Costume designer

Design, arts and crafts

Career outlook for costume designer

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would design clothes and costumes for theatre, film or television productions to help make the characters seem real to the audience.

You’d study the script to learn more about the story, setting and characters. You’d discuss ideas with the production designer, director, and make-up, set and lighting designers.

You’d research and design the costumes for the setting and style of the production. You’d work out how to create them in time for the production and within the budget.

On a large production, you would lead a team to design, make and hire costumes for everyone on stage or screen. You’d manage and oversee the work of costume makers, wardrobe supervisors and wardrobe assistants.

You would:

  • Create costume ideas to fit the production’s design concept and budget
  • Research suitable costume styles, fabrics and designs
  • Sketch costume designs
  • Give instructions to costume makers so they can turn your sketches into real garments

You’d need to make sure the costumes fit the actors.

On smaller productions, you might also:

  • Manage the wardrobe budget
  • Buy or hire outfits
  • Fit, alter and adapt costumes
  • Clean, iron and mend garments
  • Make sure that wardrobe items are available at the right time
  • Keep the look of the costumes the same between shoots or scenes

Working conditions


Your hours could be long and may involve evening and weekend work to meet deadlines.


You could work in a studio, a theatre, from an office or from home.


You would also attend meetings with theatres or film/TV production companies.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Adaptability
  • Verbal communication
  • Creative
  • Designing
  • Problem solving
  • Working with numbers
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Taking responsibility

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You will need a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) or degree (SCQF level 9/10) in relevant subjects such as: 

  • Costume design
  • Fashion design and production
  • Textiles

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

Entry to a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers or a relevant HNC/HND.

To enter a postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11) you need a relevant degree and may require experience. 

You will also need an art portfolio for most courses.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by some courses)
  • Art and Design (required by some courses)
  • Maths (required by some courses)
  • Drama
  • Fashion and textile technologies
  • Social subjects such as history

Helpful to have

Qualifications that demonstrate creative skills and industry knowledge such as Skills for Work Creative industries (SCQF  level 5).