“We Are Lady Parts” focuses on an all-female Muslim punk band making their way to music, building an audience, and balancing their personal lives on and off stage.
Costume designer PC Williams designed each woman’s wardrobe to honor her relationship to her faith, while also using the dress as an opportunity for cultural and self-expression.
The series, streaming on Peacock, follows five women—Ameena (Anjana Vasan), the newly recruited lead guitarist; Saira (Sarah Camilla Impey), lead singer of Lady Parts; Ayesha, (Juliet Motamed) Lady Parts’ drummer; Bisma (Faith Omol), bass player, and the band’s manager Momtaz (Lucy Shorthouse).
“All these women are second generation migrants like me; I was born in the UK, but my roots are from Nigeria and Ghana. When I was thinking about these four women, for me, it was really trying to understand who they are culturally and marrying with the atmosphere of London,” Williams says.
Four of the five band members wear some form of traditional Muslim head covering. Williams brought several Muslim women to her design team and spent hours researching it to accurately depict style and religion as well as the way it worked.
“A head covering is a head covering, now how you do it is completely up to you and I wanted to show that there is no one way to do it. You can have diversity in a group of Muslim sisters,” Williams it is said.
Williams breaks down each rocker’s signature style.
Amina decided to find her life partner and get her Ph.D. in microbiology. But, when she joins the band, her plans change. Over time she finds a new comfort level in her identity. Amina is often seen in pastel colored hijabs and minimal makeup.
“Ameena was one of those characters where when you start the project you have a clear idea of what you want to do. And then, as you get into the project, the idea keeps going swirling and twisting. And I feel like this want, and need, to break out of this mold and lean into this new place she was living in that she loved—that was my biggest challenge, I How do I make a cute outfit for a girl who loves A-line skirts and button-up blouses. And now in a punk band.
“There’s a scene where Lady Parts is performing a Dolly Parton song and Amina still got her A-line, high-waisted skirt, but she’s got this shirt that has horse print on it. And this is the first time we actually see her in dark colors, and it’s her version of the swag that it’s meant to be punk, but it’s still really cute. This is what we usually see of her, which is pastel And a heavily embroidered two-piece can fall out of place.”
Bisma is very proud of her heritage and often wears a West African turban and political T-shirt. She is also the quietest member of the band. When she is not in the band, Bisma spends time at her street stall selling her art.
“Bisma is Nigerian-British, she is my sisters and I, and my cousins, and the children of mother’s friends – it takes pride in African prints, but incorporating it in a way where it feels modern and has a Western vibe, But you’re still holding onto what’s true for your cultural identity.
“Her art plays a big role in who she is. The interior design of her apartment is a lot of upcycled, reclaimed furnishings and pieces. I wanted to bring her through her wardrobe—about 90% of it is the thrift shop that has autumn K colors, macrame, and anything else that feels Afro-centric.
“We used a lot of Omolola jewelry from a young Nigerian jeweler, and a lot of her jewelry is using symbols from specific tribes around Africa or in Nigeria that have some meaning to Nigerian culture.
“Bisma’s vibe is super vintage. Everything needs to feel like he had three lives before it came to him, but when it kills him, it makes sense. ,
Ayesha is the drummer of the band. He is also an Uber driver and has road rage. For her outfits, she’ll sport a stunning Middle Eastern abaya and a drapey headscarf with dramatic eyeliner.
“Aisha’s vibe is what Juliette is in real life. So instead of designing the outfit by me, I took a curatorial approach to her design. I curated her wardrobe, and collaborated with her. I’d say, ‘Here, what do you think? What kind of form will you make?’ So, we had an afternoon of trying everything.
“It’s true to me who she was because she would bring a lot of herself to the character. I think sometimes when you’re doing a character that’s so stylized it can feel a little forced I didn’t want that to happen, so what she wears was a big part of designing her — dark colors, anime prints, heavy metal detailing, and slogan T-shirts from tribal brands.”
Mumtaz is the core of the band. As the group’s manager, his goal is to turn them into a huge success.
“I wanted to make sure that a woman who wears a niqab can pick up and wear one of the niqabs we designed and feel that it is fit for purpose. I didn’t want it to be like this weird fashion. Everything just has to feel natural. Didn’t feel like the show was stylized. I’m not going to try to replace mask with mask; What I want to do is, while keeping it modest and being friendly to the purpose of being covered, allow our actress Lucy to feel like she’s also bringing something good to the show. She has to spend these eight weeks covering and I can imagine that’s quite a big deal, especially when the girls are coming out to watch. I think Ayesha had 37 looks in the entire show whereas we designed four niqabs for Mumtaz.
“But it was really important to me that Lucy felt that her costumes had taken some design, care, and thought, but that they still fit the purpose.”