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Creative flair needed for costume design; in association with


What does a career as a costume designer involve?

As a costume designer, you would be responsible for the overall look of the clothes and costumes in theatre, film or television productions.

As well as researching and designing costumes, you would often lead a team of people in the costume department.

On a large production, you would create the ideas but delegate the practical work to others.

You would: study the script, discuss ideas with the production designer, director, and make-up, set and lighting designers, create costume ideas and suitable costume styles.

On smaller productions, you might also: manage the wardrobe budget; buy or hire outfits; fitting, altering and adapting costumes; cleaning, ironing and mending.

What personal skills do you need?

You would need creativity, imagination and have excellent design skills. Good communication and 'people skills' is also essential, as well as a good eye for detail, leadership ability and organisational skills.

You will also need the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines, have good research skills, as well as a knowledge of costume history and modern fashion.

What training do you need?

Many costume designers have a BTEC HND, degree or postgraduate qualification in costume design, fashion, theatre design or performing arts (production).

Alternatively, you could start as a wardrobe assistant or costume maker and work your way up to designer as you build experience and contacts in the industry.

Whatever your qualifications, you should find practical work experience and build a good portfolio or 'showreel' DVD of your design work.

You may be able to start through an apprenticeship-style new entrant training scheme, such as the BBC's Design Training Scheme, or programmes run by Film and Television Freelance Training (FT2).

Competition for places on this type of scheme is very strong, and selection processes are tough. Contact Skillset Careers to find out about any new entrant training schemes.

What are the opportunities for career progression?

You may find it useful to join organisations like the Society of British Theatre Designers and the Costume Society, for professional recognition, networking and training opportunities.

You could also take short courses in skills such as computer aided design (CAD) or pattern cutting.

What is the salary?

(Guideline only) Earnings in theatre start around pounds 18,000 to pounds 28,000. Established designers may earn much more and freelance rates can vary widely.

More information

Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU)

Get Into Theatre

Creative Choices Details provided for information only. Jobs not necessarily available.


You would design and create costumes for productions
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 18, 2008
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