Costume Designer

Job Description:

Costume designers are responsible for designing, making, and hiring costumes for everyone on a stage or screen production.

Job Category:
Tourism, Hospitality & Entertainment

What you will do:

You’ll be in charge of designing, making and hiring costumes for everyone on a stage or screen production.

You’ll also manage other staff like costume makers, wardrobe supervisors and wardrobe assistants.

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • studying the script
  • discussing ideas with the production designer, director, and make-up, set and lighting designers
  • creating costume ideas to fit the production’s design concept and budget
  • researching suitable costume styles, fabrics and designs
  • sketching costume designs
  • giving instructions to costume makers

On smaller productions, you might also carry out some of the practical tasks, like:

  • managing the wardrobe budget
  • buying or hiring outfits
  • fitting, altering and adapting costumes
  • cleaning, ironing and mending
  • making sure wardrobe items are available at the right time
  • keeping the look of the costumes the same between shoots or scenes


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creativity)
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You’ll usually need:

  • paid or unpaid work experience in the theatre, film or costume industry
  • a high level of design skill, creative vision and practical sewing skills
  • a good portfolio or ‘showreel’ of your design work
  • an HND, a degree or a postgraduate qualification in costume design, fashion, theatre design or performing arts (production)

You will also need an art portfolio for most courses.

You could:

  • start as a costume assistant or wardrobe trainee
  • get practical garment production skills like pattern cutting,
  • hand and machine sewing and dressmaking qualifications
  • work for a costumier who provides costumes for stage and screen

Working Hours and Environment:

Your hours could be long and may involve evening and weekend work to meet deadlines.

You could work in a studio, theatre, from an office or from home.

You’ll also attend meetings with theatres or film and TV production companies.

Career Path & Progression:

You’ll specialise in either theatre or in film and TV, but you could work in both areas once you’re established.