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Wardrobe assistant

Alternative titles for this job include

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 flexibly

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

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:

  • between 1 and 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national diploma or degree
  • 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 and Textiles
  • Level 3 Certificate in Theatre Support Costume and Wardrobe
  • T Level in Craft and Design

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level

More Information

Apprenticeship

The following apprenticeships may be relevant to this role:

  • Level 3 Broadcast production assistant
  • Level 3 Costume performance technician
  • Level 3 Garment maker

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, 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

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 Get into Theatre.

You can find out more about creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

Many wardrobe assistants work freelance and their rates can vary widely. The Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) has more information about the recommended daily rates for wardrobe assistants.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • 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
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You might:

  • 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)

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

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

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.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Film Office Apprentice

  • Wage: £11,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Slough

Courses In England

Fashion Design (Contemporary Costume) - BA Hons Degree

  • Provider: BLACKPOOL AND THE FYLDE COLLEGE
  • Start date: 13 September 2022
  • Location: Blackpool

Costume Design

  • Provider: CHICHESTER COLLEGE GROUP
  • Start date: 13 September 2022
  • Location: Chichester

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