Advertising & Arts

Costume Designer

Costume designers design costumes for performing arts, film or television productions.

  • Entry-level education

    Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Costume Designer do?

Costume designers design costumes for performing arts, film or television productions.


Work activities

As a costume designer, you would:

  • study the script or musical score
  • discuss the look and feel of the production with the producer, director, and make-up, set and lighting designers
  • research and create costume ideas to fit the design concept and budget
  • prepare detailed budgets for costume design and supply
  • work with costume makers to turn design ideas into garments or other costumes
  • buy or hire costumes, or arrange to have them made
  • fit, alter and adapt new or existing costumes
  • manage and oversee the work of other staff such as costume makers, wardrobe supervisors and wardrobe assistants.

Key skills and interests

To become a costume designer, you would need:

  • creativity and design skills
  • fashion interest and knowledge
  • sewing and pattern making skills
  • good communication and people skills
  • organisational skills
  • the ability to work under pressure
  • basic accounting skills to manage budgets.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

Your hours could be long and erratic. Many performing arts productions and film shoots take place on evenings and weekends.


You could work in a film or TV studio, a theatre, from an office or from home.

Competition in this industry is very strong, and employment is often on a project or contract basis. Costume designers generally begin their careers as wardrobe assistants.


How to become an Costume Designer?

Entry Level Education

You can work as a costume designer without formal qualifications. Most of your training would be on the job, starting as a design assistant or wardrobe assistant and learning from experienced designers. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in costume for performance, or in a related area such as fashion design.

Alternatively, you can complete a degree in fashion design. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent with English. Competition for entry to these degree courses is very strong. Your prospects of gaining a place may be improved if you can demonstrate experience, including volunteer experience.

A number of private providers also run introductory courses in costume design, which may help you to decide if it is a career option for you.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Job opportunities for costume designers are expected to remain relatively neutral.

Costume design is a small industry which is dependent on the funding available for theatre, television or film productions.


CareerHQ Compass

Discover the path to your future

How can CareerHQ Compass help you?