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How to Become a Costume Attendant in the UK

costume attendant

Costume attendants work in highly creative environments to help film, TV and theatre productions meet their creative goals. This presents a creative challenge to a costume attendant, as you often have to meet a director’s expectations with strict timelines and budgets. The role encourages innovation and creativity.

What Does a Costume Attendant in the UK Do?

You will regularly work under directions from a production’s director. Your roles will vary depending on the size of the production. A basic job description will include:

  • Outsourcing costuming items
  • Taking care of costumes in between scenes and takes
  • Making repairs and alterations when necessary
  • Preparing costume for movement from the set wardrobe to different locations
  • Ensuring costumes are clean and ready for use
  • Designing and sewing costumes
  • Assisting actors get in and out of costume
  • Prepare all costumes for a shoot or performance
  • Keep costume continuity sheets to ensure costume continuity in subsequent scenes
  • Take stock of all costumes
  • Store costumes and return hired items in good condition

Qualifications

Advancing your career as a costume attendant will depend on the experience you gain along the way. However, there are basic qualifications to help improve your chances at an entry-level position:

  • Certificate or Diploma in Fashion and Textiles
  • Certificate in Theatre support- Costume and Wardrobe
  • College or university Degree in a fashion or costume design related program
  • Basic degree in theatre or film with courses in fashion, textiles, costume and wardrobe

Skills

A successful career as a costume attendant requires you to develop a wide range of skills over time. As you work in different productions, you will exercise and perfect your skills. Basic skills include:

  • Strong organisational skills
  • Creativity and an eye for design and style
  • Sewing skills
  • A keen eye for details
  • A flexible and adaptable attitude
  • Ability to follow direction
  • Ability to work in a team under pressure
  • Tact and patience when interacting with actors and other team members
  • Ability to think on your toes

Work Environment

There is no set working environment for a costume attendant. Often times, you will go where the work takes you. However, each production will require you to work in the set’s changing room. You will organise the costume according to the show or shooting schedule, label each actor’s costume and ensure it is in good condition before and after use.

Each production will have you working under pressure. This will require that you think on your toes and remain calm to avoid alarming actors. Fortunately, you will get a chance to meet celebrities one-on-one. As you advance, you may also get an opportunity to work with A-list celebrities.

Salary

Entry Level

£20,000

Intermediate Level

£27,000

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Successful

£34,000

Source: National Careers Service: Wardrobe Assistant

Career Prospects

You will grow your career as you build your reputation within the industry. Originally, you will work in small productions; use this opportunity to build a good reputation and network. Volunteer to work for free to gain experience and for networking opportunities.

Gradually, word about your skills will get out there and you will start to get big jobs with better pay. You will also get to make a significant contribution in creating costumes and shaping actor’s roles. More work will come through referrals, and you can choose to become a costume designer or personal stylist.

If you enjoy fashion and the idea of creating unique and outwardly pieces, a career as a costume attendant will suit you.

Image Source: Costumecollection.com.au

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