THE THEATRE OF COSTUME DESIGN

Since the age of 15, I’ve dreamed of studying at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and becoming an acclaimed Costume Designer.

2 Jun 2017

Costume Design
Stephanie Eland

Since the age of 15, I’ve dreamed of studying at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and becoming an acclaimed Costume Designer.

Four years on and I’ve been able to achieve my dream. I’m one of only six students in the nation to be accepted into Australia’s best costume design course – the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Costume Design at NIDA.

NIDA is an elite college aiming to develop Australia’s creative and cultural sector, whereby graduates are highly sought after and who often secure work around the world.

I absolutely love costume design. To me, it incorporates the perfect blend of creativity, history and science as it often calls on advanced logic and problem-solving skills. It allows you to not just think, but to leap outside the box and create functional fantasy.

First and foremost costumes need to look good. But what people don’t know is that they also need to be functional. For example, theatre performers (‘players’) and actors not only need to look amazing, but they also need to move around freely and interchange costumes quickly, frequently and effortlessly – that’s where the science comes into play.

Growing up I had dreams of becoming either a doctor or a nutritionist, but towards the end of my schooling my interests and passions started to change. I found myself becoming obsessed with DC and Marvel characters and fascinated by the fashion found in franchises like Sherlock Holmes and Dr Who – I wanted to try and replicated the various costume designs.

There’s so much variety in costume design and the work is extremely challenging. It’s incredibly technical and requires immense concentration as most costumes are made by hand with phenomenal detail.

I love the challenge of creating beautiful and functional garments, so to follow my dreams I needed to hone my skills, build a portfolio of work, and immerse myself in the culture of costumes.

I knew the NIDA application process was going to be tough. I also knew moving to Sydney and studying there for three years was going to be even tougher. I needed to prepare.

TAFE gave me the opportunity to learn more about my craft and build my portfolio using garments I’d made as assessment pieces exhibited at World Fashion Day, the ‘Fashion Incubator’ at Maroochydore’s Sunshine Plaza, and our final TAFE assessment, ‘Duo Decim’, which featured in the 2017 TAFE Queensland East Coast Creative Showcase. As ‘Duo Decim’ Director I liaised with event organisers, drove the creative theme of the show and managed all of the logistics – on top of presenting my own label.

These practical hands-on assessment experiences gave me the skills, confidence and portfolio to stand out during the application process.

My next goal is to find work in theatre costume design and expand my portfolio so I can one day hopefully move into film and TV. I’d love to work backstage or on a set somewhere at an exotic location for the next blockbuster movie.

Tafe tales

"YOU'RE NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN NEW TRICKS"

"DOING SCHOOL DIFFERENTLY"

"THE THEATRE OF COSTUME DESIGN"

"FROM SASSY SUPERHERO TO SULTRY EGYPTIAN VAMPIRE"

"BUILDING MY OWN BUSINESS"

"WHY I BECAME A FITNESS MODEL"

"CRAFTING A CAREER IN COSTUME DESIGN"

"SAVING MY FIRST LIFE"

"THE FINISH LINE"

"KARATE: A SPIRITUALITY I LIVE MY LIFE BY"

"I WANT TO BE THE NEXT WIGGLE"

"BEING A MUM IS EVERYTHING TO ME"

"I’M OLD BUT I’M NOT OBSOLETE"

"THE BEST NIGHT EVER"

"TATTOO: MY LIFE STORY IS ON ME"

"MUSIC IS MY ADDICTION"

"MY TWIN DIED, WHILE I SURVIVED"

"RETURNING TO WORK AFTER HAVING KIDS"

© TAFE Queensland East Coast 2017.
RTO 0418 | CRICOS 02004B.