Over time I have heard so many things about horrible costume designs, unmet deadlines, and costly costumes. As a costume designer and company owner I do have to say the following comments on these subjects.
As for the costume designs I believe one would have to say "to the eye of the beholder." In my opinion I agree there are some absolute cheap horrible designs out there. It seems it has to do with quantity not quality, so the solution to that would to look for those quality designers out there instead of the cheapest job that can be done.
Furthermore as for pricing, a designer has to be reasonable with their pricing. For instance, the designer has to charge for the materials used in a design, which can be costly; and have to charge for the labor which is usually around $20-$30 an hour. In addition, you have to consider shipping and handling, and costumes can be very heavy. Depending on your budget, choreography, venue etc., costumes vary in price and quality. So if you buy cheap you will most likely get cheap.
Next are unmet deadlines? A deadline is a deadline and once a contract is signed and that deadline has been agreed upon there is no excuse on the companies end if not met; thus a discount for inconvenience should be given. On the other hand, if a client has made some major changes like adding more costumes or changes to embellishments upon a design, then it is the understanding the deadline will be moved ahead to accommodate for such changes.
Lastly, I employ all those to understand if you order a custom handcrafted dance costume make sure to sign a contract so everything, including the deadline, is clear and concise. And if you need a costume come visit my site at http://www.thetutuemporium.com
Keep on Dancing and making our world a beautiful place.