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Publication Date

Summer 2016

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Television, Radio, Film and Theatre and Animation and Illustration


David Kahn


costume, creative, design, imagintion, process, theatrical

Subject Areas

Design; Theater; Performing arts education


Theatrical costume designers are a unique group of people who tap into several different areas in their quest to communicate a character to an audience—they are fashion designers, visual artists, researchers, historians and psychoanalysts. Additionally, they help establish the tone and style of a production as well as the visual through line. This research study sought to understand how costume designers accomplish the task of visually creating a character and to understand if there is a universal process for the designers. Another purpose was to understand how imagination and creativity come into play in the costume design process. Available literature relating to the creative and the costume design processes were reviewed, six common phases were identified, and these phases were then utilized as a lens through which to view four of the nine 2005-2015 Tony Award winning costume designers. Data from video, print, and audio interviews were analyzed and coded according to the six common phases revealing that there are, in fact, commonalities between and characteristics of the creative and costume design process that could be immediately applied to costume designers and students of costume design.