Costume Shoppe keeps Dallas dressed up


Ellen Case

Michael Robinson, owner of Dallas Costume Shoppe, poses with several costume pieces in the shop, located outside Deep Ellum.

Edward Ruiz, Contributing Writer

Michael Robinson meets clients one at a time at his Costume Shoppe in Deep Ellum. The pandemic has slowed business down, but for a costume shop that has been open for over 100 years, owner and CEO Robinson knows the shop will go on. 

Currently Robinson is creating costumes for theaters filming video productions. He said before the pandemic the shop averaged six shows a month. Now they are working on one at a time.

He said, “We’re in the middle of one now for MainStage Irving, and then we have a production for Pegasus Theatre coming up.”

Robinson, a Dallas College Brookhaven Campus alumnus, returned to campus to work on productions. He eventually taught theater courses at Brookhaven and North Lake campuses.

Robinson rented costumes from Dallas Costume Shoppe when he worked on productions at Brookhaven. He said, “The owner who I’d known for years … sent word to me that he had an offer I couldn’t refuse.” That offer was to buy Dallas Costume.

The previous owner continued to work at the shop for 15 years after he sold it. “He stayed on and kept the day-to-day stuff going while I kind of pushed us into the theater design world and doing costumes for theaters,” Robinson said. “It was a good thing for everybody.” 


The shop was originally located in downtown Dallas. Robinson said the shop was from a company out of Chicago, and the original owner had several shops around the country.

“I think we’re the last of the original shops, but they did costumes for theater productions for early movies when movies were getting their start,” Robinson said. The shop was located downtown until the day after World War II when their rent was increased from $50 to $500.  They moved out immediately.

The shop moved behind the Music Hall at Fair Park where they were located until the ’70s, Robinson said.


Robinson said the shop was doing well until Sept. 11, 2001. The shop worked on many corporate events, but everything was shut down after 9/11. “All Halloween parties died, nothing was being done,” he said.

After 9/11 corporations were not holding large events so as not to put guests at risk. “Now of course it’s all about health. We want to make sure everybody’s healthy,” Robinson said.

He said they are now only taking appointments for clients. “We’re trying to keep everybody safe, my employees and then anybody that comes in,” he said. All employees and patrons are required to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines while in the shop. 


Robinson directed “Hansel and Gretel,” a marionette show at Brookhaven in the Spring 2020 semester. It was supposed to have a two-week run but the show was forced to cancel when college activities stopped due to the pandemic. “It was really clocking up some great coverage, press coverage and reviews from different online things,” Robinson said. “I’m sad the kids didn’t get a full run on it.”

Robinson said it would be great to bring it back. Everything from the production is in storage now and ready to do it again.  

The sets for the production, Robinson said, were given to Pix Smith, the founder and director of the Dallas Puppet Theater. Robinson and Smith are partners in the Dallas Puppet Theater.

Smith said the responses to the puppet show were great. “What’s interesting about the show is that you honestly do have people who are completely lost in the world they’re not quite understanding at the moment,” he said, comparing the characters to people managing the pandemic. “And then if it all goes well … it turns out to be a happy ending.”

Darise Error, head of the theater department at Brookhaven, worked with Robinson and Smith to bring “Hansel and Gretel” to life. Error said, “I have worked with Michael extensively in the 16 years I have been at Brookhaven and consider him a genius, a fine artist and friend.”

Their work is helping to keep the art form of puppets and marionettes alive. They are hoping to reprise the “Hansel and Gretel” puppet show in 2021.