Costume Design

Costume design is the art of creating clothing and accessory designs for characters in film, theater, or television. It involves the creation of outfits that reflect the personality, story, and historical context of each character.

Description and How to Do It

Costume design starts with analyzing the script and understanding the characters. Designers then sketch ideas, select fabrics, and construct the actual costumes, often working closely with directors and actors. It requires a blend of fashion design, historical knowledge, and storytelling.


  • Creative Expression: Encourages imaginative and artistic design skills.
  • Storytelling: Enhances the ability to tell stories through clothing.
  • Historical and Cultural Learning: Offers insights into different eras and cultures.
  • Teamwork: Involves collaboration with other creatives.

Best Age to Start

While costume design can be complex, basic elements can be introduced to children around 10 or 11 years old, with more advanced concepts suitable for teenagers.


  • Websites: The Costume Society for industry insights and history.
  • YouTube: Channels like Angela Clayton for costume making tutorials.
  • Books: “The Costume Making Guide: Creating Armor and Props for Cosplay” by Svetlana Quindt (available on Amazon).

Equipment and Costs

  • Sketchbook and Drawing Supplies: $10-$30.
  • Fabric and Sewing Supplies: $50-$200, depending on the complexity.
  • Sewing Machine: $100-$500.
  • Research Materials (books, access to historical databases): Varies.

Starting Tips

  • Start by designing costumes for small, local theater productions or school plays.
  • Learn basic sewing and pattern-making skills.
  • Study different fashion eras and costume history for inspiration.

Recommended Practice Frequency

Engaging in projects regularly, as opportunities arise, is key to developing and honing skills.

Requirements/Tasks for Mastery

  • Design costumes for a range of productions, showcasing versatility and creativity.
  • Develop a portfolio highlighting diverse styles and periods.
  • Gain recognition in the field through professional productions or awards.

Famous Costume Designers

  • Edith Head
  • Colleen Atwood