The world of styling is competitive but for those who make it, it can be an exciting and creative career path. Here’s our guide on ‘how to become a fashion stylist’ for a head start towards your dream job.
1. Find out what kind of stylist you’d like to be
There are many different types of fashion stylists. Some help create photoshoots for magazines and brands, some dress celebrities and some work as personal shoppers for everyday people. Research what is required for each job and consider how you could best use your skills.
2. Assist a stylist
The best way to gain experience as a fashion stylist is to assist an experienced stylist. Internships are a great way in and if you make yourself indispensable, you can get invited back as a paid assistant. Write to some of your favourite stylists to ask if they have any opportunities to gain experience with them.
3. Enrol on a course
It’s not vital to study to become a fashion stylist but it can give you a good introduction to the job and teach you important skills. Take a look at our top 10 fashion stylist courses in London for some of the best available options.
4. Follow trends
It’s an important part of a fashion stylist’s role to stay on top of trends for the season. It will help inspire photoshoots and advise clients. Create mood boards for the key trends you spot each season to create a picture of the season. This is also a good way to practice for when you will need to create mood boards for clients and can be a good thing to show senior stylists when applying for work experience.
5. Build up your contacts with photographers
Fashion stylists rarely work in isolation. A big part of the job is building contacts and forming strong collaborations with other professionals including art directors, makeup artists, hair stylists, nail technicians and especially photographers. Attend industry events and join networking groups to find talented photographers who have a similar vision to you and nurture that relationship so that your careers can grow together.
6. Organise a test shoot
One of the most important things you’ll need to become a fashion stylist is a portfolio. It’s important to show how creative you can be, as well as how you can work for commercial clients so aim to get a good variety. Once you’ve met some other like-minded creatives, organise a test shoot – a photoshoot purely created to add to your experience and portfolio.
7. Attend press days to get to know the PRs
The other important relationship to build and maintain is with the PRs who will be lending you clothes. Find out when their press days are (usually twice a year shortly after fashion week) and ask if you can attend to look at the latest collections from the brands they represent, introduce yourself to the people who work there and tell them about your upcoming work. Always return samples on time and in good condition to keep your relationship strong.
8. Build a website
Once you have some images to your portfolio, create a website to show it off to prospective clients. Companies like Squarespace can help you build a simple website easily and inexpensively yourself. You don’t need too much information on there, just a bit about you and who you have worked for, contact details and images of your work.
9. Publish your work on your social media channels
Don’t forget to publish your work on your social media channels too. If your Instagram is currently full of pictures of you and your friends on nights out, why not set it as a private account and set up a professional account to share your work, connect with other professionals and potentially pick up work.
10. When you’re ready, approach an agent
There are a number of creative agencies who represent stylists and can help you with how to become a fashion stylist for higher profile clients. Be careful not to approach them too soon though, work on building your portfolio and your contacts and when you’re ready, send your book to well-respected agencies and try to arrange a meeting with them.