I get this same question all the time, “how do I become a fashion stylist?” In all honesty, I too had the same question and because a very talented fashion stylist took time out of her busy day to explain the basics and broader outlook as a stylist, I was able to become a “paid” stylist. Notice I said “paid”… Because that should be your ultimate goal eventually. However, you have to pay your dues before you can say you have the talent, experience and credibility to get paid. Nowadays, freelance fashion stylist fees are decreasing while work is increasing. This is because of the level of free work that’s taking place, which is really hurting the market. However, I will expand on that subject in another post.
For now, I will break this down in steps so it won’t be to overwhelming. The first step is very critical. Educate yourself! You HAVE to know fashion. Yes, a great percentage of being a stylist is bringing your very own creative style and eye to life, however there is also a world of fashion that involves basic communication -including fashion lingo (which you will learn most along the way) but you don’t want to be left behind and confused because you don’t know how to properly communicate fashion. There will be times where you must describe your plans and ideas way before you actually pull wardrobe. There may be other situations where alterations are in order, in which you must know how to communicate that aspect as well. Stylist must also understand balance, fabrics/ textiles (textures and drape), variations of fit, how colors work together, etc. It’s extremely important for you to be able to determine quality fabrics and finishes. Stylist must also know types of styling such as avant garde, glam, commercial print, etc. Long story short, know your stuff!
I also urge you to study professional photos, shot by professional photographers with agency models. This will give you an advantage on any stylist who often make the huge mistake of shooting with amateurs which will (most of the time) deliver poor quality or subpar photos. Providing wardrobe, especially as a new stylist, is no easy task. You don’t want to waste your looks and resources or poor quality work. Ideally it takes a whole team to produce great photos – photographer, MUA, hair, and wardrobe. It’s also essential to know the “greats” in your area. Make note of great photographers, etc., this will prepare you for the next step tremendously.
Lastly, research trends, colors and innovating designers. In order to do this reference the media such as magazines, red carpets, fashion shows, the internet, forums, etc. Make your research a daily routine… The more the better. A great place to start is school. There are many programs that teach you the business behind fashion as well as the design aspect of fashion. However, ( and I hate saying this) school isn’t necessary for this field for there are still tons of information that you would have to learn on the job. If school isn’t an option for you because of finances or simply personal preference, then I would recommend ordering text books (from Amazon.com or half.com) or any other book that will help you grasp the background and important introductory information in relation the fashion and style.
Future stylist, trust me and do your best to master this step it’s very critical. If in fact you have mastered it, you’re ready for step 2… Coming soon.