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Costume Design and Wardrobe Technician Certificate

Fundamentals for a career in the entertainment industry

The photo of the stage is from the Broadway production of Kinky Boots (at the Hirschfeld Theatre (running 2013-2019)

Fall 2021 Dates (Remote Online)
SXG 001:
September 21 - November 11, 2021
Time: Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 6:10pm to 9:10pm EDT

Tuition: $2,210
Online Platform: Blackboard - Remote

Outline   Get Updates

In this 8-week certificate program you will learn the fundamentals of costume design, wardrobe, hand stitching techniques, and job search tools. Upon completion, you’ll have the basic tools needed to successfully develop a practical and marketable skill set in the field of costuming that will allow you to define a character through clothing and accessories, a fundamental understanding of wardrobe, and introductory hand sewing skills. Finally, you will create a standard resume and cover letter for use in the entertainment industry.

This program is recommended for newcomers and those interested in learning more about the field, including a basic understanding of industry standards and professional expectations. This remote course will give each student the advantage of learning from multiple professionals actively working in the design and wardrobe industry.

Technology Requirements: High-speed internet connection, a standard laptop or desktop computer that is capable of running the latest browser to stream media, and built-in or external webcam and speakers.


The renderings are by Joshua Burns from the play The Visit a tragi-comedy by Friedrich Durrenmatt; Character: Claire Zachamastian; opening scene, Act I; medium: watercolor and ink

What You Will Learn

  • How to develop and hone skills for entry level employment in the entertainment industry
  • Titles and roles within the Costume Design and Wardrobe teams
  • The importance of team collaboration with multiple departments within the entertainment industry
  • An overview of the fundamental skills needed to design a production, from start to finish
  • How to define a character through the use of clothing and accessories
  • The skills necessary to develop and expand a professional vocabulary
  • Clothing maintenance, including fabric care, costume preparation, and the proper use of allied materials
  • The basics of building and maintaining a wardrobe kit
  • The fundamentals of hand stitching and hemming techniques used in wardrobe and costume design
  • The various methods of attaching buttons and other closures
  • The techniques used by some of the most influential designers in the industry and how their designs help to tell a story
  • Develop rendering skills to portray basic proportion and an understanding of light, shadow, drape, and texture, and how choices tell a story
  • How to create an industry-specific resume and cover letter
  • The roles of the wardrobe and costume design unions and membership benefits

Why FIT?

  • Curriculum created and facilitated by an industry professional working in multiple venues including Broadway, The Metropolitan Opera, film, and television.
  • Certificate was developed by career professionals working in the entertainment industry
  • Learn cutting-edge design skills that are in high demand
  • An immersive learning experience that provides hands-on skill development
  • Engage in conversations with multiple guest speakers in top industry positions
  • This certificate isn’t widely available outside of FIT
  • Earn a certificate from FIT/SUNY, a world renowned college of art and design, business and technology

Meet Our Faculty

Joshua Burns

Joshua Burns
Facilitator and Instructor, FIT's Continuing & Professional Studies; Broadway, Film, and Television Wardrobe and Costume Construction
Over the past three years, Joshua has been a program instructor in FIT’s Center for Continuing and Professional Studies (CCPS) and, most recently, he has focused on restructuring the Wardrobe and Costume Design program to allow students to complete the certificate program in a shorter timeframe, while providing more hands-on and individualized support for students to create a foundation necessary to work within the industry.

Joshua earned a BFA in Scenic Design with a Minor in Costume Design from Ball State University and an MFA in Costume Design and Technology from the University of Virginia. Upon completion of his graduate work, Joshua began working at the Radio City costume shop where he altered and constructed costumes for the annual performance of The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. While at Radio City, he worked on the specialty costumes worn by the Rockettes during a live television performance of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Joshua went on to work at The Metropolitan Opera Men’s Tailoring Department where he assisted in creating costumes for multiple productions for the 2008 season, and has worked on multiple Broadway productions, among them How to Succeed (Daniel Radcliff), Kinky Boots (Billy Porter), Shuffle Along (Billy Porter), two Encores productions, Finian’s Rainbow (Cheyenne Jackson), and The Wiz (Ashanti). He has also worked on two off-Broadway productions at SoHo Rep and Barrow Street Theatre, Wynn Las Vegas production of Le Reve - The Dream, three television shows including the latest live televised NBC production of Jesus Christ Superstar (John Legend and Sara Bareilles), two Broadway national tours (A Chorus Line and Beautiful, The Carole King Musical), the Australian production of Beautiful, The Carole King Musical and three Chicago theatre productions, including at Steppenwolf Theatre. During his career, Joshua has worked on multiple live television performances, including The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Today Show, America’s Got Talent and, most recently, A Capital Fourth 2019. Most notably, his costume work includes The Radio City Christmas Spectacular costume displayed at the 5th Avenue Swarovski store, as well as assisting in Billy Porter’s Wardrobe for his third album, Billy’s Back on Broadway (2014).

Lisa Isley

Lisa Isley
Instructor, FIT's Continuing & Professional Studies; Wardrobe Supervisor, Jersey Boys NWS
Lisa has been working in the costume and wardrobe field for over 20 years. Immediately after graduating with a B.A. in Theatre from De Sales University, Lisa worked in the Wardrobe Department and served as make-up coordinator at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg; she then went on to work in the Costume Shop at Center Stage Theatre, Baltimore, where she served as assistant to the head tailor. In addition, Lisa worked directly with the Property Department assisting in the alterations, repairs, and the creation of soft goods. During her time at Center Stage Theatre, Lisa also served as Dresser for the Wardrobe Department. Since moving to New York, Lisa has worked as a member of the wardrobe team on numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway productions such as Memphis (Adam Pascal, Montague Glover), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Stephanie J. Block). How to Succeed… (Tammy Blanchard, Ellen Harvey, Mary Faber), Cinderella (Rebecca Luker) and Beautiul, The Carol King Musical (Jesse Mueller, Abby Mueller, Chilina Kennedy, Venessa Carlton). In addition to her time at Beautiful, she stepped in as Wardrobe Assistant Supervisor when needed.

Lisa also spent several years as a Wardrobe Supervisor on multiple Broadway Touring Productions, including Grease (Eddie Mekka) Cats, Chicago, and Movin’ Out. More recently she was the Wardrobe Supervisor for The First National Tour of School of Rock. Lisa has also worked on multiple live television performances, including The View (NYC), The Today Show (NYC), A Capital Fourth 2019 (Washington D.C.), and, most recently, NBC’s Best of Broadway, One Night Only (NYC). In addition, Lisa has worked on numerous publicity shoots for major publications. Currently, Lisa works as the Wardrobe Supervisor for Jersey Boys NWS where she oversees a team of multiple dressers, members of the hair team, and numerous stitchers and day workers.

Michael Harrell

Michael Harrell
Instructor, FIT's Continuing and Professional Studies; Costume Designer; and Costume and Wardrobe Tailor/Stitcher

Michael Harrell is an accomplished, multi-hyphenate designer with an extensive body of work that spans over 30 years-within the fashion, film, theater and television industries. As a hybrid design talent, his work is an eclectic combination of a visual storyteller combined with a master craftsman evolving from his years of travelling and working in over 25 countries.

During his fashion career, he honed his skills at Christian Dior, Donna Karan, Diane Von Furstenberg and Anne Klein - to name a few. Michael eventually merged his love of music with his fashion sense when he became the costume designer for the legendary singer Patti LaBelle. His work appeared on album/CD covers, concert stages and national television shows (his custom designed/tailored garment-worn by Ms. LaBelle when receiving her first Grammy Award-is now in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture). Michael’s work has appeared on such music celebrities as: Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani, Harry Styles and Madonna. Also, his costume building/tailoring and master technical skills have appeared on the stages of several Broadway productions Tina: The Musical, Walt Disney’s Frozen, The Book of Mormon, A Raisin in the Sun (with Denzel Washington), The Great Comet of 1812 (with Josh Groban), Misery (with Bruce Willis), A Delicate Balance (with Glenn Close), and M.J. (the upcoming Michael Jackson musical) to name a few. His television and movie credits include: Ugly Betty (ABC Network) The Young Pope (with Jude Law and Diane Keaton), Gold (with Matthew McConaughey), Top Five (with Chris Rock), We The People (Shondra Rhimes/ABC production) and Death Saved My Life (Lifetime network).

As an alumnus of the Fashion Institute of Technology, he has been a guest lecturer for several degree/certificate programs prior to helming his own class within the university. Under Michael’s tutelage, several of his students have ventured onto successful careers in the live theater, film and television industries.


Outline

  • Creation of industry-specific resume and cover letter
  • Completion of in class basic sewing techniques
  • Wardrobe care and maintenance tutorials and documents specific to the course exercises
  • Using an assigned play, students will create documents including the following:
    • Script analysis
    • Research boards
    • Renderings
    • Costume plot with scene breakdown
    • Budget
    • Character closet

Center for Continuing and Professional Studies (CCPS)

FIT's CCPS offers credit and noncredit courses in fashion, business, design, computer technology, and marketing, as well as a range of certificate programs to help you enter and advance in the fashion and related industries. With short seminars, multi-session courses, and flexible schedules, you can learn at a time and pace you can manage and afford.

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