There are many career opportunities in the field of costume. You can research historical clothing, design costumes for stage and film actors, and catalog clothing acquisitions in a museum. But you can also help actors dress for big stage shows, make jewelry and wigs, source materials around the globe, and pattern garments used by multiple people over decades. Those are all careers that begin with the study of clothing, or costume.

Amy Van Every

Passion weaves together the career of painter/dyer Amy Van Every. She took a fascination that began in college and used that as a guide; “follow what you’re interested in, and be open to discovering that on the way,” she says. In her first years at the University of Oregon, Van Every took an off-loom weaving class. Enthralled with chemical dyeing, she began to take on projects and independent studies in the drama department as an art and textiles major. Her efforts culminated in an investigative project dying fibers, the swatch book from which is still in possession by the university…

Suzy Furrer

Suzy Furrer, founder and CEO of Apparel Arts Productions, has crafted a career that combines it all – creating, educating, and learning herself. From starting her own knitwear line to founding an entire school, Furrer is ample inspiration for making it your own way, but it was not without the ideal combination of hard work, experience, and even a bit of serendipity that she was able to get there. After graduating from the Academy of Fashion and working as a freelance patternmaker
for more than 10 years, she started to teach classes in San Francisco…

Cover of Salen’s book, Corsets: Historical Patterns & Techniques

Jill Salen

Jill Salen, British costume maker and lecturer, has snatched almost every single job she’s had with a simple phone call. Her mellifluous pitch exudes wisdom and confidence, a vocal embodiment of the advice she offered to me in our interview: “Always just ask. Always approach them.” In many ways, Salen’s career is a chronicle of this attitude. At 17 years old, she knew precisely what she wanted to study, applying to fashion schools and boldly proclaiming her interest in costume, even in the face of admissions offices that drew a clear line between the two…

Maria Garcia

For Maria Garcia, much of her work is about storytelling. “It’s playing, experimenting,
building… [it’s] always different,” she tells me. And she really does make it sound anything but dull. Garcia’s work as a costume designer and artist spans theater, opera, film, and dance, her career narrative a testament to the flexibility of her work. She is always pushing the boundaries.
Her work teems with lifeforce, bringing air into the stories she tells. And the key to such visionary projects…

The interviews you see here will give you a glimpse into the paths these costume professionals have taken. We invite you to sit back and take in their tips, tricks, and contagious enthusiasm!

Professional Makeup Artist

Jerrilyn Lanier-Duckworth

Creative at Bridging the Gap: A Look Into African American Hair & Makeup for Theatre

Costume Designer & Production Supervisor

Anita Yavich, New York, NY

Jai Alltizer, San Francisco Opera

Assistant Costume Shop Director

Kristi Johnson, Santa Fe Opera

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Design School Director

Suzy Furrer,

Oakland, California

Costume Supervisor

Galen Till, San Francisco Opera

San Francisco, CA

Senior Crafts Artisan & Footwear Specialist

Jersey McDermont, San Francisco Opera

San Francisco, CA