Job descriptions and industry overviews

Costume designer

24 Feb 2023, 12:05

A costume designer is responsible for the design, creation and purchase of costumes worn in screen and stage productions.

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Costumer designers head wardrobe/costume departments in film, television or theatre productions. The main responsibilities of costumer designers are designing garments and accessories for actors/actresses, overseeing the making, hiring and buying of items and adapting outfits. They collaborate with art and fashion experts when garments need to reflect specific periods in history. Some costume designers in theatre are also responsible for set design.

Work activities

  • Designing accurate, original garments for television, film and stage.
  • Managing other members of wardrobe staff.
  • Oversee hiring and purchasing of items.
  • Collaborating with fashion experts and technicians.
  • Designing theatre sets.

Work conditions

Travel: usually limited, although could feature when work is on location for television and film productions.
Working hours: will vary depending on the type of production and likely to involve evenings and weekends.
Location: usually in cities. Contracts with television and film could lead to locations across the world.

Entry requirements

A degree in costume design is usually necessary. Other relevant degree disciplines are art and design. Institutions such as the National College of Art and Design, Dublin , and the Grafton Academy of Dress Designing, Dublin offer specialised courses in costume design. The Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art , Design and Technology offers a degree in Costume Design - the only degree in the country which is a BA (Honours) in Design for Stage and Screen. IADT graduates are currently working in a range of jobs including massively popular screen and stage shows such as : Vikings, Game of Thrones, Riverdance, Penny Dreadful, productions at the Abbey and the Gate theatres, independent and fringe theatre, as well as on films made in Ireland, both North and South. The industry is highly competitive therefore acquiring experience in a backstage/film set environment is essential.

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