BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design graduate, Milly Barter, graduated in 2015. She is now working as a Costume Trainee on ITV’s Victoria.
“I have recently moved to Leeds to work on Victoria which will be aired ITV. I am a Costume Trainee so I am doing a bit of everything; assisting, sewing, I dress a lot of people and generally doing whatever is asked of me. We’ve been filming at different locations for the past few weeks. Yesterday we moved into our big set which meant me rushing onto set and delivering corsets, because there was a last minute adjustment needed for the sleeves. It’s very fast paced, very varied, but great work. Not every day is the same. I also work with the crowd controller and assist with all the extras dressing them and generally looking after them on set.
Before I graduated, I had started to work on Lewis also for ITV. It was based around Guildford so I was there, came back for graduation and then straight after graduation I was back on Lewis working on that for the last few months. When it started to wrap up I was sending my CV out to designers and everyone I knew. As it happened, the designer on Lewis knew the designer on Victoria and they recommended me. So it’s all about who you know.
After I got the Victoria job I got a few more job offers, so I sent them on the contact details of other AUB alumni. Maybe it will come around again for me in the future!
The costume department at AUB is affiliated with Creative Skill Set, which is a hub of recent graduates in all areas of film and TV. When a project comes up, companies can go to them and ask for a list of potential trainees. It means that graduates get great opportunities for professional work straight out of uni.
I live with two other Costume Trainees. I worked with them on Lewis, so I knew we would get on well. It’s like a little world of costume in our flat. It’s very intense but very rewarding. We are usually up at 4.30am but we car share, so that makes it easier. The third year at AUB really prepares you for the pace of professional work. You need stamina to maintain the long hours. The designers have been impressed with my work ethic and the way I can maintain production levels under stress. You just have to save sleeping until the weekends.
I think the best bit is seeing everything come to life, especially things that are of a period and refer to an actual person. For Victoria the references are the paintings. To see that, as a real thing; it’s incredible to see it unfold before you and be part of it.”
What is your One Piece of Advice?
You’ve got to be really, really passionate about what you are doing. It’s such hard work so you can’t do it half-heartedly. Put yourself out there. Take every opportunity. You learn so much at AUB, I did puppetry, textiles and tailoring. Just learn as much as you can because you never know when it could be useful.