Alumnus: Claire Collins          Graduated: 2003                      Job: Designer

Costume Alumnus Claire Collins reveals how the tight relationship on this course gives students the contacts for successful careers. After working in the Industry for 10 years, the costume course is still a major part of her professional circle.

After Graduating in 2003 Claire Collins began work immediately on ITV Poirot as a Costume Trainee, she was subsequently awarded the BBC Vision Costume Design Apprenticeship. Claire said, “I have now worked in the film & TV industry for 10 years across a broad range of genres including film, drama, comedy & even factual. I have worked my way up through the costume department; starting as trainee, progressing to costume standby, supervisor, assistant designer & designer. I now work regionally in the midlands, mainly as a Costume Supervisor whilst raising a family.”

Claire talked about her involvement with the course since leaving and how she gives work placements to current students on the course. “On my very first day on Poirot I was shocked at how little I knew about the Film/TV industry. I contacted BA Costume & offered to talk to the students about the industry. Since then I have maintained strong links with the course to help deliver current industry practice. I was able to create a master class workshop allowing the students to have a greater understanding of job roles, the onset environment & what is expected of the costume department, aside from design. 

I was lucky enough to become part of the BA costume team as a Senior Lecturer in 2007. Working at AUB alongside professional practice in the industry enabled me to begin offering regular work placement opportunities & onset visits to enhance the students understanding of the industry. This has continued since I left AUB in 2010. Working closely with AUB we have succeeded in providing 3 years of successful rolling work placements on various productions such as Hustle and Dancing on the Edge.” 

Claire worked with three final year students: Rebecca Box, Imogen Holness and Vanessa Preuss. Each has undertaken work placements within the costume department on BBC Father Brown and WPC 56, both set in 1950’s. Claire says, “Each two week work placement offers a variety of experiences from dressing supporting artists, helping with continuity on set, costume alterations, dyeing, breaking down, laundry & even dressing hats”

Rebecca Box commented on the experience with Claire saying; “Getting the chance to go on work experience with Claire Collins on the BBC Drama WPC 56, has really helped me to further develop my skills in my chosen specialism of Costume for Film and Television. I found the experience of working in a professional industry environment hugely beneficial. It gave me the chance to practice what I had been taught at University, which I have benefited from on many other projects since then. I learned quite a lot in just one week of working with Claire whether in regards to on-set etiquette or general workings of the Costume Department in the Television Industry. I am very grateful that I got the opportunity to work with her as it gave me the chance to prove myself and to gain some additional practical knowledge, which has prepared me for working in the industry after graduation. Through working with Claire I have been given additional openings for work experience, such as working on period BBC and ITV productions as a Costume Trainee, for which she had put my name forward. I cannot be grateful enough that my course has been keeping in contact with alumni such as Claire Collins, who give us students the opportunity to get crucial work experience in the professional world.”