Theresa trying on some of her costume creations ©Theresa Wilson

Have you ever spent time doodling away, daydreaming about being a famous fashion designer? Or wondered about the ideas and creation process behind beautiful clothes and costumes? This month we chatted to Theresa Wilson, who works as a costume designer, creating incredible pieces to be worn in all manner of theatre and opera performances. How do you go from sketches on paper to real life designs that bring a character to life? Let’s find out…

Describe your job in five words

Creativity, passion, challenge, teamwork, travel!

Hedgehog costumes for the Vienna State Opera ©Theresa Wilson

What sort of costumes do you design?

All kinds! Depending on the concept the costumes vary from historical and classic to modern and unusual. The great thing about being a costume designer is that there is no creative limit…

How did you become a costume designer?

Art, music and culture were always present and a big part of my life growing up. From an early age, I loved crafting and decided that I wanted to study fashion design. Then during my studies I got accepted to do an internship at the Vienna State Opera. Immediately I was fascinated by the people, the feeling of being in the theatre, and how all forms of art come together. You could say it was love at first sight – I’ve stuck with it ever since.

How do you start designing a particular costume? What’s the first step of the process?

Usually by discussing the costume we are designing with my team. Together we share ideas and develop a concept. After that, I research time periods, themes and fabrics and start to sketch or collect pictures that inspire me!

Another of Theresa’s amazing costume designs © Theresa Wilson

What’s your best piece of advice for someone who is interested in pursuing a career like yours?

Building a network of contacts is really important in this type of job. Try and meet people in the business, even if they don’t do the exact job you are interested in, and aim to do an internship to see if you like it!

If you hadn’t become a designer, what other job would you like to have?

Some other kind of designer I think, or maybe a teacher… But really, there’s no other job I could see myself doing, I just love it!

If you’re a budding designer, find out more about fashions from around the world and try your hand at creating some for yourself with our newest title Around the World Fashion Sketchbook.