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Costume Designer. A Career in Fashion By Ines Reyes. Costume Designers Top Left: Bill Tomas Top Right: Edith Head Center: Renie Conley Bottom Left: Paco Delgado Bottom Right: Janty Yates.

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costume designer
Costume Designer

A Career in Fashion

By Ines Reyes


Costume Designers

Top Left: Bill Tomas

Top Right: Edith Head

Center: Renie Conley

Bottom Left: Paco Delgado

Bottom Right: Janty Yates


Designs costumes according to production concept and story era determined through consultation with Director; determines if modification can be made to existing costumes or if costume construction is required.

  • Trains and supervises student workers in the design, construction, repair, alteration, maintenance and storage of theatrical costumes.
  • Supervises production running crews for costume changes.
  • Fits costumes to actors and alters costumes accordingly.
  • Coordinates space usage for cast dressing needs.
  • Maintains costume budget for each production; purchases necessary material or other supplies as needed; arranges for rental of costumes as required.
  • Maintains inventory of costume shop; oversees maintenance of costume shop including cleaning, repair and storage of costumes.
  • Monitors costume rental operations encompassing price quotes, coordination of shipping and billing clients.
  • Monitors donations of materials and costumes to the costume shop.
  • Performs makeup and hair dressing; purchases and maintains materials and provides instruction.


  • Degree

- Costume design

- Fashion design

  • Diploma

- Costume design

- Fashion design

Costume Designers need a high level of creative vision and design skill. It is desirable for Costume Designers to acquire a degree or diploma in costume design or fashion design. Alternatively, you could gain practical experience as a wardrobe mistress/ master and build contacts in the industry. Pre-entry practical experience is most valuable in building a portfolio to present to potential employers. Look out for training opportunities in amateur theatre, costume hire companies or as volunteer in arts festivals.


Knowledge of theater production operations and procedures.

  • Knowledge of principles, practices and techniques of costume design.
  • Knowledge of various eras and vintage clothing designs.
  • Knowledge of supervisory practices and principles.
  • Skill in designing patterns, cutting, sewing, dying and fitting costumes.
  • Ability to effectively communicate.
personal qualities

Creative vision, imagination and keen eye for detail

  • Excellent design skills as well as practical sewing skills
  • Good communication and ability to get work done through a team
  • Organisationalskills to plan and work within deadlines and budget constraints
  • Research mindset and knowledge of costume history and fashion trends
  • Problem solving ability with a flexible attitude
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Knowledge of the theatre production process, including effects of lighting and sound
Personal Qualities

A Costume Designer’s earnings depend on their reputation, portfolios, production budget and the type of contract. You can work simultaneously on multiple productions. On an average, the earnings can range from S$2000/- to S$5000/- per production. The earnings range indicated are ballpark guidelines only. In the Performing Arts sector, the earnings potential of jobs can vary depending on employment with: •Non-profit arts organisation/productions •Commercial theatre productions •Arts councils/institutions


The main location to find this occupation would be in California and New York.

  • Other place to find this job opportunity would be any place that has a theater atmosphere

Attendance at Performing Arts events in Singapore is continuing to grow, indicating potential opportunities for additional theatre performances, concerts and events. The increase in activities in this sector could create potential job opportunities for Costume Designers. The job outlook for Costume Designers is very competitive.

  • The current Costume Designers tend to corner the market with their extensive portfolio and reputation. Theatres prefer to rehire Costume Designers whose work is reputable as well as familiar to the production crew. Hence, Internships are crucial for Costume Designers to break into the Performing Arts industry. While smaller theatre companies hire on freelance basis, the larger theatre companies may employ Costume Designers on a full-time basis.
  • Look out for volunteer and internship opportunities to work with the established Costume Designers in both small and large production. Or get involved in art festivals, community events etc. Networking and reputation of one’s portfolio is the best method to find assignments. However, in the near term, the number of new productions commissioned may reduce, affecting the potential opportunities available for Costume Designers.