- Fashion and Textiles | Film | High End TV | TV
- Personality type:
- Carrying out a range of tasks from ordering accessories, overseeing fittings and helping with continuity
- Taking instructions from Costume Designer and Costume Supervisor and working with the wider team including Costume Standbys
Is this role right for me?
To do this role, you will need to:
- be highly-organised and efficient, even when under pressure
- have a good memory
- pay keen attention to detail to oversee continuity
- have the self-confidence to point out any continuity errors or plot mismatching - as appropriate
- have good communication and interpersonal skills
- understand research processes and know how to source information
- Have an understanding of how to care for and maintain costumes - how to use a washing machine, hand wash, sewing skills
- Have cutting and making skillls
- Understand and have a passion for period costume and contemporary fashion
What does a Costume Assistant do?
Depending on the scale of a production, Costume Assistants may help to break down the script into costume plots and detail costume requirements and changes in the continuity book. They may also carry out research for the Costume Designer into the styles, designs and construction methods suitable for the time period, using a number of resources including libraries, museums and the Internet.
They help support the organisation of the costume department, ordering supplies and assisting in setting up any workrooms needed for productions. They take artists' measurements, and may also help with making costumes, including pattern cutting, ageing and distressing, etc.
They may be given specific responsibility for crowd fittings, overseen by Costume Design Assistants or Costume and Wardrobe Supervisors or be responsible for packing costumes for overseas shipment to other locations or units.
During the shoot, they make sure the appropriate outfits are ready for Actors. They may dress Actors and explain their costumes to them, checking that the costumes match continuity requirements.
Costume Assistants monitor the costumes for damage, carrying out any last-minute alterations and repairs, or sending garments to the workrooms for specialist treatment.
Costume Assistants may also act as Standbys, dressing the costumes to camera by referring to a monitor, and making sure there are changes of clothes available in case of wet weather on locations.
During breaks, and between shoot days, they clean and iron costumes, look after accessories such as hats and gloves, and keep a record of all jewellery used by Actors.
Will I need a qualification?
You will find it helpful to have a qualification in a relevant area such as a BA Hons or BTEC in fashion, costume design or performing arts (with a design module).
Qualifications are not essential for the role, coming from a fashion, theatre or retail environment can be helpful.
What's the best route in?
You can expect to start your career as a Costume Assistant or Trainee and progress through the Costume Department towards being a standby, supervisor and then Designer.
Interested? Find out more...
- ABC Awards
- City & Guilds
- The Costume Society
- The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU)
- Equity, the performers' union, which also represents Costume Designers
- Drama UK
- Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)