Reel Opportunities

Costume Supervisor

Also known as: Wardrobe Supervisor

What does a Costume Supervisor do?

The Costume Supervisor is the head of the costume department. They oversee all aspects of the department including management of dressers, designers, assistants and fitters. Other duties include buying wardrobe and costume pieces, designing and repairing costumes.

Costume Supervisors keep everything shipshape in the ‘costume or wardrobe department’ and thrive on being organized. 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 organize 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, and shooting. 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.

What's a Costume Supervisor good at?
  • Organization

    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, and have an understanding of colour, pattern and texture

Who does a Costume Supervisor work with?

A Costume Supervisor typically spends most of their time in their own department, overseeing the creating, sourcing, adjusting, maintenance, cleaning and repair of outfits. They work closely with the Costume Designer to ensure the team they manage makes the costumes or outfits the designer wants and will often work with the same designer on all their big productions. They may work closely with the hair and make-up team, particularly if wigs are required.

Costume Supervisors have regular updates with the production management team regarding budgets and schedules. They have contact with members of editorial and production to ensure all needs are being met.

How do I become a Costume Supervisor?

Costume Supervisors usually start out working as trainees or assistants in the costume department and work their way up. A background in fashion or costume production is helpful.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Professional Organizations Associated With This Role

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.