I read that costumes, including suits and dresses, are custom tailored for big studio productions. By that I assume they mean bespoke tailoring where a pattern is created and adjusted to a particular person--a laborious process that takes about 60-70 of work minimum. It requires a high level of skill, especially in the "cutting".

So, are there actually real tailors that studios have access to, and if so, where do they find them and how much do they cost?

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    – A J
    Mar 27, 2022 at 14:25

3 Answers 3


Having in-house costume is the go-to solution for mega-buck movies, but it is expensive & also needs warehousing in perpetuity afterwards. Even mega-buck movies don't always do this.

There are companies whose entire business is to supply costumes for movies & theatre.
They source their own tailors & seamsters [seamstresses sounds outmoded, but I don't know what else to call them]. They have off-the-shelf, adust-to-fit & also fully-tailored [from scratch].

Two of the better-known UK ones are Angels (List of credits) & Cosprop (list of services).
It's not unusual to be in the waiting room for a background artist costume fitting & see some big name walk through the door, ready to go through a similar process… or on one occasion to discover you've been sitting next to one for 15 minutes without recognising them.
Angels have an entire corridor of photographs; famous faces over the decades who have been fitted there. I can't find any example of it online.

I've no idea where they find them, or how much they cost, but in another life I used to work just off Savile Row… which is absolutely teeming with them - think the scene in Kingsman; they really do look like that [without the secret headquarters, of course].

I found - https://www.angels.co.uk/careers/ - giving you a guide as to what they expect from new hires.

Posts in Tailoring require a minimum of 2 years formal training in the construction and interpretation of costumes plus at least 2 years relative experience.

  • 7
    How do you know there's no secret headquarters? It would, after all, be secret. ;) Mar 25, 2022 at 9:46
  • 1
    Shh… don't tell anyone, otherwise it won't be a secret any more...
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 25, 2022 at 9:47
  • "needs warehousing in perpetuity afterwards"? Does it? Surely many costumes can be sold on, either to other productions, to collectors, or even just random members of the general public. Wouldn't it be a balancing act between the cost of having to warehouse the costumes until a potential later use against the cost of having to make them again if needed (minus the costs recouped by selling them)?
    – Tristan
    Mar 25, 2022 at 10:21
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    Sure - they probably all came from Angels …& went back there afterwards ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 25, 2022 at 13:19
  • 1
    Maybe they're just in the UK. Star Wars shoots here, Mandalorian in the US. tbh, it's pointless going into detailed specifics, because we'll never have all info for all occasions.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 25, 2022 at 15:39

By that I assume they mean made to measure.

And by that you assume wrong.

The only thing that matters for the movie is how it looks on screen. How close do you have to look to distinguish a made-to-measure suit from an off-the-shelf suit tailored to fit? The camera really isn't going to be that close.

And that tailored to fit part. How long does the tailoring have to survive? Answer: one day's filming. The wardrobe department have staff who can quickly measure a person and tack-stitch their costume to fit. Or in some cases literally sew the person into their costume. (Historically that's how women put on elaborate gowns, after all.)

Sure, some costumes need to do better than that. Or the producers choose to let the wardrobe department and actors collaborate to get something which helps them get in character. The wardrobe department on LotR spent significant time making outfits and equipment which worked practically, especially for Viggo Mortensen who went full-method-actor and actually spent time camping out in full costume. This was a long-haul filming process over 3-4 years though which is highly unusual; and even with that, they recognised they were overdoing it, but with fanboy producers and directors they were allowed way more scope than usual. And yes, the wardrobe department did genuinely make everything from scratch, because Ngila Dickson is an artist.

As for your claim that there are no tailors in New England, let me google that for you with a search for "bespoke suit boston". I'm not going to waste more of my time searching other New England locations.

  • Anecdotally [& I don't know who did costume on this, I only worked a day on it] the suits in 'The Outfit' were absolutely exquisite. The movie is, of course, about a fussy, perfectionist, bespoke tailor, after all.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 25, 2022 at 12:38
  • 2
    sewing women into gowns has never been commonplace, even for the wealthy's ballgowns. It's only ever been something done by the most elite at the most extravagant events
    – Tristan
    Mar 25, 2022 at 14:04
  • I followed up by talking to two different proprietors of tailoring shops in Boston and they both told me the same thing: all the "tailors" in Boston just make made to measure suits which are sewn to generic patterns in Hong Kong. To get actual bespoke or custom tailored suits, one has to go to New York City or Saville Row in London. Apr 7, 2022 at 15:35

TV and movie production companies often have in-house costume departments.

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