Costume Designer

What Would My Character Wear?

The job of the Costume Designer is to dress the actors in the show in appropriate clothing for the characters they are playing and to keep in line with the Director's vision of the production.


Pre-Production Duties

Read the play several times:

Make lists of
            a.) All the Characters and the number of costumes needed
            b.) Personality traits of the characters
            c.) Employment and hobbies
            d.) Any other special requirements

Determine the setting and location(s) the show covers.

Determine the time period
           a.) Research the clothing styles worn in the era(s)

           b.) Gather a collection of photo references for the clothing  

Determine all the fast costume changes in the show.

NOTE: If a production is set in the future or has a unique theme, a costume designer consults with the director to interpret that vision into the costumes.


If the theater has money and resources to build the costumes:

Costume Designers create initial design sketches by hand (which is still an important, highly valued skill.)

Once the Director has approved the initial sketches, the costume designer will draw up the final designs. Which will illustrate:

         1.) Details of fabric texture
         2.) Distinguishing accessories such as jewelry, shoes, hats or
         3.) The color pallette for the costumes.

A costume designer needs to be experienced in pattern making and sewing to explain the details of how a costume is to be constructed to an assistant or a dress maker. They also manage and must stay within the production's costume budget. When all the costumes are created, the care and coordination of costume use becomes the responsibility of a wardrobe assistant and costume crew.


If a Theater doesn't have the resources or a staff with the experience to build the costumes,

Gets the budget from the Production Manager

Lists all costume that can be pulled from stock first!!!

a.) Pull all costumes from costume storage and do a fitting for director's approval.

b.) Label all the costumes that work with the actors measurement card

c.) Put on the show rack with alterrations marked on the measurement card

d.) Have the seamtresses begin alterations, and flip the cards around when the alrations prove to be done (with the actor trying the costume on for a second fitting)

Then the Designer takes the budget and breaks down the costs of the following

a.) Supplies (needed to make certain costumes)
b.) Costume Rentals
c.) Costumes that can be purchased

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