As with many careers in the entertainment industry, the first people who come to mind are those who’ve made it to the very top. Think Ruth E. Carter, one of the most prominent costumer designers in Hollywood, famous for her work on films like Black Panther and Malcolm X. But costume designers are needed across mediums in every major city in the country, from plays to commercial shoots to indie films to pageants. Costume designers are creators and makers who need to understand the purpose of the specific costumes they’re making, as well as the characters and setting, to deliver authentic, functional pieces.
Costume designers must be creative, organized, and detail-oriented. They must also be strong communicators, skilled at design and sewing, as well as knowledgeable about fashion across history and cultures. Their main responsibilities include studying scripts to identify setting and character attributes, researching fashion in historical periods, and designing costumes for the characters. Costume designers also choose fabrics and materials for costumes, sketch drafts for approval, and oversee fittings and rehearsals. They are also responsible for ensuring costumes are safely stored, and that they stay within budget.
Costume designers usually have completed a bachelor’s degree in a fashion related field, and in some cases even a masters. Job growth for costume designers is expected to increase by 1% between 2018 and 2028.