I can’t tell you how many people ask me “how do I become a stylist?”. There is a reason my biz partner and I have a school that specializes in becoming a stylist – so many people want this career! My short answer is come to my school but since I am feeling generous, my longer answer is below 🙂
Q- I am pursuing a career in fashion styling. I am 22 and I know I am meant for fashion styling. I am looking for opportunities and I would love to shadow you or even get advice on the steps I need to take to make it.
A- Styling is one of the most coveted careers in the fashion industry today. It’s not at all surprising either. After all, styling is one of the highest paying jobs in fashion and with the glamorous side of the job portrayed on shows like The Rachel Zoe Project, Styled by June, and It’s a Brad Brad World it’s no wonder everyone wants to get into styling.
I asked myself that very question 4 years ago, how do I become a stylist. I had a degree in Fashion Design, worked in an office, and desperately wanted to style. Lucky for me, I found School of Style (where I am now the C0-Founder/ COO). Not to sound like a commercial but School of Style is the only place where you go to learn how to become a stylist in a very short period of time. Plus, after you graduate we get you job opportunities with literally the biggest stylist in the world. If you are serious about becoming a stylist, come to School of Style.
If school isn’t your thing and you are awesome at hustling, then this is what you need to do (ps- even if you do love school you still have to hustle). You need to find stylists and work for them. This isn’t as easy as it sounds but it can be done. Create a list of stylists you would love to work for and (politely) stalk them. Tell them how much you love their work, that you would love to work for them for free (aka intern), and the skills you can bring to the table. 9 times out of 10 your email will be ignored. Stylists get bombarded with emails like this daily. Keep trying. You never know when your email will come at the time they need you the most.
Here is dose of truth, you can’t go from a girl who dreams of styling to becoming the next Rachel Zoe overnight. In this generation of instant gratification and overnight success, starting at the bottom is a tough pill to swallow. Get over it. I went from having a full-time well paying job to interning and making NOTHING. Even though I was plenty smart and had experience in the fashion industry, I had zero experience in styling. Humble yourself and start from the bottom. Do you think Rachel Zoe went from sitting around the house to having her own TV show? I don’t think so, her 15 year journey to the top was never documented on a hit reality show.
After graduating from a 4-year fashion school I worked retail for a couple of years. Retail jobs don’t get the credit they deserve. I feel they should be mandatory for someone who wants to pursue a career in styling. You get to style customers, build potential client relationships, and you will get a crash course in fashion (getting to know labels, cuts, price points, fabric quality, etc). If you can, get a retail job in a department store such as Nordstrom, Saks, Neiman Marcus, or Barneys. Working in a department store gives you access to more labels and as a stylist, you’ve got to know your labels.
Successful people read, it’s a fact. Read books about styling and about business. Here is another reality check, styling isn’t just about shopping for pretty clothes. Working as a stylist means working for yourself. You need to know everything you can about being an entrepreneur, marketing, accounting, and all sorts of gnarly business stuff. Pick up a book and start reading.
The truth is everyone wants this job. You have to have a real passion for this. You have to really want it to get your foot in the door. Once your foot’s in, you have to even more passion to get through the doorway. Work harder and want it more than the next girl (or guy). Be willing to come to work early, to stay late, to do the seemingly unrelated tasks, be humble, and go after your dreams.