TV Production Costume Designer Job Description

by Stephanie Dube Dwilson

A TV costume designer's work is among the first things a television viewer sees. The costume has to tell a story about the character or reflect his personality. Choosing costumes isn't easy; it requires a creative flair, an eye for design, strong communication skills and a lot of hard work.

Daily Work

A TV costume designer must have a thorough understanding of the clothes worn during the time period of the TV show. The designer reads through the script for each episode and figures out how the actors will be moving. Do they need outfits for riding horses, for a fight scene or for a special event? The designer must make sure the clothes fit with the set and props also. The designer must acquire all clothes for each episode, often by buying them from department stores or specialty shops, while staying within the allotted budget. (Reference 1)


Although there's no specific education path for becoming a TV costume designer, most jobs will require some type of formal education. Getting a degree in fashion design is a good choice for this field. Many colleges offer either two-year associates degrees or four-year bachelor of arts degrees in fashion design. After getting your degree, you can also take a course that specializes in television costume design. These will teach you how to analyze TV scripts for costume ideas and you'll end your course with a portfolio to use when applying for jobs. (Reference 2 & 3)


A TV costume designer must be adept at sketching and designing clothing ideas, both on paper and by using specialized software programs. You'll also need to be a skilled seamstress, able to make outfits by hand and with the help of a sewing machine. You should be able to use clothing patterns and construct your own costumes so you can pick the best ones for TV actors. You'll need extensive knowledge of how fabrics and cuts of clothing work with different body types and in different situations. (References 1 & 2)

Personal Qualifications

Costume designers for TV shows should have great interpersonal skills for dealing with clients and any staff they may oversee. They should be financially adept so they can work within strict budgets. They need to be artistic and creative to come up with unique choices for shows. They should be passionate about literary and cultural knowledge, since they may need to study different time periods in order to do their job well. (Reference 1 & 3)

About the Author

With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images