Stylists use their aesthetic skills to create appealing displays, layouts, and outfits.Job Category:
What you will do:
Your responsibilities will depend on the area you choose to specialise in. There are many different types of stylist, including:
- personal – work closely with individual clients to improve their wardrobe
- photographic – help the photographer to set the scene for a shoot by capturing the mood, style and atmosphere
- wardrobe (sometimes referred to as ‘wardrobe supervisor’) – create a character’s wardrobe for a film, television or drama production
- catwalk / fashion show – work directly with a designer to influence the style of a show
- editorial – focus on fashion editorials in magazines
- prop and set – work with the environment to create a mood
- product – work with clothing, accessories, jewellery and home products
- food – buy ingredients, cook the food, and display it in an appetising way
However, typical day-to-day duties may include:
- receiving instructions (the ‘brief’) from a designer, photographer or art director and coming up with ideas
- deciding on the best clothes, accessories and backgrounds to achieve a desired look
- buying, borrowing or hiring props, clothing and accessories
- arranging a set
- directing hair and make-up
- dressing models and making any adjustments
- keeping a stock of fashion or home accessories
- building good relationships with shops, prop suppliers, PR agencies, photographers and models
- keeping up-to-date with trends
- design skills and knowledge
- knowledge of the fine arts
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
As well as:
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
- leadership skills
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creative skills)
- excellent verbal communication skills
- organisational skills
To become a stylist, particularly in the fashion and beauty industry, you don’t necessarily need specific subjects, but certain subjects can be helpful for building skills and knowledge relevant to this career. Stylists are responsible for creating visually appealing and fashionable looks for clients, models, or media productions. Here are some suggested subjects that can be advantageous:
- Art and Design: Courses in art and design can help you develop a strong sense of aesthetics, creativity, and an understanding of visual principles.
- Textiles: Studying textiles can give you insight into fabrics, patterns, and clothing construction, which are important aspects of styling in the fashion industry.
- Design and Technology: Courses related to design and technology can help you develop practical skills related to clothing and accessories.
- English: Good communication skills, including writing and speaking, are essential for working with clients and articulating your creative vision.
- Mathematics: Basic math skills can be valuable for managing budgets, calculating costs, and handling financial aspects of styling projects.
- Media Studies: Media studies can provide you with insights into the fashion industry, advertising, and image creation, which are relevant to styling for media productions.
- Business Studies: If you’re interested in working as a freelance stylist, understanding business concepts can help with self-promotion and managing your career.
You’ll usually need experience in fashion, photography or design. As a food stylist you’ll need experience in catering or home economics.
It may help to have a foundation degree, or a Higher National Certification or Higher National Diploma in the UK, or degree in:
- fashion promotion
- fashion styling
- fashion journalism
- interior or exhibition design
- visual merchandising or display photography
Paid or unpaid work experience would also be helpful. You could get this through:
- assisting photographers and stylists
- work placements on magazines or newspapers
- working in fashion retail, visual design or interior design
You’ll need a portfolio with examples of your styling work, known as ‘tear sheets’, to show to potential employers.
Working Hours and Environment:
You’ll need to be flexible about your working hours. Days are often long and deadlines can be tight. Models, props and locations may only be available for a limited time.
Most of the time you’ll be studio based, but you might also spend time on location, depending on the type of shoot. Some of your work may be spent at home or in the office.
The work can involve climbing ladders, lifting, carrying and using glue, paint and hand tools.
Career Path & Progression:
Most stylists start as assistant stylist or shoot coordinator and, with several years’ experience, gain promotion to a senior stylist position.
Once you have built up a good reputation you may choose to set up your own business or consultancy.