Wardrobe assistant

Wardrobe assistants help to make, find and look after clothes and costumes used in theatre, film and TV productions.

Average salary (a year)

Variable

Typical hours (a week)

41 to 43 variable

You could work

freelance / self-employed as customers demand

How to become a wardrobe assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels to do a degree or higher national diploma
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

College

You could start by doing a college course to get some of the skills needed for this job, for example:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Fashion
  • Level 3 Certificate in Theatre Support Costume and Wardrobe

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You can get into this job by doing a broadcast production assistant advanced apprenticeship. This can be used to get into a lot of different jobs in film and TV, including costume runner and wardrobe assistant.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Work

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 and experience

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
  • dressmaking
  • working for a theatrical costume hire company
  • casual work as a costume 'daily' or temporary helper on film and TV sets

More information

Further information

You can find more details about how to become a wardrobe assistant through Creative Choices and ScreenSkills.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to work well with others
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • design skills and knowledge
  • being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • helping to buy and hire costume items
  • looking after the costumes between takes or scenes
  • mending and altering items
  • packing and unpacking costumes and accessories
  • cleaning, steaming and ironing
  • helping to make pieces and put costumes together
  • fitting costumes onto performers
  • keeping continuity notes, so that performers look the same in each scene
  • storing costumes and returning hired items (known as 'breaking down' costumes)

Working environment

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 and 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.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Sewing Machinist

  • Wage : £11,377.60 Annually
  • Location: BB5 6NA

Textile Machine Operative Apprentice

  • Wage : £144.30 Weekly
  • Location: Keighley BD21 4DG

Courses In England

Fashion Design (Contemporary Costume) - BA Hons Degree

  • Provider: BLACKPOOL AND THE FYLDE COLLEGE
  • Start date: 10 September 2019
  • Location: Blackpool

BA (Hons) Costume Interpretation with Design

  • Provider: THE NORTHERN SCHOOL OF ART
  • Start date: 01 September 2019
  • Location: Hartlepool

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