How Long Does Costume Design School Take?

Movies, theatrical productions and television soap operas won’t succeed in convincing audiences about their story without the expertise and skill of costume designers. They are the professionals who do the necessary research on what people wore during a particular period in history and then make the appropriate costumes required by the story.

When it comes to dressing up the characters of a particular production, costume designers are in-charge of all activities related to it. These include collaborating and consulting with the director, making the sketches, buying the fabric, sewing the costumes with the help of tailors and dressmakers and ensuring that all the clothes are produced within the production’s budget.

Aspiring costume designers need to go to costume design school to obtain the necessary training that would prepare them for this profession. This is typically a bachelor’s degree in fashion design or related field. Some schools specifically offer a costume design program as an undergraduate degree course. The California Institute of Arts or CalARTS is one. Their bachelor of fine arts in costume design prepares students for the profession by teaching them to be able to put across their design concepts visually and graphically but also teaches them the skills they need to actually construct a garment. This program typically takes four years to complete.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is another school that has a costume design and technology program which take four years to complete. Students are allowed to choose whether they wish to proceed with the design or the technology aspect of the program in their third and fourth years.

In other colleges and universities, costume design is offered as a graduate degree program. This means that they must already have a bachelor’s degree before they are accepted into costume design school. CalARTS has a master of fine arts in costume design where students are required to develop critical thinking in every project they undertake. This is a three-year program.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts also has a graduate costume design program which can also be completed in three years. Another graduate program in costume design is offered by Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama. Students are able to complete the program in six semesters.

Meanwhile, the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising offers a 45-unit associate of arts degree, advanced study for their graduates who hold a degree in fashion design, apparel industry management, merchandise product development or visual communications. This can be completed in one year.

Although it might be possible to become a costume designer while assisting a more experienced designer, going to costume design school is still important because it is through these programs that students are able to start building their contacts in the industry. Even more important is their participation in the activities that their teachers require them to be in inasmuch as it is through these productions that they are able to build a portfolio of their work. This is what employers typically ask for when they start applying for jobs in various production outfits.

Career Spotlight: Costume Designer

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