are rarely shot in chronological order, so how hard was it to keep track of his outfit adjustments?

AP: Oh yeah, we didn’t shoot Clerks III in order. It was challenging to ensure that the outfits felt like they were building on each other, so we had to be very focused and present with each look. We would look at what was on the list for that day and plan out how many outfit changes we would need. When we shot the montage of Randal and the guys shooting the film, we had tons of outfit changes since Elias has a new one in almost every scene. That was fun, and we worked hard to ensure it stayed within his character’s arc.

JR: Filming for Clerks III was done strictly in New Jersey. Were there any local stores you used to help source some items?

AP: We used this really great store called Stokedville, and then an amazing leather worker Lunafea Leathers. It was really fun to work with local artists. We worked with Brandon Bermudez for all of Elias’s armor pieces.

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JR: Now, I have to ask, did Kevin still have all of his Silent Bob stuff?

Randal, Dante, Silent Bob, Blockchain Coltraine and Elias standing behind the counter in the Quick Stop in Clerks III.

AP: Those pieces came out of storage along with Jay’s stuff. Most of it was from the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, which was still relatively new. But we did have to redo a few things for the reshoot portions, like his Felix the Cat hat, which we probably went through hoops to get approved since Disney owns the property.

JR: How hard was it to get approval for some of these items? We see a lot of fun things like the New Jersey Devils’ jersey and other sports teams.

AP: I know that some teams like the San Jose Sharks gave Kevin permission after he tweeted about wanting to have the hat in the film. Many New Jersey companies were easy to work with since New Jersey is such an integral part of Clerks III. They were excited to be featured in the film. Other companies took a bit more work and a lengthy approval process. Still, for the most part, a lot of the clothing choices were written into the script and essential to the story, so that was brought up when approaching different companies.

JR: A big part of the film’s beginning is the hockey on the roof scene, and we see these awesome jerseys for the Quick Stop from Geeky Jerseys. How did that partnership work?

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AP: Kevin wanted to work with them for this film. They already had some stuff in the works and sent over boards for me to look at. I know those jerseys were tweaked a bit to be sold in stores, but they look a lot like the ones from the movie.

JR: As soon as I saw the Quick Stop ones in the trailer, I knew I had to have it and went and bought it. Who wouldn’t? So, I’ve got to ask, what was your favorite piece to recreate?

AP: Oh, definitely Dante’s sweater. It was so detailed and important to the story and a fun challenge. I also loved Jay’s throwback look from the original Clerks. He wore his costume in so many different ways and was so much fun to work with.

JR: Allie, thank you so much for chatting with us! We can’t wait for everyone to check out Clerks III, and again, you did such a fantastic job bringing these outfits back to life!

AP: Thank you so much! It was such a great challenge, and I hope everyone enjoys it!

Thank You, KEVIN SMITH, From One New Jersey Native to Another

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