checkout complete detailed article on Grown-ish: See The Best Fashion Moments Across Seasons 1-4
Emmy-nominated costume designer Michelle Cole, who designed every look for ABC’s “Black-ish” and Freeform’s “Grown-ish,” wants to make one thing clear: Yara Shahidi and Zoey Johnson are two very different people. Shahidi, who has played Johnson’s charming eldest daughter on “Black-ish” since 2014, reprises her role as Zoey, now a college student at Cal U, in the spin-off series. “Grown-ish” finds Johnson coming of age with a budding career as a hairstylist.
“It’s always a question of who does [Zoey Johnson] do you want to be that day? It doesn’t match, but it’s so cute.”
In real life, Shahidi is an actor, activist, and red carpet fashion figure. Designed by Jason Boldenshe’s known for her sophisticated yet wearable looks, from the trench coat she wore to Dior’s fall 2022 show to the electric green midi dress she wore to the 2021 Emmys.
Zoey’s “Grown-ish” wardrobe differs in one important way: it’s eccentric. “Zoey has been the center of the show for the last four seasons, which allows me to have a lot of variety with her character,” Cole tells POPSUGAR. “When I’m designing for Zoey, she doesn’t have a set look; she loves to play with clothes, as her character is working to be in the fashion world. I can do the quirky checks and prints. It’s always a matter of who does she want to be that day? It doesn’t match, but it’s so cute.”
Cole has been working with Shahidi since the latter was 13 years old and they have developed a relationship that enhances the collaborative process. “She’s always had opinions, but now that she’s become this powerful, professional young woman, she has even more opinions, so she never wears anything she doesn’t like,” Cole says of her working relationship with Shahidi. “But there’s no ‘Oh, I have to wear this’ attitude. Decisions are more driven by what the character would wear and her specific style.”
Image source: Paul HebertAbove: “Grown-ish” costume designer Michelle Cole poses in some of Zoey Johnson’s favorite outfits.
Cole also collaborates with other creatives on set, praising the beauty artists in particular for helping bring each outfit to life. “In terms of what makes certain looks more memorable, I have to support the hair and makeup teams on the show,” she says. “They’re so thoughtful and intentional with every look. It’s more than just the outfit – it really brings everything together. It’s the whole package that makes the looks so special.”
Together, they work on over 100 outfits for the show, with Johnson alone wearing seven to 10 per episode and roughly 18 episodes in a season. Cole also dresses up the entire group of college friends, including Nomi Segal (Emily Arlook), Ana Torres (Francia Raisa), Luca Hall (Luka Sabbat), Sky and Jazz Forester (Halle and Chloe Bailey), Vivek Shah (Jordan Buhat), Doug Frederick (Diggy Simmons), and Aaron Jackson (Trevor Jackson), all of whom have their own rotation of exclusive brands.
While it’s arduous, Cole finds the job rewarding, and is already looking forward to Season 5, which will focus on life after graduation. She is even open to checking direct messages of emerging designers who would like to appear in the coming season.
Below, get a rundown of each “Grown-ish” character’s style, then check out the best fashion moments from the Emmy-nominated series so far, according to Cole.