Courses in Costume Design: Become a Professional Costume Designer

Considering a Course in Costume Design? 

If you want to learn about costume design, a course in costume design may be a perfect choice for you. The course will teach you all there is to know about designing costumes. Not to mention, the course could be your first steps into a career as a costume designer. The good news is there are tons of courses in costume design. They offer good flexibility too for those balancing study and work. Courses in costume design are available in full-time, part-time and evening class options, in person and online.  

What is Costume Design? 

Costume design is the creation of clothing for the overall appearance of a performer or character. Costume may refer to a particular style of dress. In most cases, it may contribute to the fullness of the artistic, visual world which is unique to a particular cinematic or theatrical production. The most basic designs are produced to denote status, provide modesty or protection or provide visual interest to a character. Costumes may be for a musical, cinema or theatre performance but may not be limited to such. Costume design should not be confused with the likes of costume coordination which involves altering existing clothing. There are four types of costumes used in theatrical design – fantastical, dance, historical and modern. 

A Brief History of Costume Design 

Costume design has a rather long history. The ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus, who lived in the 5th Century, created specific costumes for actors to wear when performing his tragedies. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, costumes and scenery became increasingly important elements of stage plays. They helped greatly in capturing the mood and creating an exciting colourful event that would entertain audiences. There was not one cohesive idea of what the costume had to be. In Shakespeare’s time, people performed in contemporary dress and the performers of his plays would provide their own costumes.  

In the 16th Century, some traveling theatrical troupes performed a style of theatre called commedia dell’arte. It has costumes that represented stock characters such as the doctor, the harlequin and the serving girl. Everyone watching understood what these characters stood for simply by looking at their costumes. From the 1770s to the 1870s, a desire for greater accuracy in costume design began to take hold as a result of an increase in stage performers and traveling theatrical troupes and because more people had become familiar with the costumes of cultures across the globe. Into the 19th Century, costume design became an increasingly specialised art. 

What Will I Learn? 

The course will provide you with the creative ability to visually communicate your design ideas and the technical skills to create completed costumes for performers. You can expect to learn about design development, research, drawing and illustration. Also, you will explore pattern drafting and costume construction for the realisation of 2D designs into 3D. 

If you’re serious about doing a course in costume design, check out courses near you in the national course finder.  


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