‘Insecure’ Costume Designer Shiona Turini Partners with Capital One to Make it Easier for Black Travelers to See the World
Credit: Shiona Turini

For many of us, we’ve used travel as self-care as soon as we were able again. 

A 2020 study from MMGY Global found that Black Americans spent an estimated $109.4 billion on leisure travel representing roughly 13.1 percent of the U.S. leisure travel market. This comes as no surprise after the past few years we’ve had. 

Shiona Turini can relate. 

The busy freelance costume designer who’s the visionary behind Insecure’s most fierce looks has not only been traveling the world for work but as a way to rejuvenate as well. 

The Bermuda-born, LA-based fashionista has worked with artists like Beyoncé and Solange, and wardrobed the stars of Queen & Slim among many others. Nothing, however, gets her going like traveling to a new destination. She recently sat down with Essence to talk about her go-to tips to get the most out of travel, the best vacation spots to recharge, and how her new partnership with Capital One is helping Black travelers see the world. 

Millennials have been using travel as a form of self-care, especially as we’ve gotten older and earned a bit more discretionary income. What is your relationship with travel like nowadays? 

That’s a really incredible question. 

Well, I am not permanently based in LA and have to travel so much for work. But mostly I travel to go home to see my family in Bermuda since the borders have recently reopened. To spend nine months without being able to get on a plane and see my family really made me think a lot about my future and how I want to structure my life. Travel has been such a space of rejuvenation. Every time I finish a big project, I book a trip. And during the pandemic, I was just starting Insecure, so before I got really into the grueling process of shooting, I planned a trip. I needed to set myself up for success mentally and travel was the way to do that. 

You spoke a little bit about how your travels shape your work,  particularly for Insecure. I’ve noticed that all of the characters’ evolution has really shown up in the way they dress. Were there any particular travel destinations that you drew inspiration from to help create the look as well? 

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That’s funny. Actually, the beach party episode featured so much of what I saw growing up in Bermuda. Someone on the set asked, “why does one of the characters have sneakers on in the sand?” Well, in Bermuda, we do so much swimming off the rocks that most of the men are still on the beach in sneakers. I wanted to pull through an element of my hometown in that episode. 

I also love to draw fashion inspiration from different age groups while I’m traveling– to see an older woman in Italy is a fabulous thing because they’re still getting dressed to see films or go to the markets. Or when in New Orleans, to see people on Sunday dressed for church, it’s incredible. I love it. 

As a native of Bermuda, did you grow up traveling? I know I would never want to leave if I was born there. 

Well, although it’s beautiful you would want to leave because you’d start to feel a little stuck. I didn’t travel a lot internationally, but I feel like my parents were really good at kind of saving money for great family trips. I learned so much about travel through my mom. My mom didn’t have a ton of money so she was really skilled at spotting a bargain. We were always the family that if the plane was like, can someone give up a seat and you’ll get a travel voucher, she’d raise her hand.  We were great at making adventures even out of short trips. New York, for instance, was just a two-hour flight from Bermuda. Or we’d go to Florida which wasn’t very far at all from our home but we made some of the best memories. 

Why did you decide to partner with Capital One for their Venture X card? 

When I went freelance and started to consider brand partnerships, I was very intentional about who I aligned with. I wanted to know that I could grow with the company over time and didn’t want it to be a ‘one and done’ situation. Partnering with Capital One made sense because they care about their customers’ travel experience and as someone who’s always on the go, I just love how they look out for us. 

I also loved that with the Venture X Card you earn five times the miles on flights and hotels. That’s incredible and unlike anything else, I’ve experienced with other card companies. 

Why is travel so important to you, and why do you think it critical for others to see the world as well? 

I think that, when you expose yourself to other cultures, communities, and experiences, you grow so much as a person, and it helps you become a better version of yourself. To immerse yourself in these experiences and step outside of your comfort zone is so valuable. I think about who I was and how my life changed when I started to travel in a different way. I want everyone to go on that journey.