Why Knowledge of Fashion is Helpful in Film Production Careers

fashion in film production

Understanding fashion, and how it can frame a character, is a vital component of film production

Celebrities are the people most people look up to for inspiration. They are the mentors for common people regarding their opinions, their personalities and for fashion.

Little do many people know that all the styling and fashion that celebrities wear or endorse is based on the decisions of multiple people. Be they on the red carpet for any coveted award show or for promotional purposes or even in movies, stylists, designers, and managers have huge a role to play in that celebrity’s wardrobe choices.

These people are the unsung heroes in entertainment and fashion industry.

The most prominent fashion choices that celebrities wear are the ones that go unnoticed. These clothing items make the most impact, yet viewers barely take that style into consideration. And that is the seamless style that you see in the movies.

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Anyone working in film is required to know about fashion because it’s an integral part of the storytelling element of a production.

Here are even more reasons why every scriptwriter, screenplay writer, storyboard artist, art director and many others involved in film or TV production must stay updated on the knowledge of fashion:

Time Period

fashion in film production

Elizabeth Taylor’s wardrobe in Cleopatra helps define the story and properly identify the character she represents

The clothes in every production depict a specific time period, whether it be in medieval times or the 1980s, the clothes actors wear help define the story.

Without the dresses or suits being worn for that era, the actors look incomplete and do not compliment the theme of the film. Therefore to fully merge the whole scenario and depict another period, garments are designed to be more closely related to when the story is set.

To design all the characters’ costumes, production staff for the movie would need to research properly about the fashion then, based on the location, the social status of the characters and the colors that presented different meanings.

Elizabeth Taylor’s “Cleopatra” is a true representation of the perfect chemistry of fashion, class and remarkable acting.

The film was popular not just because of its story, actors or set, but it also became popular due to its impeccable costumes.

Character’s Personality

If the character and story are set in the present age, the same as the film’s release year, then the costumes are more easily made.

The characters are then representing their personalities through the clothes styles they wear. A director and an art director knows that, which is why they must reflect the character’s personality through different forms of style in the present era.

More modern cut would mean that the woman is fashion savvy. A revealing choice of garments can lead up to people believing the woman is a risk taker. Audrey Hepburn’s dress in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was modern and revolutionary at that time and gave birth to the LBD or little black dresses trend in America.

Every clothing store online or physical to this date has a black dress in their collection.

The Color of the Clothes

Colors have their own significance and meaning. Green depicts envy, red for lust, black for chic and modern and white for reflecting purity.

These color schemes are incorporated into the clothing items that the characters wear. Julia Robert’s red dress in “Pretty Woman” is a clear signal of her developing love for Richard Gere’s character. A thriller movie costume’s color would vary vastly from a romantic comedy film.

All of these steps are taken to follow a specific mood for the film. It is the duty of the writer and costume designer to enforce the palette of the costumes working alongside actors and directors.

Character Transition

All the styles of clothing are a reflection of the character’s persona, their social behavior, and their personal problems. When the character is evolving, its style progresses too.

Sometimes characters take huge leaps in their attitude and beliefs in a story, therefore, making a change in their fashion choices. One of the most notable changes was made in “My Fair Lady” by Audrey Hepburn’s character. Another was made by “Devil Wears Prada” character Andy, played by Anne Hathaway.

Both these changes were drastic and completely changed the life and outlook of the person who went through an evolution. A character design artist knows best to make the suitable garments which fit perfectly for the newly transformed personality.

It is a concrete fact that fashion in the film industry cannot be looked down upon.

There is a lot of hard work and effort that goes into making an actor look suitable for the role and costumes play a vital role in that transformation. In order to step into the world of movie making, you must know about fashion to truly represent a time, personality, mentality, religion, and background.



  1. I never really considered how important a knowledge of fashion could be for film. That’s really neat how Audrey Hepburn’s dress influenced the fashion industry. I suppose the first ideas of costume design would really start to show in the storyboarding process of film-making. It’s probably important that even the storyboard artist has a good knowledge of fashion or at least works with someone who does.