Are You Interested in Clothing Design But Don't Want a Fashion Career?

by Fran Walker
Fashion School Review Columnist

June 1, 2005

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Not everyone interested in clothing design is destined for a fashion career. Your love of textures and colors may lead you into the costume and clothing design industry. Costume designers design, purchase and prepare costumes for TV and film productions and, most commonly, the theater. This is as fast-paced and rewarding as a fashion career, with new challenges around every corner.

Can I Learn Costume Design at Fashion College?

There are several options for studying costume and clothing design. You can study costume design as part of a wider program at fashion college, or at a dedicated costume design college. Costume design can also be studied at a performing arts college, alongside make-up and technical effects.

American InterContinental University prepares you with the knowledge, skills and practical work experience you need to succeed in today's competitive workplace.

Programs vary, as you can see, but you can expect to cover most of the following areas:
  • Historical and contemporary costume design for film, TV and stage
  • Theatrical make-up
  • Costume accessories and props
  • Pattern making
  • Character costume design
  • Figure drawing and illustration
  • Fashion 'speed' sketching
  • Design programs such as Photoshop
  • Textiles, dyeing and sewing

Costume Design for TV, Film and Stage - A Recipe for Variety

When you finish your costume design program at college, there will be a myriad of choice for careers in costume design for TV, film and stage. These careers could be static or mobile, but you should always expect long and unpredictable hours.

In a fashion career, you would be expected to have an in-depth knowledge of trends and the business. In a clothing and costume design career, your research will depend on the production you are working on - the period, setting, fictional or biographical background.

Many clothing and costume designers are freelance. Competition is fierce, but if you persevere with costume design after college, you can ultimately expect great personal, cultural and financial rewards.


About the Author
Fran Walker is a freelance writer, editor and researcher specializing in educational, health, safety and domestic issues. Previously, she spent five years in marketing in the self-help, health and health and safety sectors before leaving to start a family

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