Fashion and film: learn all about the work of a costume designer

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The costume designer is the person in charge and responsible for designing the clothes that are going to be used in a production related to the show business. Be it television, theater, opera, or cinema, among others. And comes to be the complement along with the scenery of everything that art implies in a film.


Costume Design in Film


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When we watch a movie, we can see that everything fits together perfectly. For example, if it is a period film, let’s say that its plot takes place in the 19th century. All the elements of scenery, places, makeup, and costumes correspond to the time. Making the viewer achieve a full understanding of the plot in conjunction with the environment.


The costume designer is in charge of designing the clothes that the cast of a cinematographic production will use. And that must adapt to the plot, the character, the time in which it takes place, and what is wanted to be transmitted in a particular scene. Taking into account the aesthetics of each of the environments in which the film will be recorded.


All these elements must harmonize perfectly so that the final result is impeccable. The costume design will also be determined by the film director with whom you work and the particular style you have.


Costumes in Cinema


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As we already mentioned, the costumes in cinema are the garments, sets of suits, accessories, and footwear, among others, that are intended for use by actors to act or work in a movie.


The wardrobe is an extremely important part of a production since it helps to define the characters. Through the clothes used, it will be possible to understand or appreciate the socio-economic context to which the character belongs. And the character traits. In turn, this (the costumes) serves to improve the appearance or improve it according to the director’s need.


The costumes will visually complement the character and the scenery. One of the objectives is to transform the character to adapt it to the plot and its characterization. Sometimes it is not sought to beautify the actor. And this is where it differs from fashion design, where aesthetics and beauty are sought in various possible ways. Since what is sought is that the public connects with the character and the plot.


Duties of a costume designer


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It is in charge of designing the costumes for a film production. Along with accessories such as accessories, suits, and shoes, among others, that the actors will wear.


  • They must adapt the designs to the script and its characters.
  • Part of their job is to keep in direct contact with the rest of the art team. To create the general aesthetic of the entire project. So that there is harmony in the whole concept of the film.
  • They have a budget for acquiring materials and raw materials. Whether they have to be bought or rented, necessary to make the clothing.
  • Coordinates matters related to locating external workshops for the manufacture of garments.
  • They are in charge of organizing costume tests and making the necessary modifications.
  • It is also the role of the costume designer to analyze each character and the script. All to properly design each piece to be used in the film so that it fits perfectly with the context.
  • Design the patterns of each wardrobe, along with the sketches, patterns, fabric samples, colors, combinations, and textures, among others, before going to the workshop.
  • Supervise the work from start to finish.
  • Once the recording is over, they are in charge of storing the wardrobe and returning the clothes that were rented or borrowed. Also, to put those garments that are not going to be preserved on sale.


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An example of this wardrobe storage is the Harry Potter museum in London. Where you can see the pieces that were used in the film.


Costume design is a titanic task and one that has more relevance and analysis than we thought. So, when you go back to the cinema and see a character with clothes that may not fit you, you already know that those clothes were very rigorously studied and executed by the actor. In some cases, it can impose fashions and trends after the premiere of the film. Or if the production becomes a great success, it can create a theme, as in the case of Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Pulp Fiction, among many other films that have served as inspiration for parties and costumes.