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How Do I Become a Costume Designer?

A costume designer may have studied fashion in college.
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  • Written By: D. Nelson
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2014
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In order to become a costume designer, it probably is a good idea to begin practicing your creative skills early on. Many aspiring costume designers help out with high school and community theater productions. Even if you show an aptitude for costume design early on, however, it still is essential in most cases to get a college degree in a field such as fashion, theater, or film production. While you are studying to become a costume designer, it also can be helpful if you continue to participate in theatrical, film, or television productions. Costume design is a competitive field, and the more experience you have, the easier it can be for you to find employment.

A costume designer is a creative professional who conceptualizes, styles, and in some instances even creates costumes that are worn in performances. Professionals in this field may find in work in industries such as theater, television, film, and advertising. While this profession might seem to have much in common with a field such as fashion design, a costume designer often must be able to design clothing that helps actors, directors, and writers to tell a story.

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The kind of person who might become a costume designer normally has an aptitude for creativity and style. An individual might learn that he or she has these interests and skills early on by volunteering for local theatrical productions. Not only can this early experience be a great introduction to the profession, but it also can be valuable experience to use to get into a good college or school for the arts.

While it is not required to have a college degree to become a costume designer, most professionals in this field do have some formal academic training. Some may attend traditional colleges, while others may enroll in schools that focus primarily on the arts. This kind of education can provide you with a knowledge of terminology and practices used in the costume design profession. It also can be a great way to meet professionals who might help you to find your first job and write you letters of reference.

Many costume designers believe that this is a highly competitive field. Not everyone who earns a degree or certification in a field related to costume design is able to have a career solely in this field. For this reason, it can be helpful to get as much experience as possible. Producers often are much more likely to hire costume designers who have years of experience and who have already proven that they are proficient in their craft.

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