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The costume department on a creative production has a costume designer at its head. Reaching this pinnacle of artistic expression and fashion takes time and dedication. Nobody can walk onto a Hollywood movie set or a Broadway theater stage and find employment as a costume designer without some time spent in the trenches of unpaid internships and entry-level work.
However, if you adore design and your friends call you the next Edith Head, your dreams of costume design can come true with some education, luck, and experience.
To Enroll, or Not to Enroll
The life of a costume designer doesn't always begin in school, but learning the subtleties of design may be easiest in a classroom setting. If terms like "color wheel," "breakdown," and "flat drafting" sound like a foreign language to you, some time spent with a book on costume design is advisable.
It's not necessary to enroll in a four-year or bachelor's degree program, but a few classes at the community college level or a technical design school will help you learn common terminology, as well as industry design standards.
Finding the Jobs
Costume designers require the creative environment of a movie set or theatrical production. Certain locales will offer more work in these areas and will be vital for finding internships and assistant positions near the beginning of your career.
Check out the geographic profile from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to see what states offer the best chance at employment. If you live in an area where jobs are sparse, you might want to start by volunteering with a local community college's theater department.
Costume designers learn every facet of the design process and will work through the night to get that last stitch finished. If you put in the leg-work, you can become a successful, working costume designer.