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Reel Opportunities

Costume Assistant

Also known as: Wardrobe Assistant

What does a Costume Assistant do?

Costume Assistants work for Costumer Designers or Costume Supervisors. The types of outfits they help with depends on the types of productions they are on. They could be assisting a Designer or helping with the purchase of dramatic costumes; brushing clothes down, or assisting with fittings of the background actors.

Costume Assistant roles can vary in seniority depending on the production. On many productions, this is the entry-level role, where you may be required to research, source, and purchase clothes, accessories, or materials for your department; steam, mend, or adjust outfits and run errands.

On big budget shows, Costume Assistants may be part of a team ensuring costumes or outfits are ready in time for fittings, rehearsals, and shooting. Once the shooting starts, they are often on set to adjust and maintain, and when filming is over, they assist with cleaning, repairs, and returns.

What's a Costume Assistant good at?
  • Dressmaking and tailoring

    Be able to draw, sew, make, alter and maintain clothes and accessories, prepare outfits to look faultless on screen

  • Styling

    Understand the stylist’s or designer’s vision for a show, know what styles suit different people best, and create the right looks with flair and creativity

  • Attention to detail

    Spot and deal with any design or styling flaws or issues during filming, keep the department organized and tidy

  • Knowledge of design

    Have a passion for fashion, the history of design and costume, an understanding of colour, lighting, pattern, and texture, know where to source fabrics, accessories, and outfits

  • Communication

    Work well with others, listen and respond to stylists’, presenters’ and contributors’ needs, be trusted, and have good relationships with designers, PR, and brands who may supply clothing or accessories

Who does a Costume Assistant work with?

A Costume Assistant reports directly to a Costume Designer or Costume Supervisor, but they also work with everyone and anyone on the production, in particular, the hair and make-up team, to ensure they all create a complete and coherent ‘look’ for the production. They have contact with the sound crew, particularly when putting on and removing mics, as well as members of the production. They will be a part of regular updates with the production management team regarding budgets and schedules.

How do I become a Costume Assistant?

Work Your Way Up: Costume Assistants are often the entry-level role in the costume department. Some start as Production Assistants, but others go straight in as Costume Assistants. To get in, you need to develop your craft.

Build a Portfolio: Build a costume portfolio to show to costume designers and productions your work. This shows off the kind of work that you do and helps gain entry into the industry.

Get an Apprenticeship: Reach out to costume designers and supervisors and ask if you can shadow their work and possibly get an apprenticeship. You can also gain a good network by doing this.
For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Student Resources page

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.