Wardrobe AssistantJob Description:
Wardrobe assistants help to make, find and look after clothes and costumes used in theatre, film and TV productions.Job Category:
What you will do:
- help to buy and hire costume items
- look after the costumes between takes or scenes
- mend and alter items
- pack and unpack costumes and accessories
- clean, steam and iron garments
- help to make pieces and put costumes together
- fit costumes onto performers
- keep continuity notes, so that performers look the same in each scene
- store costumes and return hired items (known as ‘breaking down’ costumes)
- design skills and knowledge
- knowledge of the fine arts
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
As well as:
- the ability to work well with your hands
- the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creative skills)
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You can take a higher national diploma, degree or postgraduate qualification in costume design, fashion or textiles. This could give you an advantage later if you want to become a costume designer.
You could start by doing a college course to get some of the skills needed for this job.
In the UK, for example, courses include:
- Certificate in Fashion and Textiles
- Certificate in Theatre Support Costume and Wardrobe
- Level in Craft and Design
The following apprenticeships may be relevant to this role:
- Broadcast production assistant
- Costume performance technician
- Garment maker
You could start out as a runner with a production company and get the experience and contacts you need to move into wardrobe and costume work.
Volunteering is a great way to build up your skills and to make contacts with people in the industry. Your contacts can be a good way of finding paid work later on. You could get volunteering experience through:
- student theatre and film productions
- amateur or community theatre
- working for a theatrical costume hire company
- casual work as a costume ‘daily’ or temporary helper on film and TV sets
Working Hours and Environment:
A typical week consists of 41-43 hours of work. You could work freelance or be self-employed flexibly.
You could work at a film studio, on a film set, in a theatre or at a TV studio.
Your working environment may be cramped and hot.
Career Path & Progression:
You’ll specialise in either theatre work, film or TV, but you could cross over between areas once established.
With experience, you could become a wardrobe manager or move into set design, production design or stage management.