Age and distress costumes

Business Sectors (Suites): Costume for Film, TV and Theatre Productions
Developed by: ScreenSkills
Approved on: 30 Mar 2021


​This standard is about your ability to age and distress costumes and accessories. 

This may involve breaking down a garment to meet production requirements, using knowledge of historical references and the visual style of the production, identifying safe locations to carry out work, with adequate ventilation, power and water supplies that will help ensure duplicate effects.

This standard may be applicable to costume supervisors, costume assistants, costume stand bys, wardrobe assistants and costumemakers.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. review the production requirements, costume designers brief and script and identify costume distress requirements  

  2. confirm the production schedule, budget and sequence plan 

  3. confirm the costume continuity requirements 

  4. brief the costume team on the costume requirements  

  5. identify and source resources required for costume break down and distress 

  6. identify allergies and sensitivity levels of performers and the costume team and ensure appropriate products are used  

  7. use the appropriate processes to break down fabrics, garments, shoes and accessories 

  8. identify costume breakdown and distress work to be outsourced 

  9. source and liaise with an appropriate subcontractor when necessary, communicating and agreeing the work, budget and schedule 

  10. identify and communicate how much of the costume will be used in shot, and confirm whether there are close up or background shots 

  11. monitor and manage subcontractors ensuring the quality standard, budget and schedules are met 

  12. wear appropriate protective wear to carry out ‘costume distressing’ work 

  13. identify and work in a safe location 

  14. keep records and store details of completed costume ageing and distressing work 

  15. follow the production's confidentiality rules   

  16. ensure COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations are adhered to 

  17. communicate clearly across production staff and other relevant departments or individuals 

  18. follow health, safety and environmental legislation, policies and guidelines

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. ​the genre or time period of the production 
  2. the production requirements and costume designer’s brief  

  3. the timescales, schedule and sequence plan 

  4. the production's budgets  

  5. the production's continuity requirements 

  6. techniques and processes used to break down and distress costumes  

  7. the resources and products required to carry out costume break down 

  8. allergies and sensitivity levels of performers and the costume team and how to deal wth them 

  9. how to assess the work load and estimate outsourcing requirements 

  10. how to outsource/subcontract work to meet the  budget and schedule  

  11. how much of the costumes will be seen and the impact that has on the costume breakdown, distressing work required 

  12. the protective clothing and equipment required when carrying out costume break down, distressing work 

  13. how to assess locations for suitability  in relation to costume break down distressing work  

  14. the costume breakdown records and details required  

  15. production staff and departments involved and the communication protocol 

  16. the production's confidentiality rules   

  17. statutory responsibilities under health, safety, COSHH and environmental legislation and regulation


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

30 Mar 2025





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Arts, Media and Publishing, Associate Professionals and Technical Occupations, Crafts, Creative Arts and Design, Media and Communication, Media Associate Professionals

SOC Code



costume; wardrobe; breakdown; distress; garments; accessories; script; production; historical; references; visual; style; script; locations; power; water; supplies; ventilation