From supplying a single outfit to clothing for a cast of thousands, Angels The Costumiers has been dressing the entertainment industry for nearly 170 years. Trainee Costumier Louise Sholz-Conway explains what it’s like to work with eight miles of hanging costumes.
I work as a Trainee Costumier at Angels in Hendon, North London. Angels provides costumes for the entertainment industry, including film, television and theatre, as well as for music videos, photo shoots and magazine editorials. It is my job to assist the designers in sourcing their costumes from our stock, and then prepping the costumes to be sent out.
It is a very exciting job; every day is different and brings new challenges. The most exciting part is putting together a costume for a popular show that you have watched and loved, and realising that your work is going to be seen by thousands of people – even if it is for only a second right at the back of a shot!
People from school probably wouldn’t be too surprised that I work in the entertainment industry, as my favourite subjects at school were Drama and Media Studies. I went to university straight after sixth form, but found out fairly quickly that the experience and way of learning did not suit me at all. I made the decision to leave my course after an unhappy year, as I could not see how the degree I had chosen (English and History) would help me in my career – especially as I didn’t have a clue what I wanted that to be.
I then worked for a year and a half doing office admin work, and though the job was very dull it did make me realise that I liked working, and that I learned best by working. During this time I explored different interests and hobbies, and realised that my earlier passion for history was mainly focused on the history of dress. I realised that I could combine these interests and recreate history on film by working in a costume department. When I saw the advert at Angels for a Trainee Costumier, I knew that it was the perfect opportunity for me as I wouldn’t have to go back to university and could train on the job, gaining qualifications from Amersham and Wycombe College.
I have been fortunate enough to learn from some of the best people in the industry, whilst working alongside them on an array of exciting and varied productions, such as ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘The Hour’, and I am very excited to be continuing my learning in this unique environment for another year.
I would advise someone wanting to get into this industry that they have to be persistent. Get as many work placements as you can, be friendly and form connections with the people you meet. Show that you are enthusiastic, hard working and willing to learn – and do not give up!
Visit http://www.facebook.com/angelscostumeapprenticeships for more information and guidance about applying for an apprenticeship at Angels.