Geek Girl: Is Yuji Lee Based on a Real Fashion Designer?

The world of fashion transforms the life of a teenager named Harriet Manners when she is discovered by a talent agency and pulled into the world of modeling. With each episode, Netflix’s ‘Geek Girl’ reveals a new facet of the industry and the challenges that the protagonist faces along the way. Harriet soon realizes that she needs to be uniquely herself to impress the right people, the most important of whom is the fashion designer Yuji Lee. She is one of the most prominent figures in the story and is often the force that decides Harriet’s career path by enlisting her to be the face of her campaigns. Actress Sandra Yi Sencindiver plays the character with a fiery attitude, but how much of Lee’s character and storyline is real?

The Creators of Geek Girl Went for Real Fashion Designers as Reference for Yuji Lee

‘Geek Girl’ is based on the book series of the same name by Holly Smale. While the book is loosely based on her own experiences as a teenager, most of it is entirely fictional, including the fashion designer Yuji Lee. While bringing the character on the screen, the creators of the show knew that they needed to make her seem like a real designer, which meant that she would have a unique palette for the dresses that featured in her campaigns, and it needed to look consistent, which would give a distinct look to Lee’s work.

Zoë Rocha, who serves as a producer on the show, was heavily involved in deciding the show’s fashion statement. Her point was to make everything about the industry appear as close to reality as possible. For this, the show employed several real-life locations for the fashion shows, and when it came to the costumes, especially the dresses created by Yuji Lee, they referred to real dresses by real fashion designers.

Veteran stylist Karl Plewka was brought on board to make sure that the show was on the right path when it came to fashion representation and that they didn’t have to look far to get the costumes. Zoë Rocha’s father, John Rocha, is an accomplished fashion designer, and it is in the archives of his collection that ‘Geek Girl’ found its source. Reportedly, about forty pieces from the fashion designer’s archive were featured on the show. They became instrumental in deciding the look for Yuji Lee’s collection, as she is the most prominent fashion designer in the story, and the show barely steps out into some other designer’s territory. But that still leaves a lot of space for variety.

Apart from the John Rocha archives, Zoë Rocha and Karl Plewka knew that they needed fresh and original dresses that spoke to the story and the characters. Rocha revealed they went to the Central Saint Martins BA graduate show to find the three designers whose creations feature in the series. Apart from this, pieces from Rocha’s sister Simone’s collection, which the producer describes as a mix of “femininity with strength,” also appear in the show. But fashion is more than just clothes.

Rocha wanted everything to be as authentic as possible, and much like the dresses, she decided to get real brands in the show for every other thing. The show features Stephen Jones hats and Charlotte Tilbury’s make-up in several scenes. Even several of the models that appear on the runway are real-life models, which works rather well with Harriet highlighted as the inexperienced girl in the midst of the veterans. It is the combination of all these things that elevates the look of the series and gives it more credibility, giving more weight to Harriet’s story and her experience.

Read More: Netflix’s Geek Girl: Is the Show Based on a Book?