What is a Costume Designer?

Costume designers have an important role in film and stage productions. They create the costumes the actors will wear in the production, which can greatly impact the success of a movie or play. If their designs are off, it can be incredibly difficult for the audience to become fully immersed in the production.

Costume designers will often work with the set designers and makeup artists to help create a cohesive look for a film or play. It goes without saying that a costume designer must have a thorough knowledge of fashion, including fabrics, patterns and more. There are many things a costume designer must consider when creating the costume for a character. The designer must stay true to the director’s vision, while considering the durability of the design and the fabric used to create it, the movements the actor must make while wearing the design and more.

The first thing a costume designer must do when beginning work on a new production is read the script to understand the piece, the characters and what they will be doing. Sometimes, a designer will create costumes from purchased pieces. Other times, especially for historical or fantastical productions, a designer will work from scratch by creating sketches and patterns, and having the costumes sewn. As in any field, budget is always an important consideration.

Costume designers can be freelancers, hired on by a theater or production company for a specific play or film; or they can be resident designers hired on to work on a number of productions for an extended period of time.