Starting a career as a costume designer gives you the opportunity to tell a story through clothing in an entertainment industry. This career can be a good fit for anyone who loves designing clothes and is passionate about theatre and film. A career as a costume designer plays a major role in bringing a production to life. Additionally, they developed a visually spectacular setting that represents the story and the characters.


A costume designer finds, creates, and manufactures outfits for stage, television, and cinema productions. This career role is greatly valued in the entertainment industry because they contribute greatly to how an audience perceives characters. However, this career path requires a lot of hard work as well as a creative eye. Additionally, you need to embody the characteristics and requirements needed to thrive in this career.


In the following sections, I will explain the steps needed to start a career as a costume designer as well as the skills you need to have.


How to Become a Costume Designer

  1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

    You need a bachelor’s degree to be able to start a career as a costume designer. This degree will provide a solid foundation in the principles and techniques of costume design. Additionally, it will enable you to connect with colleagues and experts that can be valuable to your career growth. You can obtain a bachelor’s degree in costume design. You can also obtain a bachelor’s degree in disciplines such as graphic design or visual art.

  2. Build a Portfolio

    You need to have a portfolio of your work samples and designs that you have worked on. You should include samples of your work such as sketches, photographs or actual garments. This can display your abilities and originality to prospective employers or sponsors.

  3. Gain Practical Experience

    You can gain experience through internships or entry-level positions. This experience will provide valuable hands-on experience in this field. Additionally, it can help you build your network in the industry. You can work in places such as movie industries and music industries.

  4. Pursue a Master’s Degree

    You can consider pursuing a master’s degree as a costume designer. This can give you advanced knowledge of the entertainment industry. Additionally, it can enable you to have access to higher income opportunities. You can obtain a master’s degree in areas such as theatre art, fashion history or cinema.

  5. Develop Technical Skills

    As a costume designer, you must have a strong understanding of garment construction and sewing techniques. You can build these skills by taking classes such as sewing, pattern-making and textile.

  6. Build Professional Networks

    You should build relationships with professionals in the industry such as directors, producers and other designers. This can lead to more opportunities. Additionally, it can help you stay-up-to date on the industry.


Skills Required for a Costume Designer

  1. Observational skills
  2. Organisation skills
  3. Communication skills
  4. Technological ability
  5. Creative personality
  6. Strong collaboration skills
  7. Composure under pressure


Types of Costume Designers

  1. Film Costume Designer: A film costume designer is someone who produces clothing for films and television shows. Furthermore, they must collaborate closely with the director and production staff to male sure that the clothes complement the narrative.
  2. Dance Costume Designer: A dance costume designer makes outfits for dance performances bearing in mind the dance’s particular moves and specifications.
  3. Historical Costume Designer: A historical costume designer specialises in producing costumes that are historically authentic to a certain time period or event. Additionally, they must be well-versed in fashion history and capable of recreating ancient outfits utilising traditional techniques and materials.
  4. Theater Costume Designer: A theatre costume designer produces clothes for theatrical productions such as plays and musicals. They must consider the practicalities of live performance, such as quick changes and ease of movement.
  5. Fantasy Costume Designer: A fantasy costume designer produces outfits for fictional realms, such as science fiction or fantasy films. Furthermore, they must utilise their imagination to create visually spectacular and one-of-a-kind costumes.


Universities in Africa that Offer Fashion Design

  1. University of Cape Town, South Africa
  2. Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  3. University of Cape Town, South Africa
  4. Cairo University, Egypt
  5. University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  6. North-West University, South Africa
  7. University of Nigeria, Nigeria
  8. University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  9. Mansoura University, Egypt
  10. University of Pretoria, South Africa
  11. University of Ghana, Ghana
  12. Rhodes University, South Africa
  13. Covenant University, Nigeria
  14. Tunis University, Tunisia
  15. University of Ilorin, Nigeria
  16. Makerere University, Uganda
  17. University of Botswana, Botswana
  18. University of Lagos, Nigeria
  19. Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
  20. University of Monastir, Tunisia
  21. Alexandria University, Egypt
  22. University of Calabar, Nigeria
  23. University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
  24. Ain Shams University, Egypt
  25. University of Sfax, Tunisia


Pursuing a career as a costume designer makes you play a significant role in the entertainment industry. Therefore, you need to get acquainted with the entertainment industry, not just the fashion field. Additionally, this field requires you to be a professional who is really good at what they do. You should dedicate your time to learning and staying updated with trends in the industry.


Good luck!

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