Programme: Performance Costume - BA (Hons)

Year: 2016

It was the different elements of the course that drew Lily Bailie to study Performance Costume at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA). Since graduating last year, Lily has worked on the seventh season of Game of Thrones as a costume trainee and is about to go back for season eight. Lily offers insight and advice to students who have just joined ECA and to alumni who are just starting out after graduation.

Tell us about your time at ECA

I chose to study costume design at ECA because the programme incorporates so many different elements. During my studies there was a lot of overlap between disciplines which meant we got to do lots of different things including pattern cutting, textile design, life drawing, laser cutting, set design and more.

My favourite memories of my time at ECA were definitely the Costume and Fashion catwalk shows at the end of the year! In first year you are paired with a fourth year to help them finish their graduate collection, which gives you an idea of the intense workload and gives you tips on how to stay organised. I remember staying late with my fourth year in the studio and really understanding how important it is to work hard, love what you do and to bond with your classmates. They were all so close and always there for each other when things got stressful. Come my fourth year, my class was exactly the same - we were spending 9+ hours a day (and weekends!) with each other, so it’s key to help and support one another. This was good preparation for working in Film and TV where it is about who you know - you work in a huge team and you need to be able to work alongside people and support each other.

"[Edinburgh College of Art] set me up with such a diverse set of skills I felt I could confidently work on any task I was given [on set]. I also had an understanding of the stamina and drive needed to work in the industry."

Lily Bailie, 2016 Performance Costume - BA (Hons) graduate

Tell us about your experiences since leaving

When I left ECA I felt exhausted; four years of non-stop university work and internships, it was the first time I had taken a break. However, I was then offered a job in Belfast as a Textiles Trainee for Season 7 of Game of Thrones, so I was straight back into the hard work again.

My biggest achievement since graduating was watching season 7 of Game of Thrones and thinking ‘I was there on the side of that mountain!’ or ‘I stitched that dress!’.

ECA set me up with such a diverse set of skills I felt I could confidently work on any task I was given. I also had an understanding of the stamina and drive needed to work in the industry. Our tutor Ali Mitchell, who had many years of experience in the Film & TV industry, gave us talks about her experiences so I already had an insight for what was ahead.

Through an ECA connection I was offered a job on a WWII film called ‘Zoo’, which lead to another job on a BBC period drama ‘The Woman in White’. Through another connection, I worked on a music video in London and then for a fashion company in Berlin.

When working in costume, it is important to always work hard and make a good impression, because you never know who might get you your next job.

Lily Bailie's graduate collection
Image courtesy of Lily Bailie
Lily Bailie's graduate collection
Lily Bailie's graduate collection
Image courtesy of Lily Bailie
Lily Bailie's graduate collection

Alumni wisdom

Words of advice for anyone about to start a course at ECA is to use every machine and department possible! Don’t be afraid to walk into metalwork and ask for advice, or speak to the textiles technician about the digital printer or get to know the laser cutter and all the amazing things you can create with it.

For those in your final year:

  • Set up a website with your work and create a strong CV
  • Look up all your favourite designers or artists and email them!
  • Don’t be afraid to email around and ask for jobs!

Are you interested in studying Performance Costume - BA (Hons) at Edinburgh College of Art?


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