Costume Design Program Named Among Top 10 in the Country

For the sixth year in a row, the program was ranked among Top 10 by The Hollywood Reporter.
Four students and a professor lean over a light green table. The table is covered with letter paper-sized costume illustrations.

The Master of Fine Arts in costume design program is noted in The Hollywood Reporter for its training in both costume design and production, its emphasis on digital graphic skills, entrepreneurial approaches to the field and environmentally conscious practices.

“We are thrilled that our outstanding costume design program is earning this well-deserved recognition,” Courtney Crappell, dean of the Conservatory, said. “When you see UMKC listed with these other top-10 schools, you get a much clearer understanding of the level of excellence and top-value we offer here in Kansas City.”

A student sits a sewing machine and works. On the wall beside her is a colorful assortment of thread.

The Hollywood Reporter also made positive mention of the plan to completely revise the curriculum for Fall 2023. Program head Brandon McWilliams said the changes come from a desire to reflect current trends in live entertainment design.

“We’re making space in our coursework for emerging technologies and digital graphic skills, and we want to help our students develop entrepreneurial toolkits,” McWilliams said. “Our overall focus though remains the same – to prepare practitioners to be successful costume designers, managers and technicians.”

McWilliams arrived at UMKC in August 2022 and has been impressed with the program, particularly its students. An alumnus of another institution on the Top 10 list, Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, McWilliams appreciates the recipe for success at the Conservatory.

A mannequin with a measuring tape is in the forefront. Behind it is a large table with several ilustrations on it. A professor and student look at the illustrations.

“It seems like this place has always offered students an experience so balanced in practical and theoretical approaches that it makes for a really well-prepared and adaptable artist,” McWilliams said. “It’s our students that set us apart, there is such a long-standing trend of success in the profession and in academia from our graduates.”

UMKC was ranked among the University of Southern California, David Geffen School of Drama at Yale and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

Here’s the full list.

Students and a professor work in a studio. One sews, two look at illustrations on a table and another looks at costumes.

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