Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How to be a fashion stylist

2008 Assisting for France's Glamour magazine 
"Dear Annie Funn, I am looking to become a fashion stylist and was wondering where you got your start?"  This is an email I get almost daily from students and aspiring fashionistas looking to one day become a fashion stylist.

Perhaps its because of the popularity of reality shows featuring Rachel Zoe and June Ambrose, that expose styling as a glamourous, fabulous career.  But, I am hear to tell you that styling, especially when starting off can be less than glamourous.

Having previously worked as an assistant stylist I've spent days prepping wardrobe, packing and unpacking, steaming racks of clothing, and lugging cases.  Put it this way, have you ever taken your whole closet and decided to go hiking with it, cliff side?  Thats the joy of becoming a fashion stylist.

And, while yes the pay off may be great in the end there will be many days of sore muscles, as well as sore egos.  I've had great learning experiences with some pretty awful people, and numerous awesome experiences with some of the most fashion forward, beautiful, talented people on the planet.

So, to put it lightly you've got to have a passion for your art and not be too sensitive... you must be resilient.

So, just what is a fashion stylist?  A fashion stylist is someone who puts together looks, for example on an editorial photo shoot for a magazine.

A celebrity stylist will work with celebrities which can include magazine work as well, but also red carpet events, album covers, press releases, music videos, etc.  Celebrity stylists work with their clients to achieve the perfect look head to toe.

Personal stylists will have personal clients they dress and style for everyday wear and or special events.   A personal stylist will have specific clientele, their clients may be public figures, corporate employees, or socialites.  They may overhaul their client's closets and give their clients an entire style makeover.  

A wardrobe stylist or commercial stylist styles campaigns and advertisement for companies.

I have done all of these.  I love each, but I can say that your personality type, your style type, and your desired work comfort, and schedule restrictions will determine which position is right for you.

I also get a few inquiries from aspiring fashion designers.  Unfortunately,  I don't design.  For the most part I put together other peoples beautiful designs and create a look.  I am creative however, and may tinker with pieces, add a strap, hide the dress straps, use a scarf as a head wrap, and so forth.  While there are stylists who design, the two careers are both completely different.

So, my first piece of advice is to research your dreams and find others in your area that you can intern for or assist.  This way you can learn your market and your craft hands on.  Being a fashion stylist in New York vs Los Angeles or Miami, Atlanta, or San Francisco are all different.  So, you'll want to connect with people in your area that you can learn from.

This is literally just the tip the iceberg on how to become a fashion stylist.  There are so many things I have learned and experienced I could write a book.  But, for now I hope this has been helpful.  I am currently working on developing workshops to teach hands on, and I encourage anyone interested in learning more about the job of a stylist to follow my blog or twitter for updates on classes and future blogs.

Until then, follow, read, research, educate yourself, assist, intern, and enjoy your steps entering a career in fashion.

Annie on twitter
Annie on facebook

1 comment:

  1. I'm a stylist and have been for about 2 years. I haven't done a lot of work in the past few months, which has caused me to focus more on writing.
    I live in LA, which would seem like I would get a lot of work. But it's a real you have to know the right people place.