What is a Wardrobe Stylist?
A wardrobe stylist is a fashion expert who curates clothes, footwear, and accessories for movie sets, television series, opera events, and museum curations.
As such, wardrobe stylists deeply understand fashion history, aesthetic roots, patterns, motifs, colors, cutting and sewing styles, and fashion design.
What Do Wardrobe Stylists Do?
Wardrobe stylists are the vital link between concept, design, presentation, and finished products in the form of outfits to be won on stage or in movies.
Compared to fashion stylists who focus on trend relevancy by scanning the current fashion trends, wardrobe stylists must ensure historical accuracy at every step that leads to the finished outfit.
How Do Wardrobe Stylists Work?
The work of a wardrobe stylist starts by understanding the client’s need, context, occasion, thematic background, and budget.
Dressing the cast for a Gothic-themed movie with the action taking place in the winter requires a different approach than creating outfits of high historical accuracy for a Preppy-themed film about a group of teenagers enjoying a summer holiday in New York.
Only after all the historical era, time, season, location, nr of people, social status, and other similar aspects are well defined and established can the stylist start creating.
Compared to celebrity fashion stylists who work directly with high-profile clients only, wardrobe stylists work with large creative teams of fashion designers, hair and nail stylists, and makeup artists.
Wardrobe Stylist vs Fashion Stylist vs Costume Designer
1. Scope of Work
Wardrobe Stylist specializes in curating outfits for movies and television, ensuring historical and contextual accuracy.
Fashion Stylist focuses on contemporary fashion, assembling outfits for high-profile individuals, editorial content, or public appearances.
Costume Designer designs and manufactures original costumes for theatrical, film, or television productions.
2. Historical vs. Contemporary
Wardrobe Stylist anchors in historical accuracy must recreate specific eras or movements.
Fashion Stylist is oriented toward current fashion trends while rooting its work in aesthetics from classic fashion styles.
Costume Designer works in any historical or imagined period, depending on the project’s needs.
Wardrobe Stylist works directly with producers and directors within the entertainment industry.
Fashion Stylist almost always serves individuals, corporations, or publications one-on-one.
Costume Designer collaborates with theatrical companies, film production teams, and TV shows.
4. Team Composition
Wardrobe Stylists are part of a larger production team, including set designers and makeup artists.
Fashion Stylists work independently but may collaborate with photographers, makeup artists, and hair stylists.
Costume Designers lead a team of tailors, seamstresses, and artisans to execute their original clothing designs.
5. End Product
Wardrobe Stylist produces an outfit or series of garments coherent with the production’s storytelling needs and historically accurate.
Fashion Stylist assembles outfits to enhance an individual’s public persona or fulfill an editorial objective.
Costume Designer creates unique outfits crucial in bringing a scripted character to life.
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After years of managing hundreds of fashion brands from London's office of a global retailer, Mandy has ventured into freelancing. Connected with several fashion retailers and media platforms in the US, Australia, and the UK, Mandy uses her expertise to consult for emerging fashion brands create top-notch content as an editorial strategist for several online publications.