Dressing the Character: An Exploration into the Costume Design Process

Sikes, Kaitlin, Drama - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Bloom, Thomas, Department of Drama, University of Virginia
Black, Charlotte, Department of Drama, University of Virginia
Linton, Marcy, Department of Drama, University of Virginia

Costume Design is integral to the development of character. Through clothing, the costume designer establishes the visual manifestation that is embodied by the actor. With the guidance of a director, a script and a team of collaborators, an actor has all the tools to persuade an audience that the invented is real. As a costume designer, I must analyze the psychology of a character to create a design that is both truthful and real. I need to understand how that character thinks, feels and behaves. This allows me to visualize the character and, in turn, create an accurate visual portrayal for my audience. My goal is transporting an audience to another world and time through visual storytelling. Ultimately, if I lead my audience to realize a new idea or to look at their world a little differently, I’ve accomplished my task.
While studying costume design and technology in graduate school, I have experienced many methods of designing and constructing costumes for realized and unrealized productions. As a result, I have come to understand the importance of examining both my creative process and costume design process, starting with analyzing the script and ending with analyzing the performance.

MFA (Master of Fine Arts)
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