What is the difference between a costume designer and a fashion wardrobe stylist?

Within the fashion industry, there are a few job titles that are often incorrectly used interchangeably, spurring the need for clarification on what is the difference between a costume designer and a fashion wardrobe stylist. A costume designer is the easiest to distinguish from the others because the personality that they are dressing is fictitious, and the wardrobe is all original material specially designed for the character. As the job title suggests, this role is in charge of designing a full wardrobe for each character. A costume designer’s work is usually limited to films and plays, making it essential that the clothing not only fits well, but is durable.

difference between a costume designer and a fashion/ wardrobe stylist?
difference between a costume designer and a fashion/ wardrobe stylist?

Differentiating between a wardrobe stylist and fashion stylist is a little bit trickier, but to me they basically are the same thing. Both jobs require carefully piecing together looks that embody hopefully what the client’s in visioning. I have met other fashion stylists who have never had to provide head to toe looks because they are working with clothing brands that provide the wardrobe for them. In that type of role they get to show up and style (create looks)... these by the way are super fun jobs if you ever get the opportunity to work for a brand.

When I show up to certain jobs I am creating the entire wardrobe for the talent. This includes socks, watches, accessories, basically every single item the person is wearing. A wardrobe stylist creates the look and feel of the character.

The term “wardrobe stylist” or "fashion stylist" can be applied to someone working in high fashion, celebrity or public figure’s personal image,  print editorial work, commercials or music videos.

Despite their differences, each of these jobs requires a keen eye and the ability to utilize color and texture in order to provide a stunning and fluid final result.