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Costume Designer Careers

Degrees for a Costume Designer Career

Costume Designer Careers Information

Costume designers are a specific subset of fashion designers. They are responsible for the clothing worn by actors on stage, in films, and on television. Unlike typical fashion designers who follow their muse when creating clothing, a costume designer must adhere to the demands of the performance and setting. This may mean extensive research into time periods and locations so that costumes are accurate. Costume designers are also constrained by production budgets and so must be skilled at getting the best results with the least amount of money.

Costume Designer Careers & Degrees

Costume Designer Careers Path

Most costume designers have an Associate’s degree in fashion design or a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Technical courses in sewing, patternmaking, and textiles might usefully be augmented by courses in business and history. Working on school or local acting productions is a great way for a person to gain practical experience and build a portfolio of work.

Costume Designer Compatible Personality Traits

Creative, enjoys working with hands, good planner, can follow a project through, eye for detail, able to work under pressure, willing to work odd hours, willing to continually adjust work.

Costume Designer Careers Salary Expectations

The average salary for a salaried fashion designer is $64,530 per year. Costume designers employed by film and television studios may expect similar earnings. For the many costume designers who work by project, however, pay may fluctuate greatly. Those who build a reputation for excellent work may command more money, though positions for these costume designers will be relatively few.

Costume Designer Careers Job Outlook

Because of low job turnover and relatively few positions for a job that is often seen as glamorous, competition among costume designers can be stiff. Those with a strong portfolio, a reputation for excellent work, and a diverse range of abilities will be most likely to find steady employment.

The field of costume design is projected to grow by 0% by 2020, which is significantly less than the career average.

Slightly off the Footpath

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Fashion Designers, on the Internet at (visited February 22, 2013).