“These costumes are my children”
Djanina Baykoucheva, Wardrobe Supervisor
We caught up with Djanina, the wardrobe supervisor at Nu Boyana Film Studios. We asked her about her experience at the studios, her responsibilities and her department. Read her thoughts below!
I have been working in the studio since Nu Boyana Film Studios started. And even before that, I worked for 5 years at Nu Image.
I quit my medical studies and discovered that I much preferred working in the film industry. I ended up at the studios as a script supervisor. Back then, the digital age was not there yet, and you had to memorize everything yourself, you have to stay focused all the time and that’s very hard. When I realized I had far too little time for myself, I quit my job. I found another passion and studied ‘Textiles’ at the Art Academy. When the Studios had a job opening in the wardrobe department, I said ‘yes’. That is how I ended up back in the studios. It’s like destiny.
“I fell in love with the Conan costume”
The first historical costume to arrive here at the studios was from the film ‘Conan the Barbarian’. I immediately fell in love with this costume, it is beautiful.
Later on, I got a budget with which I made the Roman costumes. Making this costume was a very interesting process. Foreign designers loved these costumes and came here to admire them.
There are ten permanent employees working here in the wardrobe department. At the moment, we also employ 5 Ukrainians. Together we try to preserve and take care of the costumes as well as possible. Our job is to store the costumes safely, wash them, show them to customers, make a list of the customers’ needs and repair the costumes when necessary. If you want to work here, it’s not that easy. Getting to know everything about all the costumes takes about six months. So you need to be really passionate about it.
We take care of about 200.000 costumes that we have in stock. By this, I mean fully dressed costumes with matching accessories and shoes. If we count each part of the costume separately, we arrive at a much larger figure. We have costumes for every time period and from different countries. You can find everything you need for your film here.
A three-story building might seem very big for storing clothes. But if everyone also has to have a place to work there, it quickly becomes cramped. Especially if there are several productions going on at the same time in the studios. So the Wardrobe department should certainly not be seen only as a storage place for clothes. At this moment Disney is shooting a film here in the studios. The costumes for it are also stored here in the stock. All costume designers of Disney have to get a place in the building to be able to work. It is indeed a vibrant working environment.
“I am lucky to work with specialists, so the clothes are in good hands”
It is so important to love your department. If you don’t like what you do, then the costumes mean nothing to you. But they need to be taken care of. We have very old costumes here that are worth a lot by now. You can’t just put them in the washing machine, because the fabric is too fragile for that. So, they need to be taken care of by hand. I am lucky to work with specialists. They know the costumes; they know where to find them and they know how to handle them. I consider myself lucky for I know all the clothes are in good hands. I love all costumes. They are my children. And behind every costume is a story, a history. And that is what makes it all worthwhile.