Profession costume designer

Costume designers develop a costume design concept for a performance, a movie or a television program. They supervise the execution of it. Their work is based on research and artistic vision. Their design is influenced by and influences other designs and must be conform with these designs and the overall artistic vision. Therefore, the designers work closely with artistic directors, operators and the artistic team. Costume designers develop sketches, design drawings, patterns or other documentation to support the workshop and performance crew.  

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Personality Type

  • Artistic / Enterprising

Skills

  • Draw up costume patterns

    Draw and cut out costume patterns using scissors and measuring instruments.

  • Meet deadlines

    Ensure operative processes are finished at a previously agreed-upon time.

  • Design wearing apparel

    Use analytical skills, creativity, and recognise future trends in order to design wearing apparel.

  • Draw up costume sketches

    Draw sketches of costumes and clothing accessories; note specifications such as size, material type and colour scheme.

  • Analyse the scenography

    Analyse the selection and distribution of material elements on a stage.

  • Analyse score

    Analysing the score, form, themes and structure of a piece of music.

  • Update design results during rehearsals

    Updating the design results based on observation of the stage image during the rehearsals, especially where the different designs and the action are integrated.

  • Define costume materials

    Define and assign costume materials and fabrics.

  • Define costume fabrication methods

    Define costume manufacturing methods and techniques.

  • Propose improvements to artistic production

    Assess past artistic activities with a view to improving future projects.

  • Keep up to date on costume design

    Visit textile showrooms, read fashion magazines, keep up-to-date with trends and changes in the world of fabrics and designs.

  • Safeguard artistic quality of performance

    Observe the show, anticipate and react to possible technical problems, ensuring optimal artistic quality.

  • Identify target markets for designs

    Identify different target markets for new designs, considering factors such as age, gender, and socioeconomic status.

  • Conduct costume research

    Ensure that costumes and pieces of clothing in visual artistic productions are historically correct. Conduct research and study primary sources in literature, pictures, museums, newspapers, paintings, etc.

  • Apply fashion trends to footwear and leather goods

    Be able to stay up to date on the latest styles, attending fashion shows and review fashion/clothing magazines and manuals, analysing the past and present fashion trends in areas such as footwear, leather goods and clothing market. Use analytical thinking and creative models to apply and to interpret in a systematic way the upcoming trends in terms of fashion and life styles.

  • Research new ideas

    Thorough research for information to develop new ideas and concepts for the design of a specific production based.

  • Sew textile-based articles

    Sew different products based on textiles and wearing apparel articles. Combine good hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, and physical and mental stamina.

  • Coach staff for running the performance

    Give instructions to all team members about how they should run the performance.

  • Present detailed design proposals

    Prepare and present detailed design suggestions for a specific production to a mixed group of people, including technical, artistic and management staff.

  • Understand artistic concepts

    Interpret an artist's explanation or demonstration of their artistic concepts, inceptions and processes and strive to share their vision.

  • Monitor sociological trends

    Identify and investigate sociological trends and movements in society.

  • Adapt existing designs to changed circumstances

    Adapt an existing design to changed circumstances and ensure that the artistic quality of the original design is reflected in the final result.

  • Gather reference materials for artwork

    Gather samples of the materials you expect to use in the creation process, especially if the desired piece of art necessitates the intervention of qualified workers or specific production processes.

  • Synthesise clothing with accessories

    Purchase new or second-hand clothing and a variety of accessory items, as is needed to complete designs.

  • Perform quality control of design during a run

    Control and ensure the quality of design results during a run.

  • Monitor developments in technology used for design

    Identify and explore recent developments in technology and materials used in the live performance industry, in order to create an up-to-date technical background for one’s personal design work.

  • Use communication equipment

    Set up, test and operate different types of communication equipment such as transmission equipment, digital network equipment, or telecommunications equipment.

  • Work safely with chemicals

    Take the necessary precautions for storing, using and disposing chemical products.

  • Develop design concept

    Research information to develop new ideas and concepts for the design of a specific production. Read scripts and consult directors and other production staff members, in order to develop design concepts and plan productions.

  • Develop design ideas cooperatively

    Share and develop design ideas with the artistic team. Conceptualise new ideas independently and with others. Present your idea, gain feedback and take it into account. Make sure the design fits with the work of other designers.

  • Show sample garments

    Deliver sample garments to sales representatives; schedule meetings at fashion shows to demonstrate sample garments.

  • Collaborate with designers

    Communicate and collaborate with fellow designers in order to coordinate new products and designs.

  • Analyse the artistic concept based on stage actions

    Analyse the artistic concept, form and structure of a live performance based on observation during rehearsals or improvisation. Create a structured base for the design process of a specific production.

  • Communicate during show

    Efficient communication during live performance, anticipate any possible malfunctioning.

  • Examine sample garments

    Examine sample garments; alter designs of sample garments.

  • Translate artistic concepts to technical designs

    Cooperate with the artistic team in order to facilitate the transition from the creative vision and its artistic concepts to a technical design.

  • Analyse a script

    Break down a script by analysing the dramaturgy, form, themes and structure of a script. Conduct relevant research if necessary.

  • Verify feasibility

    Interpret an artistic plan and verify whether the described design can be executed.

  • Select costumes

    Find the right costume for a certain role and actor.

Optional knowledge and skills

work with the camera crew follow directions of the artistic director lead a team work with the lighting crew work with respect for own safety photography draw up artistic production lighting techniques labour legislation cad software update budget provide documentation attend rehearsals use personal protection equipment collaborate with a technical staff in artistic productions adapt costumes use cad software work with the director of photography copyright legislation keep personal administration perform costume settings organise resources for artistic production document your own practice organise costume fittings analyse the need for technical resources