Career as a Fashion Stylist
Updated: Oct 8, 2021
If you’re reading this, we’re assuming that you are either looking to carve your pathway to fashion styling or are simply exploring the domain. Maybe you are a newbie to fashion and styling and are wondering what all this particular career branch is about. Perhaps, you are someone who knows what it is about and needs further proof to dive into the field. Either way, we’re going to help you with some basics and some deeper insights into fashion styling as a career below.
To Begin With, Who is a Fashion Stylist?
Well, in simple terms, a fashion stylist is someone who puts together looks, head to toe for clients. They are someone who styles people, in even simpler words. But, that is something that most people can do, right? So, what makes a fashion stylist different? For one, they are professionally trained in fashion styling and they do know style and trends better than the masses. Sure, anyone can have a good dressing sense, but a fashion stylist not only has impeccable taste in fashion on a personal level but also for other people. This means they have to combine their knowledge in fashion and current trends with the client’s personal style and preferences too. Not to mention, the occasion and location in hand, the budgets, and other factors.
So, to sum it up, a fashion stylist is a professional who knows fashion that extends beyond the ordinary. A fashion stylist is someone who is trained in this domain and whose goal is to curate visually appealing looks that complement the wearer and the occasion. What is to be noted here is that this job takes a lot of backend work behind the scenes, and that is exactly where this role comes into play.
What Does a Fashion Stylist Do?
So, while you did get a hint of who a fashion stylist is and what one does, consider that as just the surface of their job roles. A fashion stylist is usually needed in the film industry for shoots, during photoshoots, events and appearances of celebrities, and more. Today, the concept of fashion styling has become a more accepted field in India, leading to an expansion of its job roles. Now, they are also needed for the masses, for their special occasions and more. These days, they are also taking the role of a personal shopper and personal stylist for anyone, celebrity or not. That’s how popular this career is becoming today!
As for the possible job roles of a fashion stylist, here are some of the primary ones:
1. Curating top to bottom looks for celebrities/clients
This goes without saying and happens to be the main role of a fashion stylist! Curating looks here is based on the client’s preferences, style, body type, occasion, budget, the season, current fashion trends, and more. And, it is not as easy as it sounds.
2. Sourcing items of a particular look from different designers, brands, and manufacturer
The next thing that a fashion stylist does as a part of the job role is sourcing. Every piece of clothing and accessory that goes into the look has to be sourced from a brand, designer, or manufacturer. This process needs connections in the industry along with time, energy, and effort on the stylist’s part.
Source: Don’t Walk Fashion
3. Staying updated with the latest trends and history of fashion
A mandatory role that again, goes without saying! A fashion stylist’s part of the job is to stay updated with not just the trends of the present and the past but also the cultural fashion in different parts of the world. The fashion needs of the world keep changing every few weeks and months, and the only way to keep up is by attending shows, seminars, and other fashion-related events.
4. Staying connected and networking with the industry
As a major part of the job is curating looks and sourcing those items, it is important to be connected with designers and fashion houses. Fashion stylists also work for shoots and magazines, which also makes networking with magazines, editors, directors, makeup artists, models, photographers, and celebrities a plus.
5. Personal shopping and styling on the D-day
Lastly, some clients/celebrities prefer a stylist for their usual shopping endeavours too. This is what has given rise to standalone careers under styling, like wardrobe stylist, personal shopper, personal stylist, and more.
What Does it Take to Become a Fashion Stylist?
Fortunately, today there is not just one road to attaining this education. Earlier, the only way to become a fashion stylist was to pursue fashion designing, and so was the case with other domains in fashion too. Now, however, you have a plethora of options to kickstart your journey in fashion styling. Here is a quick guide.
1. Formal Education
Many aspirants study fashion designing and then branch out into the field of fashion styling. And, this is a fair way of getting into fashion styling if designing is also one of your fortes and you want to explore your options. On the second hand, if you are certain about fashion styling and are prepared to enter the field, then you can seek a course dedicated solely to it. Today, there are endless options in diploma and certificate courses in fashion styling that open the gateway for you to enter the industry. You could also mix and match small different courses in fashion and then head to fashion styling, armed with that knowledge and training.
2. Work Experience
Your educational background in fashion styling when coupled with relevant work experience can be the foundation of your career. When we say work experience here, it doesn’t refer to full-fledged jobs but also internships. An internship in fashion design is always the first real learning path for many. It not only makes one realize where they want to head but also teaches them the basics of industry training. One could study design or pursue short courses in styling and then try their hand at a few internships to brush up their skills before diving into the industry.
Source: Cosset Moi
Is Fashion Styling for You?
So, we’ve gone over the ‘whats’ and ‘hows’, but if you are someone who is wondering IF this is something you could do and if this is meant for you? Well, then here is a quick guide on that. A fashion stylist is usually armed with the below skills. Skim over each of them and ask yourself if you have or can develop these skills.
1. Basic knowledge of fashion
Of course, you don’t have to be an expert in designing and other non-related aspects of fashion, but you need to know your basics. Probably, more than the basics in some cases. You need to know your fabrics, fashion terminology, style trends, and the essential fashion know-how.
2. Understanding of diversity in people, cultures, styles, and preferences
Cultural relevance plays a big role in fashion. What may be cool for one culture, region, or religion may be a big no-no for others. You must be familiar with and be good with fashion research of styles across the globe, across cultures, and also across eras.
3. Attention to detail
When you style a client’s look, you need to consider a bunch of factors and not just what the person wants and how you want them to look. It is a calculated combination of many different details and factors, and attention to every single one of them is a must.
4. Multi-tasking skills
As a fashion stylist, you not only handle styling but everything that comes before it and after it. You are researching, curating a look, connecting with industry professionals, coordinating, locating pieces, sourcing, and more all at once.
5. An eye for style and fashion
A must-have as a fashion stylist, you must be equipped with the right kind of aesthetics globally and locally along with style trends.
6. Networking skills
You need to be connected with designers, labels, celebrities, and other industry experts at all times to keep your work going. And, for this, networking skills are a must.
7. Problem-solving skills
End-moment mishaps are not uncommon here like a delay in sourcing, a fashion malfunction, or a sudden change of style. You must be on your toes to solve any problem that comes your way.
8. Ability to work with tight deadlines
The industry doesn’t wait and neither do your fashion styling assignments. Work beyond 9-5 is common in the industry with unreasonable deadlines and changing schedules.
9. Organisational and management skills
Managing a hundred chores, a schedule of appointments with clients and designers, and managing a team. This certainly needs organisational and management skills. Lastly, this takes patience, consistency, and the will to strive. Remember, no one becomes a fashion editor at the beginning of their career as a fashion stylist. The key also lies in constantly upgrading oneself with books, expert interviews, and courses, offline and online.