How to become a costume designer
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You can do a higher national diploma, degree or postgraduate qualification in:
- costume design
- theatre design
- costume construction
You'll usually need:
- between 1 and 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national diploma or degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
You could do a college course to get practical skills that you'll need to find a trainee position. Courses include:
- fashion and textiles
- production arts
- art and design
- T Level in Craft and Design (Textiles and Fashion option)
Entry requirements for these courses vary.
4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T Level
To become a costume designer, you could do the:
- Costume Performance Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
- Fashion Studio Assistant Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
- Bespoke Tailor and Cutter Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship
These can take up to 2 years to complete.
You'll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
You could get into costume design by working for a company that provides costumes for stage and screen.
Some of the larger companies offer work experience and internship opportunities.
You might also get a job as a costume assistant, then do more training on the job to move into design work.
Experience in the theatre, film or costume industry is highly valued by employers and volunteering is a great way to improve your skills. It's also a good way to meet people and build up your network of contacts.
You could get relevant experience through:
- student theatre and film productions
- amateur theatre
- working as a costume 'daily' or temporary helper on TV or film sets
- casual wardrobe work in theatres
- working for a theatrical costume hire company
It's a good idea to build up a portfolio of your work to showcase your creative ideas, design skills and technical ability to potential employers.
Professional and industry bodies
You can find out more about becoming a costume designer from: