The costumes on Game of Thrones are an extraordinary achievement in simple technical terms, with the clothes feeling worn, lived-in, and practical. Some of the character's costumes can also tell us a lot about their motives. There's so much thought that goes into the wardrobes of Westeros, but crafting each of these exquisite pieces requires some ingenuity. As it turns out, the crafty designers have a little secret for staying on-budget: IKEA. Award-winning HBO costume designers, they're just like us!
The characters who hang out up in the North, either in Winterfell or by the Wall, wear thickly padded tunics and fur capes to stay warm. At a talk sponsored by the Getty Museum in L.A., chief costume designer Michele Clapton (who has won 3 Emmys for her work on Game of Thrones), explained that some of the fur on Night's Watch capes are actually carpets from IKEA. The process for turning the carpets into something wearable involves cutting them, shaving, adding leather straps, and "breakdown, which is like a religion on Game of Thrones." It is a process that ages and dirties the costumes so they look worn and old. "We want the audience to almost smell the costumes," she says. Arya's mud-covered boyish ensemble as she traveled the Riverlands could definitely be smelled on-screen.
We highly doubt that there were any IKEA parts on Euron Greyjoy's recent style evolution from mad pirate to Rick Owens model, but maybe he's rocking a secret OFELIA somewhere. The whole talk is fascinating and worth a look if you're especially interested in the historical references in the Game of Thrones costumes. The mindfulness that goes into these costumes is incredible, and the show wouldn't be as transcendent if these details weren't laboured over so painstakingly.
Clapton discusses the IKEA rug hack below, at around 27 minutes into the video.