What do Costume Designers do?
Costume Designers design and create costumes for actors in film, television and on stage. They enhance authenticity and encourage imagination by creating costumes accurate to individual settings and time periods.
Costume Designers also design costumes for fancy dress and specific events (e.g. Halloween) and sold in retail outlets.
Are you creative with an eye for detail and work well under pressure? A career as a costume designer could be perfect for you.
- Artistic with good colour and design sense
- Knowledge of fashion, pattern making and sewing
- Works to strict deadlines and thrives under pressure
- Work with customers or directors to determine the style of costumes and budget
- Research to ensure you get the details right
- Take accurate measurements and prepare materials for production
- Undertake or supervise the creation, alteration, and repair of costumes
Costume Designer salary in Australia (average) $61,970 per year
As with most careers, pay varies with time and experience. Some costume designers can earn up to $123,000 a year (source: payscale.com).
Job growth in costume design is stable (source: joboutlook.gov.au)
If you’d like to be competitive in this field, you should get as much work experience as possible, be prepared to move and travel a lot, and keep your knowledge up to date.
How to become a Costume Designer in Australia
A degree isn’t essential for entry to this career, but some formal training may be preferred by employers unless you have an amazing resume and portfolio of your works.
Step 1 – Study English, Maths and any creative classes that inspire you at high school.
Step 2 – Get relevant work experience by volunteering at your local theatre or film company.
Step 3 – Choose and complete a relevant qualification. Consider VET pathways. Examples include:
- Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance) from NIDA
- Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design and Production) from the University of Melbourne
- Certificate III in Applied Fashion Design and Technology from TAFE QLD
Step 4 – Find an internship or mentor and gain further work experience. Make useful industry contacts and keep an up to date portfolio of your works.
Step 5 – Continue to build on your skills through professional experience and short courses.
Find out more here –
Similar Careers to Costume Designer
Find out more about alternative careers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does it take to become a Costume Designer?
Becoming a costume designer could take 4 to 5 years after leaving high school if you do a degree. Otherwise you could start in a junior role as soon as you leave school and work your way up.
Where do Costume Designers work?
Costume designers work as part of a team for theatre and film companies, television stations, and video production houses – often working alongside the director, make-up artists, set designers and other creatives. You could find yourself working on set, backstage, in an office, or in a workshop.
Do I need to go to university to become a Costume Designer?
No, you don’t have to go to university. But relevant qualifications and lots of work experience could fast track your career and open up more opportunities.
Is Costume Designer a good career to aim for?
If you love the creative arts and would like a career that could be flexible and varied, costume design could be a rewarding career for you.