How to get into styling and maintain a flourishing career
Updated: Oct 17, 2020
First and foremost, if you are shy or an introvert, if you want a 9 to 5 job week days only,
or if you cannot bare facing all weather conditions and often having to carry heavy
luggage or bags, then please stop right here, this definitely will not be the career for you.
If not, continue reading!!
Many of you must have noticed that actors, musicians, entertainers, politicians or most celebrities are often (not always) looking exceptionally sharp! Have you ever wondered how they achieved these looks (especially when attended prestigious events were press is expected)? Most of them, if not all of them have personal stylists who ensure they always look the part, as their public image is always under scrutiny.
Shuffling between the UK and France, I am often busy styling famous and upcoming Afrobeat and Urban entertainers, whilst always infusing streetwear or high fashion into their look.
Dressing others and getting paid for it may sounds the ideal job, so how to get started?
1. Getting an internship
Try to apply for internship with fashion houses, styling agencies or even better with
established stylists within the line of work you are interested in specialising in (corporate,
editorial, commercial or celebrity styling), is an excellent way to start. Internships are
ideal to gain hands-on experience and to start building your contacts as there will be very
important when you will decide to go solo and dive in by yourself in the styling world.
Where to find these opportunities? Try to contact the companies, fashion brands or
fashion stylists directly via email and by making spontaneous applications. A very good
website I would recommend, and by far the best when it comes to get the latest
internships with top brands or agencies: http://www.fashionjobs.com. You can also
upload your CV and therefore get approached directly by prospective companies.
2. Getting a portfolio is your business card
You must let others know about you. Create a portfolio with a collection of photos for
showcasing your work as a stylist/intern/assistant stylist etc.... Please ensure you display
only your best work: high-quality pictures and high-profile clients/brands only. Your
portfolio will be the key to potential work and new clients, so take your time in ensuring
it is your best representation, as a job applicant would with a CV. As and when you will
be able to afford it, invest in a good website in order to have an online presence but also a
platform that you own where you will be able to showcase your work and regularly
update your portfolio as and when required, it is also a great way to collect data outside
social media. Great platforms to use for fashion portfolios are Wix, Tumblr, Squarespace.
3. Build up your network
Try to build strong professional connections during your stint as an intern or assistant, but
do not act desperate or burn bridges as the people you meet when you start may be the
same you may need further down the line. The industry is very small and in the styling
industry, clients’ referrals and recommendations go a long way. If you are loyal, consistent and hard-working, it will pay off in the long run. Once again, internships are
also a useful way to build your portfolio and helping to find out whether the job you are
training for, is for you or not.
Now that you have interned and gained enough experience, you have now decided to make the big plunge and go solo...So what’s next?
If you want to excel as a stylist, please ensure you polish your networking skills and connect with professionals from other industries. Networking and collaborating with brands, or modeling agencies even, will help you earn a good reputation and diversifying your portfolio. In my case, working with entertainers, mostly for their music video shoots or artists photoshoot, I have had to connect with music labels, music producers as well as artists. Social media (Instagram especially or Tumblr) is a great way for anyone to start as:
1. It is free and limitless
2. It is a good way to showcase your work whilst building your portfolio
3. You can create moodboards in between projects in order to demonstrate your artistic vision and creative abilities
Word of mouth counts for a lot in the styling profession, so getting a strong network is definitely the best to gain and retain long term clients. 4. Do continuous research
A lot of computer time and reading will be required to excel in the styling profession as
you will need to always be aware of the latest trends, the latest industry news, the latest
fashion brands or viral moments that may give you ideas for future styling projects.
Despite all the hustle bustles, you must spend time to researching and perfecting your craft as you will not always have the luxury of time when shopping for clients or pulling pieces in order to create a wardrobe for a shoot.
5. Hone your skills
No one can tell the last word in the world of styling. Hone your skills and go on refining
your views as a stylist. The most important thing is to have faith in you. As a stylist, you
should be passionate about your ideas and have a creative mind to make that happen.
6. Earn a qualification
You may choose not to, but knowledge is power, the more fuel to your creativity, the more skills you will perfect. Taking a course and earning a diploma may give you an edge in this highly competitive industry. However theoretical, courses will help you understand all about the job in itself, the craftsmanship, the behind the scenes and more so, the basics requirements in order to ease yourself into the profession. So, getting a relevant degree or diploma might be also an added cord to your arch.
Hoping this will have been useful to you, be sure to really do your research before throwing yourself into this wild adventure. From my point of view, this was the best decision I have ever made, but then again...I always knew it was my passion.