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A costume designer is responsible for the general appearance of the clothes and costumes featured in theatre, film and television productions. Costume designers will study a script and liaise with directors and producers to get an overall feel of what the production is about, before designing the costumes to be worn by the entire cast. Their role is crucial in maintaining the authenticity of a production as well as the continuity.
A lot of research goes into costume design; exploring historical or cultural fashions and styles and finding the correct materials to construct the costumes. A costume designer will sketch out their own designs of the potential outfits before liaising with a production designer, set designers and directors. Once the designs are approved, the costume designer must oversee the production of the outfits, by the costume makers. In smaller scale productions, the costume designer may also be responsible for fittings and alterations, ensuring accuracy and continuity.
Costume designers can work in all areas of film, television and theatre, usually starting out as assistants and building up experience and contacts in production design. Working conditions vary, with possibility to work on a variety of productions and with all sorts of companies.