Wardrobe assistants are junior members of the wardrobe/costume department, which is responsible for providing both made and hired costumes. The department is headed by a costume designer - see the Costume Designer profile for details of this role. Assistants work under the direction of the costume supervisor or wardrobe master/mistress as part of a wider costume team, which on large productions may also include cutters, makers, finishers, dyers and milliners.
Assistants' main duties are: dressing the artists; standing by to maintain costumes between takes or scenes; making alterations and repairs; packing and unpacking costumes; cleaning and laundering costumes after use; helping with buying and fittings; occasionally making pieces, breaking down costumes, and any other duties deemed useful by other members of the costume team.
Wardrobe assistants are usually employed on a freelance basis, so hours and conditions vary. Hours are likely to be long and irregular, especially during a production.
Depending on the nature and location of the production, wardrobe assistants may work in studios or theatres, or out on location.
To be a wardrobe assistant you should:
Employment is usually on a freelance basis, permanent positions are rare.
Once you have gained experience, and possibly undertaken further training, it may be possible to progress to costume supervisor or wardrobe master/mistress, and possibly from then on to assistant costume designer. See the Costume Designer profile for information on this role.
Wardrobe and design experts tend to stay in the same area - stage, film or TV - but there may be opportunities for the most experienced people to diversify.
If you would like to know anything about Wardrobe Assistant that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
80-110 New Oxford Street
Creative and Cultural Skills
Tel: 0800 093 0444
FT2 Film and Television Freelance Training
Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU)
373-377 Clapham Road
Association of British Theatre Technicians
55 Farringdon Road
Tel: 020 7242 9200