Off-campus UNL users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your NU ID and password. When you are done browsing please remember to return to this page and log out.

Non-UNL users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Impact of Dress: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the Costume Designer's Process

Heather M Striebel, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Theatre is a collaborative art and one that is often known as a team sport. Without individuals working in a collaborative fashion, a theatrical production does not have hope to live up to its potential. This research aims to understand and synthesize a costume designer’s process and how that process serves to influence the actor’s creative process. The collaboration between a costume designer and an actor is often intertwined and for both parties to have a successful experience they must, to a certain degree, rely on the other. This research utilizes the Qualitative research methodology of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Professional theatrical costume designers are interviewed using a semi-structured, open ended questioning model. The data is analyzed using the IPA methodology and five Super-Ordinate themes (communication, resources, practice-based learning, time and dress as character development) are developed to draw conclusions from this data. Three analytic categories were developed using the study’s conceptual framework as a guide. Data driven conclusions are 1) costume designer’s do have an individualized design process but this process can vary greatly between designers and 2) costume design process is influenced by the many “voices” that are part of the collaboration process of theatre. Recommendations from this study are outlined for current costume designers, actors, students of design, emerging designers and for future research. This research draws from apparel design research and will support the future development of a design process best practices guide for costume designers. This future guide will be used to support design process development for professionals within the theater industry.

Subject Area

Fashion|Textile Research|Design

Recommended Citation

Striebel, Heather M, "Impact of Dress: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the Costume Designer's Process" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI29166354.