Are you wanting to break into costume design with no experience? Where do you begin? To help you build a successful career, Helen Beaumont reveals five tips to consider when starting in costume design.
Start with basics
It is key to start by developing the basic skills required to work in costume design, before anything else. You would be advised to draw at least once a day, so you can become confident getting your ideas down on paper and practice sewing by hand and machine. You could also watch great films for fashion lovers, like Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory to see how legendary experts created authentic costumes.
Read job description
You may want to familiarise with a typical job description for a costume designer, to shed light on what this role entails. The key tasks of costume designers are many and varied, ranging from drawing sketches and working with directors, to sewing pieces, holding fittings with actors and attending dress rehearsals. Research what each of these duties entails, so you can determine how to move your career forward.
Research the industry
It is vital that you research the wider industry. Look at how employers like you to present CVs, portfolios, blogs and websites, to secure work. Follow costume designers like Helen Beaumont on social media blogs to receive industry advice. Read leading sector publications like Draper Magazine and join bodies such as The Costume Society to stay up to date with emerging trends, jobs listings and career tips.
Often, you need to make industry connections, so you can capitalise on emerging career opportunities in costume design. It is a good idea to build a presence online, with your own website blog and social media profile. Here you can feature your costume design drawing and promote yourself as an industry thought leader, attracting a following and coming to attention of top costume design professionals.
Look up courses
It is advisable, though not essential, to enroll on costume design related courses, so you gain the skills needed to perform the job. You should research costume design qualifications such as national diplomas and degrees in subjects like costume design, fashion design and performing arts production. Research leading educational providers, such as The Fashion and Textile Museum in London. Look at issues such as syllabuses, resources, teaching staff and cost, in order to find the right course for your circumstances.
At this point, you should lay the groundwork, so you develop solid foundations upon which to build your career. Before taking any steps, conduct extensive research on what it means to be a costume designer, how to develop the associated skills and means to break into the industry, so you can move forward.
About Helen Beaumont
Helen Beaumont’s career started at Camberwell College of Art, where she studied the History of Art and Design, specialising in costume during her final year. After completing study, Helen became a costume buyer for theatre and opera. She has since become a professional costume designer, with a keen interest in period clothing. Throughout her career, Helen has created authentic costumes for prestigious companies such as the Universal Studios, Disney, BBC, Tiger Aspect and the Young Vic Theatre.