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Life of Alumni: Linea Stenfors on working for Game of Thrones and the art of creating unique costumes

Three different characters from tv series game of thrones wearing different costumes in the snow
Three different characters from tv series game of thrones wearing different costumes in the snow

Written by
Alexandra R. Cifre
Published date
21 September 2019

Originally from Sweden, Linea Stenfors moved to London to study BA (Hons) Technical Effects for Performance at LCF (now BA Costume for Performance). Since graduating in 2012, she’s been working on award-winning productions like Game of Thrones, and travelling around the world collaborating on projects for film, TV, performance and fashion. She recently took some time from her very tight schedule to tell us more about her creative journey and the experience of opening her own studio in Stockholm.

Hi Linea. You’ve been really busy since you left LCF 7 years ago! What do you think has been the key to your successful career so far?

Studying at LCF definitely helped me to kick start my career, but I believe it’s been down to a combination of talent and dedication. I view education as a tool of learning, but you need to use the tool in the best possible way to get the benefit of it. I think that’s the key to success. Nothing comes without effort!

Why did you decide to move from Sweden to London to study at LCF?

I wanted to learn something new, I knew I had so much more to give and Stockholm isn’t a great place for creative universities. I wanted something more! I found this course looking around the world to see what was on offer and I instantly fell in love with LCF and the course.

I had previous experience of working in the film industry in Sweden before, but the BA at LCF took my work to completely new dimensions! The course made me discover new materials and techniques that I had no idea they even existed. Working with creative masters in such a creative environment really pushed me to become the very best version of myself.

Work by Linea Stenfors for Game of Thrones - Photos: Helen Sloan HBO

What were your first steps into the industry after graduating?

Thanks to my Final Major Project someone referred me to the production of Game of Thrones – they called me and offered me a position on their team before I had even graduated. I moved to Belfast, and ended up staying there for over 6 years! In between the series' seasons, I would travel to London or Stockholm to make textures and costumes for other films and performances. When GoT's season 8 was over, I decided it was time to go back home to be closer to my roots.

I imagine that working in the production of Game of Thrones as Head of Couture Costume Effects was a really important step in your career. How was that experience for you?

The experience has been mind-blowing, it has changed everything for me! Moving up to Belfast was a quick decision and I didn’t realise until after a few weeks what had actually just happened. Suddenly I had a key function on the biggest television show in the world and, wow, it was enormous. Also, it never occurred to me that it would be a 6 year-long stretch of work. It just grew and grew and got more intense, and the costumes I worked on just got more and more exciting.

During the last season I worked with the most extravagant creations I had ever made and the attention to detail was superb. I can see how I have developed my creativity thanks to the world of GoT, as this show had no limits when it came to creation. I'm so thankful for this opportunity.

Can you tell us a bit more about your role and the work you did for GoT?

My role was focused on leading the Couture Effects team, creating costumes and textures that did not fit in with the art of classical tailoring. Starting off with the Wildilings, Giants and Dothrakis followed by the development of characters like Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow’s intricate outfits.

Work by Linea Stenfors for Game of Thrones - Photos: Helen Sloan HBO

From all the projects you’ve worked on, which one has been the most meaningful to you? 

The outfit that I am most proud of in my career so far is the white fur texture coat that Emilia Clarke wore as Daenerys Targaryen in GoT’s season 7, when she travelled beyond the wall on her dragon. It was such a journey coming up with the unique technique to build the texture and I am so pleased with the end result. This was also the style setting coat for the following season so I got to develop the technique even further.

Thinking of your work in film, TV and other performing arts, which type of creative environment do you prefer as a designer? 

The environment that I enjoy the most is where I get to developing fashion textures for couture collections. The attention to detail is extraordinary and there is both budget and time to discover every possible twist and turn in the material.

I also really enjoy working with fantasy productions for the big screen. In this world there are no limitations, everything is possible and I have the opportunity to utilise all my different skills combined to build the perfect design. As I have studied classical tailoring, fashion history and technical effects for performance, my skill set is perfectly tailored for a medieval fantasy production.

Work by Linea Stenfors for Evolution: The End of Man - Photos: Robert Eldrim

What do you love the most about your profession?

I can make a 2D drawing become a 3D piece of art that is working together with the character’s body to tell a story. Working with my hands and mind to make beautiful and intricate things is the best thing I know to do and what makes me feel complete as a person. And I get to live this dream every day!

Another thing I love with my profession is all of the travelling and different places that I get to see every year. It’s a real treat to work with different people every day in different cultures.

You now have your couture effects studio based in Stockholm. Why did you decide to launch your own business?

I launched the business in response to a high demand from the industry. There is a great art in the development of textures that few people have the skill set for. My studio has the in-house expertise to cater for each customer’s individual needs and come up with new and exciting techniques of development. We are the “go to” place for clients who'd like to explore different themes within textiles and textures.

I’m constantly developing the business and finding new and innovative ways to utilise modern technology in combination with traditional techniques to take designs to a completely new dimension.

Work by Linea Stenfors for Balett Lorent performing Rumplestiltskin

What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to follow your steps into the world of performance?

I would advise them to study hard, set their goals high and never doubt themselves. If you want it, you will get it - it’s just a matter of how! I always tell my trainees that if you aim for the stars at least you will reach the moon. That is my motto!

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