See Allan Hawco get Caught in a '70s wardrobe groove

Allan Hawco is a child of the 1970s, and the St. John's actor delves deep into retro fashions for the new CBC series Caught.

CBC series is set in the 1970s, and costumes help create the vintage vibe

A vintage leather jacket from the 1970s became a key part of Allan Hawco's look in Caught. (Darryl Murphy/CBC)

Allan Hawco was born in 1977, the year Saturday Night Fever was released, but he feels like the disco decade still rubbed off on him.

"I feel like my entire experience growing up as a kid was so influenced by the '70s," Hawco said. "Growing up in the Goulds [neighbourhood in St. John's], it just felt like the '70s were a hangover that didn't go away."

Hawco is reliving the era through his character, David Slaney, in the new CBC series Caught, which premieres Monday night. 

At the headquarters of Take the Shot Productions — the company Hawco co-owns that has produced Caught, Frontier and Republic of Doyle — Hawco shows off the vast wardrobe department, and some of the period costume pieces that help create the world of the show.

Assistant costume designer Alison Hicks helped Allan Hawco find the right look. (Darryl Murphy/CBC)

"On Slaney, he's got cowboy boots," Hawco said. "I knew he had to have cowboy boots because it felt like every guy who was 15 years older than me growing up always had cowboy boots."

Hawco says little details like that can make a big impression on the audience.

"The costume is the first experience an audience has," he said. "They form their impression of who the person is by what they're wearing."

To dig deeper into Hawco's Caught costumes, watch the video below.


Clothes make the fictional man

Hawco plays Slaney, a drug dealer who escapes from Dorchester prison in New Brunswick, in search of redemption, and revenge.

In the world of costume design, a "hero piece" is an item of clothing that forms a character's signature look. For David Slaney, that hero piece is a leather jacket.

Caught, starring Hawco and based on St. John's writer Lisa Moore's novel, is set against the backdrop of 1970s Canada. (CBC)

Assistant costume designer Alison Hicks said the jacket is authentic 1970s clothing, sourced from a thrift shop in Toronto's Kensington Market. Even after finding the jacket, Hicks said, the costume department constructed three replica jackets, for scenes in which Hawco had to perform stunts and the costume could have been damaged.

"They make them look worn and tattered, lived in," said Hicks.

When building the replicas of Hawco's jacket, "every inch of this was broken down, so it looked identical. It was worn for years and years, and we wanted every piece to look like that. Like the character lived in it, like it came from their closet, not off the rack."

It takes a team

Hawco credits Take the Shot's craftspeople with bringing the stylized world of Caught to life.

Hawco shows off some of the costumes used in Caught, at the offices of his company Take the Shot Productions. (Darryl Murphy/CBC)

"All the work that everybody does behind the scenes, this entire costume department, the people in our sets and all that stuff, that's what builds that fabric," he said. 

"What you see at the end of the day, it takes so much work from all of these expert people. So many of them from here in the province, who've been working with us from the start of Doyle … are now keys of departments," he said. 

"Just dedicated to their art and their work — it gives me shivers to think about how well they do."

The first episode of Caught airs Monday night at 9 p.m. in most of Canada, 9:30 p.m. NT on CBC Television.

About the Author

Zach Goudie

Zach Goudie is a reporter with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's.