Kara McLeod


Summary of Qualifications

  • Nineteen years teaching at FIDM, Los Angeles
  • Over 20 years teaching/staff experience at the university/college level
  • Six years professional experience film/TV/commercial projects
  • Over thirty years professional experience in theater for a range of companies including: South Coast Repertory, Center Theater Group, Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, the Getty Museum, Laguna Playhouse, and Disney Imagineering
  • Contributing author to Masquerade: Essays on Tradition and Innovation Worldwide (Editor: Deborah Bell) – McFarland Publishing
  • Historic fashion and textile adviser to Dr. Paul Koudounaris on his book, Heavenly Bodies.
  • In progress on a costume history textbook exploring the symbiotic relationship between popular fashion, social history and film.
  • Patent holder and designer of MicPac, a moisture resistant, one piece case for live sound applications.


Relevant Academic Experience

Professor, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles, 2000 to present

  • Classes taught: History of Fashion/Décor, Costume Crafts, Theater Analysis, Costume Design for Film and Television and Construction Lab for the nationally acclaimed third year Advanced Costume Design program. Other classes: Art, Culture and Costume; 20th Century Designers; Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, History of Film and Social Psychology
  • Completely restructured History class curriculum with unconventional “backwards” approach resulting in significant improvement in student participation, retention and evaluations.
  • Costume Crafts class encompasses a wide variety of techniques including foam sculpting, millinery, thermoplastics and workroom safety.
  • Restructured curriculum for Theater Analysis course to integrate Theater History with critique and analysis of contemporary shows.
  • Wigmaster and student adviser for nationally televised annual Debut show.
  • Taught “Fashion Uncovered- 20th Century Designers” for the World Strides program in 2015, an international study program for high school students to earn college credit.


Adjunct Professor, Concordia University, Irvine, California, 2014 to present

  • Class taught: Costume Design
  • Re-tooled syllabus to increase student participation and skill set


Adjunct Professor, Santa Ana College, Santa Ana, California, 2017 to present

  • Classes taught: Costume Design, Intro to Fashion 


Senior Staff Wardrobe, University of California, Los Angeles, 2000 to 2006

  • Supervised and mentored students in the UCLA MFA, undergraduate, and work study programs on student production related projects. Established “Dresser Boot Camp” training program for student crew members. Conducted workshops in basic costume skills and more advanced techniques as warranted. Created and taught the Shop Safety program for incoming freshmen.
  • Developed comprehensive Costume Shop Manual – a detailed “how to” on bringing a production into the Costume Shop and getting it out again.
  • Managed Costume Shop financial transactions, facilities, and supplies.
  • Managed and restructured rental operations with a new inventory system, increasing rental profits within the first two years from $3,000 to $10,000 annually.
  • Acted as interim Costume Shop Manager for academic year 2003.


Costume Crafts Supervisor, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, 1999 to 2000

  • Supervised and mentored students in the Cal Arts MFA, undergraduate, and work study on student production related projects. Supervised and trained student crews. Conducted skills and technique workshops. Reorganized Crafts Shop for use by students.
  • Lead dyer/painter, milliner, and wig/makeup supervisor for student productions.
  • Established safety protocols, brought Costume Shop up to current OSHA standards.


 Recent  Professional Experience

Product Developer

·         Designer, patternmaker and joint patent holder for Wireless Mic Belts. Our innovative Belt Pac is a one piece, moisture resistant carrier for body mics which protects the pack components and simplifies onstage use. Currently our product is being used in a variety of venues; academic theaters, churches and professional theaters, including the Broadway production of The Book of Mormon.

Wardrobe Supervisor

  • Kaiser Permanente Educational Theater Program 2010- 2013

Supervision and shop support for 6 touring educational shows ranging from kindergarten- high school audiences. Established new systems and protocols for touring shows and created training programs for actors working without crew support. Managed vendors, budgets and freelance employees.


Director- Theater

The Relevant Stage- 2011 The Christmas Carol


 Costume Designer – Theater

  • Nottingham Productions, Simi Valley- 2016 to present: Nottingham Renaissance Faire and Tumbleweed Township (Director of Costuming)
  • Chromolume Theater, Los Angeles- 2018: Dessa Rose (Los Angeles premier)
  • Chromolume Theater, Los Angeles- 2017: Pacific Overtures
  • Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles- 2017: The Tempest (Associate Costume Designer)
  • Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles- 2016: Much Ado About Nothing
  • Little Fish Theater- 2016: Pick of the Vine
  • Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles- 2015: Twelfth Night (Associate Costume Designer)
  • Theater of NOTE-2014:I Wanna Hold Your Hand
  • Coeurage Theater Company-2014: Trey Parker’s Cannibal! The Musical!
  • Coeurage Theater Company-2014: Andronicus
  • La Mirada Center for the Performing Arts-2014: Floyd Collins
  • Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles- 2013: The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Associate Costume Designer)
  • Little Fish Theatre- 2013: Grace and Glorie
  • Chromolume Theater- 2013: The Musical of Musicals, the Musical!
  • Sustaining Sound Theater Company- 2013: Little Women, The Musical
  • Coeurage Theatre Company- 2012: Assassins
  • The Relevant Stage 2008 – 2011: Kiss Me Kate; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; The Last Five Years; Forever Plaid Urinetown; Bat Boy; Over Here, Over There; Acts of Desperation; Singing Jailbirds; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; The Christmas Carol
  • Broadway in the Park 2010: The Sound of Music
  • Alzheimer’s Association Annual Benefit: A Night at Sardi’s 2010:The World Goes Round
  • Actor’s Co-Op 2008: The Glass Menagerie
  • Collage Dance Theater 2007: My Beowulf


Costume Designer – Film

  • Force Storm Entertainment- 2016: Grey Knights (In production)
  • Force Storm Entertainment- 2014: The Betrayal
  • FDB Productions- 2013:Father’s Day Breakfast
  • Faulty Premise Productions- 2007: Beauty and the Beast
  • Cineira/RLR Advertising- 2007:A. Care (commercial)
  • Ultraviolet Pictures- 2007: Addiction of Ethan Lonemeyer
  • Primal Energy Productions- 2007: Cell
  • Shake State Productions- 2006: The Racewalker; I’m In the Band; Alive and Well

            (I’m In the Band nominated for Best Production Design at the Hollywood DV Film Festival)



Costume Craftsperson 

  • Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, 2018 Henry IV -As the Costume Weapons Coordinator I was responsible for safety padding and creating custom leather gear for weapons.
  • Center Theater Group, Los Angeles, CA 1997-2002 – Multiple shows including: Romeo and Juliet; Cider House Rules; Flower Drum Song
  • Walt Disney Imagineering – Figure Finishing, Hollywood, CA 2000 – A variety of projects for Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure, Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland



  • The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire- Southern 2009-2011 Wigs and hairpieces for Queen Elizabeth I
  • Victoria Wood Wigs- wig construction for projects including The Negotiator (1998) and Babylon 5. Developed a wig lace custom dye palette for performers of color.


Historic Costume Consultant

  • 2008 to present, Exhibition Curator/Guest Speaker, Muller House Museum
  • 2003, Costume/Millinery Consultant, Banning Residence Museum
  • 2001 to present, Costume Advisor, Saint Ives Historical Society


(A detailed listing of professional credits is available upon request)



Professional Memberships/Listings

United States Institute of Theater Technology (USITT)

Costume Society of America (CSA)







2008, Master of Business Administration, CSU Dominguez Hills

2007, Bachelor of Science – Applied Studies (Design/Business), CSU Dominguez Hills

1997, Associate of Arts – Advanced Theater Costume Design (Cum Laude), FIDM



Alan Armstrong, Faculty, UCLA(Ret)/Chair, FIDM, 760.218.7043

Tito Ladd, Technical Director, Kaiser Permanente Educational Theater, 603.682.6017

Sasha McMullin, Craftsperson/Dyer/Painter, CTG, 323.876.1842

Dena Teeter, Owner, A Step In Time Costumes, 949.582.2974

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