Costume Supervisor

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What does a costume supervisor do?

Costume supervisors keep everything shipshape in the 'wardrobe department' and thrive on being organised. They work mainly on very big multi-camera shows that require multiple outfits, such as talent competitions and game shows. Working to the costume designer’s plans, they coordinate the work of the department, work out what clothes and accessories need to be made, hired or bought, what staff are needed and where. They also organise storage and supervise the tasks that need doing to ensure all work is done to schedule and budget.

Costume supervisors work with the costume designer to ensure costumes or outfits are of the standard they require, ready and prepared in time for fittings, rehearsals, recordings or live shows. During filming, they supervise continuity of outfits, the cleaning, maintenance and any repairs or adjustments. When filming is over, they supervise any cleaning, repairing and returns.

Costume supervisors are usually freelance, unless attached to large in-house art departments.

What’s a costume supervisor good at?

  • Organisation: schedule the costume production or hire, maintenance, repairs and adjustments, oversee the department budget and the petty cash
  • Leadership: manage large teams of people with different skills and responsibilities, deliver costumes and outfits when required, meeting department and production deadlines
  • Communication: work well with others and have good relationships with designers, PR (public relations) and brands who may supply clothing or costumes, explain clearly to staff what’s expected of them
  • Dressmaking and tailoring: draw, sew, make and source clothes, including fabrics and accessories
  • Knowledge of design: be aware of the history of design and costume, understand colour, pattern and texture

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