How to Become a Costume Designer for Television

How to Become a Costume Designer for Television

If you have a passion for fashion and a love for television, becoming a costume designer for television could be the perfect career path for you. In this article, we will discuss the steps you need to take to break into this competitive industry and start creating iconic looks for your favorite TV shows. From gaining relevant experience to building a strong portfolio, we will cover everything you need to know to become a successful costume designer for television.

Education and Training

When pursuing a career as a costume designer for television, it is important to have the right education and training. Here are some steps to help you get started:

Earn a degree in fashion design or a related field

Having a solid foundation in fashion design or a related field is essential for becoming a successful costume designer. Consider earning a degree from a reputable fashion school or university to learn the fundamentals of design, color theory, and garment construction.

Take courses in costume design

To specialize in costume design specifically for television, it is beneficial to take courses that focus on this area. Look for programs or workshops that cover topics such as character analysis, period costumes, and costume technology to enhance your skills and knowledge.

Participate in internships or apprenticeships

Hands-on experience is invaluable in the field of costume design. Seek out internships or apprenticeships with costume designers or production companies to gain practical experience and build your portfolio. This will also help you network and make connections within the industry.

Developing Skills and Portfolio

Aspiring costume designers for television must develop a set of skills and build a strong portfolio to showcase their abilities. Here are some key steps to take in order to succeed in this competitive field.

Learn about different time periods and styles

Costume designers need to have a deep understanding of historical fashion trends and different styles from various time periods. By studying the evolution of clothing and fashion, designers can gain valuable insights into how to create authentic and visually appealing costumes for television shows set in different eras.

Practice sketching and sewing

Sketching and sewing are essential skills for costume designers. Practice sketching different costume designs and experimenting with fabrics to understand how they drape and move. Developing proficiency in sewing will allow designers to bring their sketches to life and create high-quality costumes that meet the demands of television production.

Build a strong portfolio

A strong portfolio is crucial for showcasing a costume designer’s talent and creativity. Include a variety of costume designs that demonstrate your ability to work with different styles, time periods, and genres. Make sure to highlight your best work and continuously update your portfolio with new projects to attract potential clients and employers.

By developing skills in historical fashion, practicing sketching and sewing, and building a strong portfolio, aspiring costume designers can increase their chances of success in the competitive world of television costume design.

Finding Job Opportunities

As a costume designer looking to break into the television industry, it’s essential to actively seek out job opportunities to showcase your skills and experience. Here are a few strategies to help you find the right opportunities:

Network within the industry

Networking is key in the entertainment industry, and building relationships with professionals in the field can open up doors to potential job opportunities. Attend industry events, conferences, and workshops to connect with other costume designers, producers, and industry insiders. Joining professional organizations such as the Costume Designers Guild can also help you network and stay updated on job openings.

Apply for entry-level positions

Starting as an intern or assistant costume designer can be a great way to gain hands-on experience and build your skills in the television industry. Look for entry-level positions at production companies, studios, or costume rental houses. Keep an eye out for job postings on industry websites, social media, and job boards, and tailor your resume and portfolio to showcase your relevant experience and passion for costume design.

Seek out freelance opportunities

Freelancing can be a valuable way to gain experience and build your portfolio as a costume designer for television. Reach out to independent filmmakers, web series creators, or local theaters to offer your services on a project basis. Building a strong freelance portfolio can help you attract more clients and opportunities in the television industry. Be proactive in marketing yourself and showcasing your unique style and creative vision to stand out in the competitive field of costume design.


Becoming a costume designer for television is a challenging yet rewarding career path for those with a passion for fashion and storytelling. By gaining experience through internships, building a strong portfolio, and networking within the industry, aspiring costume designers can increase their chances of breaking into the competitive field of television. With dedication, creativity, and perseverance, anyone with a love for fashion and television can turn their dream of becoming a costume designer into a reality.