By Kimberly Duncan, creative services and marketing manager for the Short North Alliance
This year, HighBall Halloween welcomes back eight-time Costume Couture designer Que Jones, and design partner Steve Puhl, for the event’s 15th anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 22. We sat down with Que to learn more about his inspiration and process behind his couture designs, and how he feels about the Columbus art scene.
Kimberly: Where do you find inspiration for your costume designs?
Que: I find inspiration from the world around me. I think about what happened that year. How do I feel? This year’s designs were inspired by the time I spent during the pandemic shutdown and the gardening habit that I developed. Life around me started to move better; I started noticing things I haven’t noticed before and it changed my perspective of the world around me.
Kimberly: What is your process like when you’re creating your costume couture looks?
Que: I start with a rough sketch and idea, but I need to touch the fabric. I’ve found that my initial sketch never looks like the final design and that’s because I have to let the material guide me through the process.
Kimberly: What’s your favorite Costume Couture design you’ve created?
Que: It’s hard to top your first time at HighBall Halloween. I have a deep love for my first collection, which was Pokémon and very nostalgic. Though my favorite design was from last year’s event, the Sydney Opera House. It was such a moment when it all came together, plus I had the honor of modeling the design myself, which was such a new experience for me.
Kimberly: What is it like to work with other creatives in Columbus, like Steve Puhl?
Que: I would say I’m an internal procrastinator. Things can get out of control quickly and I usually follow my impulses. With Steve, we work so well together because Steve’s not only a master carpenter builder, but he’s also the voice of reason. He’ll hear my ideas and respond, “Yes, but we have to make it work.” He keeps me grounded and I get to lift him off the ground a bit.
Kimberly: What is the best thing about the Columbus arts scene?
Que: It’s so young, diverse and vibrant, plus it’s still finding its voice, which means there are more opportunities for everyone! I like the freshness and youthfulness, plus the flexibility creatives have these days.
Kimberly: What are you excited about this year at HighBall Halloween?
Que: I always love the energy that comes from the crowd, but this year I’m thrilled that HighBall Halloween is back on the street! It feels like it’s getting back to its roots, like how it was before the pandemic. Grab your costumes everyone!
Don’t miss your chance to see what designs Que brings to the HighBall Halloween stage during an extraordinary night of show-stopping fashions, performances, public costume contests for kids, pets and more on Saturday, Oct. 22. Visit highballcolumbus.org for tickets and event details.