About Costume Symposium

In 2017 award-winning costume designer Susannah Buxton was invited to speak at a costume symposium for young technicians and designers held at the Opera House in Oslo, Norway.  The experience inspired her to set up a similar event in the UK.  This was held in London in June 2018 and there will be further events in other parts of the country.

Why we started

Practices which support costume design, such as millinery, corsetry, embroidery and tailoring, are often taken for granted and the results achieved are rarely acknowledged. Costume Symposium events aim to recognise and demonstrate these extraordinary and in some cases endangered skills, and help maintain the high quality of production in every area of the arts and entertainment industries.

Who Costume Symposium is for

Some of the technicians working in theatre, opera, film and television work at home in relative isolation and on low pay. They often have little chance to see how others work. Costume Symposium events will enable them to share their knowledge and enthusiasm, hear from experienced practitioners and try out new skills.

What we do

The first UK costume symposium for young technicians and designers took place in June 2018. It consisted on a day of talks, with a costume demonstration and panel discussion on training for costume makers, and two days of practical workshops in corsetry, embellishment and patination, handmade gloves, men's period tailoring and millinery. Planning for the next event outside London is underway.

Costume Symposium videos

Watch this video from the first UK Costume Symposium in London (15-19 June 2018) to see what it’s all about.

Here’s a trailer for a video from the Crafts Council in which Susannah Buxton talks about her career as a costume designer and why it’s important to share knowledge and experience with designers and makers through events such as Costume Symposium.  To see the whole film visit the link at the end of the trailer and scroll down the Crafts Council page.

Thanks to the City & Guilds of London Art School and Cosprop for their support for Costume Symposium 2018.

Photos of Costume Symposium 2018 workshops © Andreas Sterzing

what participants said about Costume Symposium 2018

Overall a brilliant experience, so nice to meet and share space with other costume professionals, especially as there are so few times when these meetings occur … WELL DONE ALL!

Roll on next year, there is definitely a need for this meeting, learning and discourse among the costume community.

Really interesting and diverse talks that were inspiring and educational in equal measures.

Inspired in so many ways - Michele Clapton's journey into costume, her thinking and processes, the workshop with Schultz and Wiremu, discussions, meeting others. So encouraging feeling part of a supportive community.

Great to see people at the heights of their careers, who were prepared to talk very openly and genuinely to us.

I was able to explore an area of costume creation that I hadn't previously had much experience of, learned loads of techniques and will now be able to put them into use.

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