Costume Designers Should Be Included In Merchandising Fashion around Big Budget Films and TV Shows

It has been a long raging debate in Hollywood blockbusters and franchises: Why are costume designers often left out of the merchandising fashion aspect around big budget films and TV shows.

Designers understand that they are “work for hire” in as far as the arrangement they have with studios go. They get on the gig, come up with costumes based on themes and characters and are paid for that effort. That is where the relationship ends.

Nowhere does the arrangement include designer recognition should the studio want to go the merchandising way usually after the movie has become a hit. Much as designers generally accept their plight in this regard, it does not make it any less puzzling that studios would not be keen to engage them on product design when they do decide to merchandise the movie characters, even when the designers show interest during this phase.

Salvador Perez is the president of the Costumes Designers Guild and is of the mind that though designers have no issue with the arrangement that they have with studios, it would come as a breath of fresh air, if when it comes to the merchandising phase, they could at least give recognition to the designer of that particular costume by appending his name to the costume e.g. “designed by Salvador Perez.”

It is widely thought within the film production circles that the studios probably ought to re-think the great benefits there would be in bringing the production costume designer on board to consult on clothing, dolls, game and other memorabilia that come with working on huge projects.

After all, if they did a wonderful job in the costume design process that contributed to the success of a film, then it’s only fair to assume that they might offer a unique perspective on merchandising if they were brought into the fray. The same goes for TV shows or series that become a hit and opt to launch an apparel collection based on the show.

As is the case of Paolo Nieddu, a costume designer twice nominated for an Emmy award for his work on Fox’s hit series Empire who was not asked to participate in the planning of a fashion collection and event inspired by the drama despite showing interest.

Though we may not know the actual reasons why it is so behind the scenes, you can’t help but wonder why designers are often left out of the merchandising fashion part, when they clearly can be of great impact towards the success of the product fashion wise as they clearly were in the design phase to begin with.