What is a Wardrobe Designer
Category: Movie Job Descriptions
The Wardrobe Designer is a person who design and develop everything from wardrobe, accessories, and footwear for a film. The work closely with the Director and Producer, to conceptualize how each character will be dressed.
The Designer reads the script and based on a characters description, dialogue, and time period, will draw sketches to determine what works best. They are shown to the Directors for approval and make changes if any are needed.
Working with all artistic and lighting designers on the project on the set will help in creating the color and fabric palette the works best on camera.
The final wardrobe is very important in show the character’s style.
They will be always scouring thrift stores, researching, designing, sewing and working closely with tailor to custom create a characters’ wardrobe.
When the Director has approved all the costumes, the Designers must meet with the cast to supervise the costume fittings.
In most cases multiple copies of wardrobe are needed on set, so that different levels of wear could be available at any given time. Example: Die Hard (1988) Multiple white t-shirt in different levels of dirt were created and the scenes were not shot in chronological order All the shirts represented various sequences throughout the length of the movie. As a viewer you watch the shirt get dirty and dirtier, thus believing the characters progress through the film.
Costumes must be durable and washable, so they must be made with strong and sometimes heavy material.
Here are some quotes regarding wardrobe in film
Marilyn Vance (Die Hard) – “As a costume designer you serve the actor’s body. Some people have narrow shoulders, big hips, or a long face, and you have to design it so that you don’t notice. I had to make Bruce’s pants especially for Die Hard, because he has a long body and short legs. Don’t even write that because you’ll be looking now…”
Spike Lee - "Any time you talk about the look of the film, it's not just the director and the director of photography. You have to include the costume designer and the production designer."
John Sayles: You get to say to the designer, 'Here's my philosophical idea about what the costume should like,' and the costume designer comes and gives you choices and sometimes they're all good, and I say, 'What do you think?' and they pick the right thing.