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Wardrobe Manager - Fashion Career Profile

Written by FS StaffNovember 10, 2011
Wardrobe Manager

What do Wardrobe Managers do? Where do Wardrobe Managers work? FS takes a look:

About Wardrobe Managers

Wardrobe manager is an exciting job. Not only do you have the opportunity to work in the fantastic field of fashion, you may also work (simultaneously) in theater, film and video, television, and advertising. Even better is, wardrobe manager is considered a top-level position, whether you’re working for a small theater company or a film studio.

Wardrobe Manager Jobs

Wardrobe managers are responsible for making decisions about which costumes, wigs, and other accessories to select for any given production. They are also in charge of costume production, maintenance, buying, and hiring staff. Wardrobe managers may supervise wardrobe teams, perform basic tailoring work, correspond with designers, and work closely with costume designers.

Wardrobe managers work for theater companies, film and video companies, television production studios, and fashion designers. They also work for industry-related events such as fashion shows. Many wardrobe managers are self-employed, so they typically juggle multiple clients and productions each year. 

Wardrobe Manager Salaries

Wardrobe manager salaries vary based on factors such as experience, education, industry type and size of company, size of the production, and geographic location. According to several career websites, wardrobe managers average around $49,000 per year.

Programs to Consider:

Becoming a Wardrobe Manager

To become a wardrobe manager, you will need a degree in fashion design, fashion management, fashion merchandising, or fashion retailing. Employer’s also prefer a large amount of experience in the field. Experience is typically obtained by working in an entry-level position such as wardrobe assistant or on a wardrobe team. It could take 3-5 years before being considered for a promotion. In some cases, such as with large productions, it could take even longer.

To begin the journey from aspiring wardrobe manager to wardrobe manager, enroll in a fashion design program and consider taking coursework in theater or film—whichever  appeals to you. Take advantage of internship programs or consider looking into volunteer opportunities at local theater companies or small film studios.

Job Trends for Wardrobe Managers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report employment projections for wardrobe managers. The Bureau does report the outlook for fashion designers. Employment of fashion designers is expected to average 1 percent for the 2008-2018 decade. However, because wardrobe managers serve the film and video, theater, and television production industries, employment growth could average 11-14 percent for the 2008-2018 decade.