Fashion Careers in Hollywood

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

April 21, 2006

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Job growth in the motion picture and video industries is strong. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of film-related jobs will grow by 17 percent at least through the year 2014. This is potentially very good news for those seeking a Hollywood-style career in fashion.

In Hollywood, those with expertise in fashion design might work as a costume designer, wardrobe designer, or purveyor and designer of fashion for the Hollywood elite.

Designers, Consultants, and Merchants of Fashion

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Many with aspirations in fashion head to Los Angeles after fashion school to pursue their careers. They might open a boutique, buying clothing from other designers or selling their own designs. Fashion consulting is also a big industry, providing wardrobe advice to celebrities and Hollywood producers and directors, and other fashion-conscious, moneyed groups.

Costume Designers

Others are less interested in developing a clothing line than dressing those working on a film set. Costume designers have the job of creating a look that fits a particular period in which a film is set. They work with set designers, writers, and directors to make sure clothes are suitable to each actor's character and period. They have a keen sense of fashion history. They also understand how to create clothing that helps create a character's persona. Many costume designers start out designing clothes for theatre and then move to film or television.

Wardrobe Designers

The job of wardrobe designer is a little different. Wardrobe designers don't specialize in designing clothing of a particular period in history. Rather, they design clothes for stories set in modern times. They don't need as keen an understanding of fashion history. They do, however, have some training in using clothes as a means to develop a character or create a mood.

Fashion School Hollywood Style

To pursue a career in fashion in Hollywood, you might attend a fashion school that offers some coursework in wardrobe or costume design. You might also choose a school in the Los Angeles area that employs professors with links to the industry. Industry contacts are important in securing internships and jobs on film sets.

Whether you decide to head to Los Angeles to promote your clothing line or design clothes for the next Steven Soderbergh film, you'll find a place that's teeming with opportunity for fashion school graduates.


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

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