Costume Design Fashion Jobs

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

March 22, 2006

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Costume designers play an important role in making films more authentic and visually appealing. They work with directors, producers, and actors to create clothing that supports character and plot development. It's a fashion job that's sexy and challenging.

The television and DVD production industry is expected to grow in the years ahead. Most of the growth is a result of increased demand for shows and films. Costume designers might benefit from this development, as they are needed in nearly every production to create costumes for characters.

HBO, for example, offers some of the most interesting fashion jobs for costume designers. Its Wild West-era production Deadwood uses costume designers to create clothing from the gold-rush period of the 1800s. The Wire, another HBO drama, features late 1990s fashion. While the clothing is modern, it varies according to each character--detectives wear jeans, captains don pressed polyester uniforms, and drug runners wear gangsta garb. Designers are responsible for such wardrobe decisions.

Fashion Schooling in Costume Design

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The Art Institutes

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Costume designers, like other fashion designers, typically attend fashion school before pursuing a career in fashion. They may attend a program that offers classes on costume arts and film. Those seeking a career in fashion might also benefit from learning a little history. While you don't need to be an expert in every era of clothing, it's helpful to have a general framework of the history of habiliments.

Fashion design school programs may last two to four years. Two-year programs are typically associated with professional schools or art institutes whose curriculum is limited to fashion design. To get a more well-rounded education, you'll need to enroll in a four-year undergraduate program. In a B.A. program you'll be able to take courses from other disciplines such as history, philosophy, and film studies.

Finding the Right School for You

The best way to find the fashion design school that's right for you is to conduct research on your own. Decide where you want to attend school--in your home town or a fashion capital, such as New York, Los Angeles, Milan, or Paris--and review the programs available in those areas. Find schools that focus on costume design and you'll be well on your way to finding the program that's best suited to you.

About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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