Costume Designer

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Costume designers create costumes for film, television or theatre productions. In small companies they will also fit, alter and repair and clean them.

The Work

You could be:


Pay rates vary, depending on:

Starting salaries for qualified costume designers in the UK tend to be around £16,000 to £18,000 a year. Some experienced designers may be able to earn between £18,000 and £28,000 a year with highly experience designers earning £35.000.

Freelance costume designers charge a fee, which varies depending on the production and their reputation. The better known they are, the more they can charge. The trade union Equity can help with negotiation. The BECTU website lists minimum pay rate desirable for costume designers on a low budget production (under £1.5 million) as about £290.91 for a 10-hour day and £1,454 for a 5-day week.


Workforce Employment Status

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Getting In

For art school courses you need to apply through UCAS. 

Application to the RCS is through UCAS Conservatoires. The application date can differ from other courses. Details are on the RCS website.

Entry to this work is very competitive. You need to build up contacts through amateur and voluntary work. You can advertise yourself and your specialist skills on the Society of British Theatre Designers (SBTD) website.

What Does it Take?

You need to be:

You need to have:


Getting On

More Information

Young Scot and Creative Scotland operate the 'Nurturing Talent - Time to Shine Fund', which aims to support young people aged 11-25 and interested in developing creative or artistic skills. Both individuals and groups can apply for funding up to £1,000. For more information see the Young Scot website.

Take a look at The Stage online magazine for information on jobs and auditions.

For more information on creative careers see Discover Creative Careers Finder

Kozzii is a new costume and wardrobe industry magazine offering invaluable advice, news and feature articles. Visit their website or see them on Instagram (@kozziimag).



The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

BECTU Scotland (Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union)
Twitter: @bectu

Chartered Society of Designers (CSD)
Tel: 020 7357 8088
Twitter: @csdminerva

Creative and Cultural Skills
Tel: 020 7015 1800
Twitter: @CCskills

Creative and Cultural Skills is the Sector Skills Council for advertising, crafts, cultural heritage, design, music, performing, literary and visual arts.

Discover Creative Careers Finder
Twitter: @CreativeCareer5

Tel: 020 7713 9800
Twitter: @UKScreenSkills

ScreenSkills (formerly Creative Skillset) works with the UK’s screen-based creative media industries to develop skills and talent from classroom to boardroom.

Society of British Theatre Designers (SBTD)
Tel: 07809 721047
Twitter: @weareSBTD

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