How to Become a Fashion Stylist | 2024

March 29, 2024
12 Minutes
Modified on:
March 27, 2024
Written by:
Swati Bucha
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Do you want to create a unique style statement in the fashion world? Then, it's time to build your career as a fashion stylist! Fashion stylists play a crucial role in the fashion industry, from curating captivating outfits for fashion campaigns and runway shows to upgrading the style game of celebrities and common folks. 

Dressing up for a living and getting paid could be the best gig ever. But is it lucrative? A report from IBISWorld shows that the revenue of the personal styling industry grew to 6.2% between 2016 and 2021, with $1.6 billion.

Now, the actual question is, how do you become a fashion stylist? In this blog, we will guide you through the steps to kickstart your journey towards becoming a successful fashion stylist. Let’s dive in!

Who is a Fashion Stylist?

Let's explore the role before you learn how to become a fashion stylist. A fashion stylist coordinates every aspect of an individual’s visual aesthetic to make them look as appealing and fashionable as possible. They are employed in various industries and clients, including Hollywood A-listers, musicians, high-profile clients, and people who want to look their best.

In fashion, the stylist falls into two categories:

  • Personal stylists – who help celebrity clients carve a signature look.
  • Editorial stylists – who create aesthetics for magazine photoshoots and ad campaigns.

There are also hair and makeup stylists and wardrobe stylists who organize products and clothing in a way that sells.

Fashion, Hair, and Wardrobe stylists – What's the difference?

There are several types of stylists – while some fashion aspirants seek guidance on becoming a hairstylist, some ponder their career as fashion stylists. Let’s understand more about fashion, hair, and wardrobe stylists: 

1. Fashion Stylists

Fashion stylists are professionals who work with clients to create outfits and looks that suit their particular style for an event or photoshoot. They work with clothing, accessories, and hair to achieve the desired look. 

2. Hair Stylists

Hair stylists specialize in cutting, setting, and styling hair. They work with clients, whether regular or celebrities, to make their dream hair look come true and give expert tips for haircare. 

3. Wardrobe Stylists

Wardrobe stylists work with clients to create outfits and ensembles. They may help the clients with personal styling for everyday looks or assist them in styling for special occasions, like weddings or red carpet events. 

What Does A Fashion Stylist Do?

Here are some typical roles and responsibilities you will encounter as a fashion stylist.

  • Attending brand showrooms, runway shows, and other fashion events to keep updated on the latest trends and styles,
  • Researching previous fashion eras through magazines and movies to design a period-appropriate aesthetic look,
  • Getting high-quality clothing from the world’s best brands and manufacturers,
  • Consulting with models, photographs, brand directors, editors, and other artists,
  • Coordinating with public figures, including personal shopping,
  • Assisting clothing designers for major retail chains.

Key Skills for Fashion Stylists

Fashion stylist is an exciting and rewarding role. Developing a few essential skills will help you out on the early journey. Some of them are:

  • Eye for detail: To be a professional stylist, you must be keen on styling components. Having an eye for visual composition is essential to starting your career in the fashion industry.
  • Commercial awareness: You should have a strong passion for the fashion industry. It's important to possess extensive knowledge of designers, brands, and trends, as well as insights to forecast the industry's future trends.
  • Organization and time management: As a fashion stylist, you must have a good work ethic and a focused mindset. You must also be able to meet tight deadlines. Multitasking is also important when you work with varied clients. You will also have to master the art of email management because you will communicate with many clients through emails. 
  • Creativity: An inventive and innovative mind is the key to learning how to become a fashion stylist. You need excellent problem-solving skills that will serve you well in your career.
  • Communication and Teamwork: Communication and teamwork are another essential skill set for a fashion stylist. You work alongside different people daily, so you must build and maintain good relationships with important contacts, from new clients to PR teams.
  • Digital skills: Don’t underestimate the importance of having digital skills in your CV for fashioning. You should have a strong understanding of marketing principles and be able to use software that will help you work for potential clients in the industry.

How to Become a Fashion Stylist – A Scoop from the Professional

Fashion stylist is an intriguing and dynamic profession that plays a key role in the industry. Read on to explore the guide on how to become a fashion stylist!

Step 1: Get a Degree in Fashion Merchandising.

There is no mandatory educational qualification to become a fashion stylist. However, having a relevant background will help you build a strong foundation in the early stages of your career. A bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising will help you make varied connections, score internships, and ultimately get hired by your dream company.

The fashion major program will teach you about design trends, product development, marketing, manufacturing, and more. It will let you explore how to become a wardrobe stylist and open doors for lucrative opportunities. Various fashion schools and universities are offering relevant courses for the profession.

Step 2: Score Experience Through Freelance and Internships.

After completing your fashion course, gaining experience by pacing and testing your skills is crucial. Hence, when it comes to becoming a fashion stylist, professionals suggest that aspirants apply for an internship or be a part of a freelance project. 

Moreover, being an intern or freelancer allows you to hone your on-the-job expertise. They will teach you how to start your job, finish it, handle costume houses, and more. These skills cannot be earned through education but through real, on-the-ground experience and a mentor who will guide you through the ropes.

Step 3: Find your Niche Market.

Choosing your niche is vital to becoming a successful professional in the fashion industry. When you want to style everyone – including men and women- and even commercial styling, it will not connect you with the audience or key influences. Hence, you must choose a niche market to set you apart and get your attention.

For instance, if you focus on becoming a hairstylist, focus on hair care and accessories for every individual. Make sure you build the right experience to build a portfolio that will attract a suitable audience. Keep your target customers in mind and showcase a work they can rely on.

Step 4: Build Your LookBook.

Once you have gained experience and chosen a niche, it's time to build a strong lookbook or portfolio. Your lookbook should feature all your work regarding looks, brands, and, eventually, you have collaborated. A well-designed and comprehensive portfolio will be your stepping stone to becoming a fashion stylist. Despite your chosen position, your portfolio will be your professional indentation while you progress through the industry, solidifying your presence.

Step 5: Network with Industry Professionals

The crucial step in completing how to become a fashion stylist is developing strong networking skills. You should establish a varied base of professionals that includes clients, competitors, industry professionals, and more.

Attending industry events, conferences, and workshops will allow you to meet key individuals, paving the way for potential employment. Building a huge network will also enable you to generate references, allowing you to connect in the future and gain a competitive edge in the industry.

You can even build your own professional email address, which will create an impactful impression if you connect with well-established professionals through email. It is also helpful if you are considering starting your own small fashion boutique or fashion styling brand. 

Step 6: Engage with Extensive Research.

If you are an aspirant seeking to become a fashion stylist, ensure you are updated with the latest fashion trends. However, this requires extensive research. Implementing your research efforts will also help you develop a pool of knowledge and references for your career.

Research in the domain also assists you in collaborative projects. It will show your clients and employers that you are up-to-date with the current trends and have in-depth foresight. Your extensive research will not only enrich your work but also your lookbook.

Step 7: Hone Your Unique Perspective.

A guide on how to become a fashion stylist makes you an artist. Developing a unique fashion perspective and personal style is crucial for a successful fashion stylist. While researching, experiment with various themes, styles, colors, combinations, ethics, and other elements to develop a unique sense of taste.

It will eventually become your vision. With a creative vision, you can execute better ideas while working with clients. It is better to have your account with a secure email hosting provider to ensure all your emails are protected with end-to-end encryption and that none of the information you share with your clients, especially celebrities, can be tracked by third-party authorities. 

Step 8: Market Yourself. 

The best way to market yourself as a leading fashion stylist is to have a good website or blog with relevant information, resources, and links to your work and widgets to benefit your clients. You can also use social media platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn to showcase your stylist experience and engage with the audience. Be consistent in posting and interacting with the audience to attract more potential clients and collaborators.

Step 9: Be Persistent

The fashion industry is challenging and competitive, but staying persistent in improving your skills will set you apart as an elite professional. You have to develop certain attributes—tenacity, positivity, confidence, creativity, courage, and, of course, resilience. Ensure you accept every feedback positively and learn from every experience. Be adaptive and open to new challenges; each project will help you grow as a versatile fashion stylist. 

Why Choose Fashion Stylist as Your Career?

Now that you know how to become a fashion stylist, have you ever wondered why you should become one? Here, being a fashion stylist is a most sought-after career in 2024.

1. Be a part of interesting projects. 

Being a fashion stylist means your daily job duties will be interesting and ubiquitous. You have to come up with style, create an image, look at fashion websites, and analyze beautiful clothes – all these will develop your aesthetic taste and make your career a pleasure to pursue.

2. Promote a significant cause. 

As a fashion stylist, you can contribute to promoting important causes to the people. For instance, you can style clothing using recycled and sustainably sourced fabrics. This way, you can emphasize preserving natural resources and supporting local communities.

3. Travel the world

Fashion stylists get to travel for their profession. You can visit exotic locations to participate in industry and networking events. Fashion styling could be a perfect career if you enjoy experiencing different cultures or witnessing historical landmarks. 

Wrapping Up!

The fashion industry is filled with endless opportunities for you to carve your path and make a name for yourself. If you have a passion for fashion and a flair for creativity, you can readily choose a path to becoming a fashion stylist. However, when it comes to becoming a fashion stylist, the journey encompasses passion, creativity, and dedication. So, let's embrace your unique fashion sense, let your creativity soar, and remember to showcase your talent at every opportunity, marking your style in the fashion world.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How to become a fashion stylist?

Here are some essential steps to kickstart your career as a fashion stylist

  1. Gain practical experience in the industry
  2. Keep yourself updated
  3. Harness the power of networking
  4. Build your portfolio
  5. Carve a personal brand
  6. Improve your communication skills
  7. Develop a business mindset.

2. What are the benefits of being a fashion stylist?

Fashion stylists have the opportunity to create unique designs in various styles that help people feel confident about themselves and present their individuality. They also help consumers evolve with the latest trends and adhere to dress codes and regulations.

3. How long does it take to become a fashion stylist?

Once you know how to become a fashion stylist, you will wonder how long it will take. You should obtain an associate degree from a college or take arts and design courses from a technical school. On average, completing the course and becoming a fashion stylist will take at least two years.

4. What are the challenges of being a fashion stylist?

When you learn how to become a wardrobe stylist, you will encounter industry challenges. Aspirants have to handle the high level of competition in the industry as more and more youngsters are drawn to the profession. They also have to keep up with the latest fashion trends and styles.

5. Why is styling important in the fashion world?

A fashion stylist is a specific discipline that deals with the selection and combination of garments, accessories, and makeup, among others, to create a harmonious and visually appealing style. The primary goal is to represent a coherent image of a brand, person, or event.

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