Wardrobe styling for film or feature productions requires a driving passion for the industry as well a thorough understanding of varying genres, historical periods and cultures, body shapes, colours and design. It is also advantageous to have a degree of technical skills and a background in drafting, sewing, crafting, and art.
A wardrobe stylist usually operates under a Production Designer who is responsible for bringing the Director’s vision to life, ready for filming. Wardrobe stylists are usually booked through production agencies. Although, as in any business, networking and long-standing relationships build your career profile and improve the likelihood of continuous work.
As a film wardrobe stylist, you may have to manage all of the wardrobes on your own or you may operate as a member of the wardrobe department, depending on the size of the production and the overall budget. Budget is a big deal in the movie business and there is little patience for error. Every minute a set is running costs thousands, sometimes millions of dollars, so it is imperative that each person operates within the production schedule and the allocated budget. This can mean you have to be very resourceful and in some cases inventive in your practices, in order to meet the wardrobe needs of the Production Designer and Director.
You need to have a great eye for detail, as cameras can get very close to the subject. You may be required to be on set all of the time to ensure the wardrobe look’s as it should for every shot. Continuity errors in the wardrobe and set departments can rarely be fixed by an Editor in post-production and it can mean a need to reshoot the scene which again costs time and money. TV can be live or pre-recorded and budgets are usually considerably smaller to non-existent. Working on sets can be quite demanding, involving long days, early mornings, intense pressure and plenty of repetition. But it is also a very exciting and rewarding experience.