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Costume designer

Alternative titles for this job include

Costume designers are responsible for the overall look of the clothes and costumes in theatre, film or television productions.

Average salary (a year)

£23,000 Starter


£35,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 42 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends attending events or appointments

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

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
  • fashion
  • theatre design
  • performing arts (production)

Entry requirements

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

More Information


You can get practical skills like pattern cutting, sewing and dressmaking by completing a college qualification.

You could do a Level 2 Certificate in Fashion and Textiles and choose tailoring, sewing or textiles as a specialism.

Alternatively, you could do a Level 2 or 3 Certificate in Theatre Support - Costume and Wardrobe.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information


To become a costume designer, you could also do the:

  • Costume Performance Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
  • Fashion Studio Assistant Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
  • Bespoke Tailor and Cutter Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship

Entry requirements

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

More Information


You could get into costume design by working for a company who provides costumes for stage and screen.

Some of the larger companies offer work experience and internship opportunities.

You could try to get a job as a costume assistant, then train more 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

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join The Society of British Theatre Designers and The Costume Society for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a costume designer from:

You can also get more details about working in the creative industries from Discover Creative Careers

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to work well with others
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a costume designer, you could:

  • study the script to understand costume requirements
  • discuss ideas with the director, make-up artist and set designers
  • research costume styles and fabrics
  • sketch designs and create the costumes

On a small production you could also:

  • manage the wardrobe budget
  • buy or hire outfits
  • fit, alter and adapt costumes
  • clean, iron and mend costumes
  • make sure costumes look the same between shoots or scenes

Working environment

You could work at a film studio, in a theatre, at a TV studio, on a film set or from home.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You’ll specialise in either theatre or film and TV but with experience, you could work in both areas.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a costume designer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Costume Jewellery Next Steps

  • Start date: 19 February 2024
  • Location: Winsford

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  • Start date: 14 April 2024
  • Location: London

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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