Sure, nothing can beat hands-on experience, but learning the basics and technology of costume design can offer the skills to meet the unique demands of virtually any type of project. Just ask Emmy Award-winning costume designer Jane Petrie (The Crown, French Exit), who credits her alma mater for giving her a leg up. “I left Wimbledon Art School in 1992 with the practical skills I needed to become a trainee in the costume department of a film or theater production,” she says. “The confidence I’d gained through practice meant I could do an alteration under pressure on the set or dye and break down a garment to support the storytelling on camera.”
That kind of participatory learning continued over the past pandemic year, even as most design schools adapted to the new reality of masks, social distancing and Zoom classes. Many students honed their craft on live-streamed productions. Carnegie Mellon even took it a step further by delivering mannequins and supplies to student residences, while CalArts donated sewing machines for mask-making efforts, giving new meaning to the adage “The show must go on.”
The Hollywood Reporter consulted with costume designers and professors to choose 10 top schools based on curriculum, extracurricular programs, class sizes, reputation, alumni success and networking opportunities.