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Tristan Raines has been teaching higher education since 2014 and currently teaches Costume Design, Design Industry, and Costume Production courses at PACE University in Manhattan. Tristan's educational mission is to make design and industry education diverse and accessible to all students. They works to rewrite and break down the barriers keeping students from achieving their full potential in the education system and as they begin their careers in our fast moving industry. Tristan has received certification in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Leadership from the University of Michigan as well as certification in Inclusive Design for Online Education from the University of Colorado: Boulder. Tristan also volunteers for the non-for-profit education and mentorship organization called Off/the Lane where he mentors and teaches curriculum to seniors and young professionals from all over the country, as they begin to navigate the entertainment industry.

B.S. Technical Theater: Northwest Missouri State University

MFA Costume Design: Boston University

Shakespeare and Musical Theater: Imperial College-London

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Leadership: University of Michigan

Inclusive Design for Online education: University of Colorado-Boulder




Courses Taught:

Fundamentals of Costume Design

Costume Design 1

Costume Design 2

Intermediate Design for all Disciplines

Costume Production 1

Costume History and Décor

Rendering and Graphics

Costume Lab (Innovations)

Industry for Design

Professional Portfolio Seminar 

Practicum of Costume Design

Honors Thesis Topics (Costume Design)


Tristan's primary research focus is grounded in understanding and creating new artistic educational systems and an innovative culture/community through capstone curriculum/pedagogy. Tristan works to updates and re-defines past education systems that no longer match the current industry, yet are still represented in higher education. These systems continue to keep students from achieving their full potential in our industry and continue to contribute to early career artists being unable to feel secure financially and artistically fulfilled. In order to further understand how  the impact of these systems affect design students, as well as how to alter these dated systems, Tristan has began fleshing out several area's of research and study. 

39% of students who graduate with a college education do not use their degree in their current career. Theater and Arts education contributes to this percentage significantly. Not only does this fact contribute to America's idea of artist's worth in a negative way, but it also adds a false affirmation to their ideology of artists.


As Tristan's research continues to be fleshed out and become more specific, he has engaged in several projects and non-for-profit work with organizations like Off/the Lane to begin to develop innovative curriculum to level and normalize these current and relevant tools that are unfortunately not able to be provided at all institutions. Tristan also works with this organization to develop mentorship and continued education post graduation, that provides fundamental support that artists need to break into an industry that is known for putting up unscalable walls.

Tristan also has begun work on a digital community project that would create a safe space that allows students the resources to create global community and have access to diverse perspectives that go beyond just their faculty. This digital platform will not only give fresh and diverse perspectives, but it also provides support by putting in place resources and connections rather then the current trend of having students "figure it out" with paying dues which ultimately causes more harm. This digital platform will also provide students continued peer on peer activities that will create more effective collaborators and artists by putting students face to face with other peers going through the same processes they are. 

Tristan has also began to compile and writing a manuscript, with the hopes of a book development, of tools and resources for early career designers to help bring insight into the challenges facing these artists. Tristan hopes too shed light on the industries dated ideal of how to "Make It" and what success really is.

Finally, Tristan's overall research will be surrounded by their continued professional design career and continuing their art being seen nation wide. Being a relevant working artist is the cornerstone to any teaching and fuels the ability to teach and inspire in the first place. 



Tristan's design work has been reviewed in multiple publications around the country. A select group includes the New York Times, Lighting and Sound America, Time Out,, Theater Mania, Broadway World, Theater Scene, NY Theatre Guide, and Theater Pizzazz.

Tristan has also been profiled in the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Times, The Conscious Costume, and BOB Magazine.

Tristan has contributed to the theatrical textbook: Theatrical Design: An Introduction. 

Taking action
Reviews and Publications

Select Curriculum Projects

**Photos below


This project was based off of the interview with Merce Cunningham and John Cage  where they both speak of the joy they get when they create separately and then see how art can always come together and support the whole of the piece. The learning outcomes of this were to 1. Learn to get information out of initial meetings that will last throughout the process, 2. Create art that can stand alone but also stands proudly and united with other design work, 3. Find out if your work is speaking to the audience the way you want it to speak, and 4. Learn to not rely on other designers to answer questions. Students were given 3 hours to meet and create a storyline and idea, and they were then not allowed to talk until the day of tech. They then went about building and designing their element. On tech day, the students were given 1 hour to write cues and hear music for the first time. We then invited a choreographer into the space where they were able to work for 45 min with the pieces provided. No other info was given. Then for the last 15 min, we filmed a choreographed piece using the elements together for the first time. 


This assignment Is an exploration of found objects but also word association in clothing and culture. Students are given a stock character (Maid-Superhero-ARistocrat) and must create a full look using found objects in the middle of the room. The teams are given certain amount of objects per round while creating the designs. This helps them not only develop skills of planning and observation, but teamwork on how and what to create first


This project is aimed at helping students understand how to navigate design/shop correspondence via digital means. Students are asked to only respond with notes and conversations, in regards to production process' for class, via digital means only. The goal of this is to help them understand what the correct questions to ask when dealing with shops that are not local . This also helps them realize what the correct questions are to ask in order to be clear with their paperwork and correspondence. 


This project is to help students understand how to adapt fabric choices for budget purposes or reproduction purposes . Once students have created a design and chosen fabric, they are then instructed to come up with 3 cost effective/alternate ways to accomplish the desired fabric without buying the chosen fabric. This can be fabric manipulation , close matches, or even custom fabrics.


In these courses, students are in charge of creating their own complete showcase. The goal is to invest in their own futures and allow them to create the showcase that best suits their brand and hopes for their career. Students participate in many projects from how to create inventive branding products, logos, portfolios, and correspondence. They also plan, design, and create not only the space for their showcase (Both physical and Digital) but all branding of that showcase leading up to the event and beyond. 

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