CSA Costume Design Award

The CSA Costume Design Award is given annually to recognize excellence in costume design in a production for theatre, film, television, or other media that involves dressing living performers. Award-winning productions demonstrate creative, innovative, and effective approaches to costume design.

The designer of an award-winning production receives a certificate and a $750 honorarium, funded by the CSA Endowment (if the awardee is not a member of CSA, part of the honorarium will be applied toward membership in CSA).  The designer is invited to present a brief overview of the design process at the National Symposium the following year and receives a $600 travel stipend and day-of-presentation registration fee, also funded by the CSA Endowment, to help defray travel and symposium expenses.

The CSA Costume Design Award, first presented in 2008, reflects the Costume Society of America’s interest in and encouragement of creative visual design. The award has recognized excellence in costume design in various ways over the years: originally awarded for an entire body of work, the current award is given for excellence in a single production.

To be eligible for the award a production must:

  • be for living performers, whether for theatre, dance, opera, film, television, the internet, or other entertainment performances in traditional or non-traditional venues
  • have been performed in the 12 months preceding the nomination deadline

Productions will be evaluated by:

  • demonstrated creative, innovative, and imaginative approach to costume design
  • effective collaboration with the director, design team, and production team
  • contribution of the costume design to the storyline and characterization of the performers
  • quality of the presentation of costume design renderings
  • quality of executed costumes and overall excellence as represented in submitted images and supporting materials
Nominees will be notified of the results two months before the CSA National Symposium. Award results will be announced at the symposium.  The award-winning designer is invited to present an overview of the design concept and process at the following year’s CSA National Symposium.

2018 CSA Costume Design Award Committee Members

  • Connie Furr Soloman, Chair; Arizona State University & cfurrdesign, llc
  • Ashley Gamba, Independent
  • Bobi Garland, Western Costume Research Library & Costume Archive at Western Costume
  • Judy A. Ryerson, University of Nevada Las Vegas
  • Dennis Wright, Brigham Young University
  • Mary Gibson, Retired Costume Designer
  • Johann Stegmeir, University of Richmond & Freelance Costume Designer
  • Alternate: Carol Wood, San Francisco Opera

Application deaadline

is October 15, 2018

Nomination Procedure

Complete the application (click here to download) and submit electronically (as a single folder using a free large file sharing application such as Dropbox or Google Drive).

Past Recipients

Costume Design Award:
Susan Hilferty

The award is given for her work on Salomé, produced at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C.  Hilferty’s research materials and renderings serve to establish a creative and singular point of view, demonstrating the importance of her vision to the resulting innovative interpretation of the stage play.  Ms. Hilferty is the Chair of Design for Stage and Film at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Costume Design Award:
Terry Dresbach

For her work with the television series Outlander, Dresbach produces inspired, thought provoking costumes that clearly define the characters and the world they inhabit. The designer demonstrates expert and introspective attention to detail in design and execution. Ms. Dresbach is a Primetime Emmy Award winner and recipient of the Costume Designer’s Guild Award.

Costume Design Award:

Sonia Berlovitz

For Tartuffe, co-produced by the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, South Coast Repertory Theatre, and Shakespeare Theatre.
Costume Designer Sonia Berlovitz is a recipient of many grants and awards including The Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Best Costume Design award, McKnight Theatre Artists Fellowship, and participation in the juried exhibition World Stage Design in Toronto 2005. Ms. Berlovitz has taught and guest lectured at Fairfield University (CT), New York University, Brandeis University, The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Community and Technical College and The Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Award of Excellence in Professional Costume Design/Technology:
Deborah Nadoolman Landis

Deborah Nadoolman Landis’s distinguished career includes costume design for films such as Animal House, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Coming to America (for which she was nominated for an Academy Award™), as well as for the video Michael Jackson’s Thriller. In addition to serving as president of the Costume Designer’s Guild, she is also a celebrated author, curator, and professor.

Professional Award:
Martin Pakledinaz, 1953-2012

Martin Pakledinaz designed on Broadway, in regional theatre, and internationally for dance, musicals, opera, and film. His creative talents won two Tony Awards and were shared with aspiring theatre artists through teaching. The award honorarium benefits a student scholarship in his name at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Early Career Professional/Student Award
Albulena Borovci

Albulena Borovici earned an MFA in Costume Design from Carnegie Mellon University in May 2013 and also holds a BFA in Scenography from the Academy of the Arts at University of Prishtina. She has studied at the University of Montana and in 2013 received USITT’s prestigious Zelma H. Weisfeld Design & Technology Award.

2009 – 2012
No award granted

May Routh

May Routh is a costume designer in theater, film, and television. Her film work includes: RoninNewsiesSplashMy Favorite YearBeing There, and The Man Who Fell to Earth, while her television work includes Andersonville and Luci and Desi: Before the Laughter. Ms. Routh’s work earned two Emmy Award nominations and has been featured in notable exhibitions and publications.