What does a Costume Designer do?

Learn all about Costume Designer duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Costume Designer.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A costume designer is responsible for creating the clothing and accessories worn by the characters in a play, film, television show, ballet, or opera. They work closely with the director and actors to ensure that the costumes are appropriate for the characters' personalities and the time period in which the story takes place. A costume designer may also be responsible for maintaining and repairing costumes during rehearsals and performances.

Costume Designer job duties include:

  • Sketch design ideas for costumes
  • Work with directors and producers to select final costume designs
  • Choose fabrics and trims for each costume
  • Create or alter patterns for each costume piece
  • Cut and sew fabric to create each costume piece
  • Fit and alter costumes on actors/actresses
  • Accessorize each costume with jewelry, shoes, etc.
  • Maintain inventory of all costumes and accessories
  • Care for and repair costumes as needed
  • Store costumes properly after production

Costume Designer Job Requirements

There are no formal education requirements for becoming a costume designer, although a bachelor's degree in theater arts, fashion design, or a related field can be helpful. Many costume designers have prior experience working in theater, fashion, or as freelance designers. Costume designers must be able to create designs that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional for the performers. They must also be able to work within the budget and time constraints of a production.

Costume Designer Skills

  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Organization
  • Fashion sense
  • Budgeting
  • Pattern making
  • Sewing
  • Draping
  • Millinery
  • Costume construction
  • Textile knowledge
  • Alterations

Related: Top Costume Designer Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Costume Designer

There are many ways to become a costume designer. The most common path is to study fashion design, but there are other ways to get into the field. Costume designers typically have a bachelor's degree in fashion design or a related field. They may also have experience working in the theater or in film and television.

Some costume designers start out as assistants to other designers. This can be a great way to learn the ropes and get your foot in the door. You'll need to be able to sew and have an eye for detail. You'll also need to be able to work well under pressure, as costume design can be a very deadline-driven business.

If you're interested in becoming a costume designer, the best way to start is by getting some experience. internships or working on student films can be a great way to get started. You can also volunteer with local theater groups. Once you have some experience, you can start applying for jobs with film, television, and theater productions.

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