By Nsim Team
Costume designers are responsible for the overall look of the clothes and costumes for theatre, dance, opera, television and film productions. Their main responsibility is to plan and create costumes and related accessories for these productions.
Costume designers must create costumes that suit both the personalities and the roles of the characters, as well as look as though they fit into the time periods of the production for which they are being created.
Aside from researching and designing costumes, costume designers may also be responsible for leading a team of people within the costume department, depending on the size of their employer or the size of the production.
Although costume designers tend to specialize in either theatre or in film and TV, they can find work in both sectors if they are established within the field and choose to do so.
The educational requirements for becoming a costume designer vary by employer, as there is no industry-wide standard. Many costume designers however, have a degree or postgraduate qualification in a field related to costume design, fashion, theatre design or performing arts production.
Some employers do hire costume designers solely based on creative abilities, as demonstrated by a portfolio, versus formal educational requirements. However, many employers prefer to hire candidates for costume designer jobs that have demonstrable creative abilities as well as a college or university-level qualification in costume design or fashion.
Short courses in areas such as computer aided design (CAD) or pattern cutting can also be very helpful for a career as a costume designer.
In order to become effective in a career as a costume designer, and perform your job duties with competence, you need to posses a certain set of skills, including:
• Able to maintain organization and work within a budget
• A high level of design skill
• Creative vision
• Practical sewing skills
• Able to direct the work of others
• Able to work under pressure to meet deadlines
• Good research skills
• Knowledge of costume history and modern fashion
• Knowledge of the production process, including technical aspects such as lighting and sound
Employment of costume designers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Declining employment in the apparel manufacturing industry is slowing the overall employment growth of fashion designers.
If you want to become a costume designer, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a costume designer:
• You have excellent design skills
• You have creative vision
• You want a creative job in the film, television or stage production industry
• You have knowledge of costume history and modern fashion
• You have an interest in, and knowledge of the production process
• You can accept the challenges and rewards of freelance employment