The Costume Designers Guild – Overview

You may be wondering, “What does a COSTUME DESIGNER do?” A COSTUME DESIGNER transforms the words of the script into visual imagery and creates the look of a character. Costume design helps to create believable characters and supports the narrative in a fictional universe. In other words, costume design is storytelling. We’ll be showing you some of the art of this fascinating field. And we’ll be introducing you to some of the leaders in the craft who help to bring the fine art of storytelling to the screen.

A COSTUME DESIGNER creates the look of a character in film or television. This requires detailed research and director’s vision. Often, the costumes set fashion trends that inspire fashion designers and impact world culture.

THE COSTUME DESIGNERS GUILD is Local 892 of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.). The Guild represents COSTUME DESIGNERS, ASSISTANT COSTUME DESIGNERS and COSTUME ILLUSTRATORS working at the highest levels of skill and expertise in motion pictures, television and commercials. The CDG promotes and protects the economic status of its members while improving working conditions and raising standards for our craft. The Guild’s first and foremost function is to protect its members. We do this by enforcing contracts and intervening on the member’s behalf with the employer and filing grievances, when appropriate and necessary. We also negotiate basic minimum wage from which the member then negotiates upwards with the producer.  Members are encouraged to call the Guild office at any time for assistance. The office staff is available to help Guild members interpret and understand their contracts.


The Costume Designers Guild – A Brief History

The COSTUME DESIGNERS GUILD aspires to raise the stature of the Costume Design profession within the entertainment community commensurate with the incalculable contribution Costume Designers make to each motion picture, television, or commercial, illuminating the characters with accuracy and integrity, thereby enhancing the story.

The Costume Designers Guild was founded in 1953 by a group of 30 passionate motion picture Costume Designers who found strength in joining forces, responding to the changing needs of the motion picture industry. Today its membership includes approximately 875 Costume Designers, Commercial Costume Designers/Stylists, Assistant Costume Designers, and Illustrators working throughout the world in every kind of moving picture including motion picture, television, animation, commercials, and music video.

Approximately 700 members live in the greater Los Angeles Area. From 1953 to 1976, at the close of the “Golden Age” of Hollywood, the Guild functioned as an independent organization, promoting costume designers and negotiating independent contracts with the major studios to protect members with a minimum wage and health plan as the transition was made from studio employee to freelance designer. The demands of television production schedules also influenced the development of the Guild as changes occurred in the television industry during this period.

In 1976, when its membership grew to nearly 100, the Costume Designers Guild affiliated with The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE or simply IA), and became IA Local 892. This secured broader bargaining power for the Guild. IATSE has international jurisdiction in both the United States and Canada. Local 892 is just one of the Hollywood Locals under the IATSE umbrella.

The Costume Designers Guild promotes research, artistry, and technical expertise in costume design in the field of moving pictures whether it is animation, commercial, television, motion picture, music video or any future media utilizing moving images. The Costume Designers Guild produces a glamorous annual awards program recognizing excellence in costume design with five competitive awards for commercials, television, and motion pictures. Legendary designers are inducted into the Costume Designers Guild Hall of Fame and honorary awards are presented.

Salvador Perez is presently serving as President of the Costume Designers Guild.

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