The Essential Career Guide to Becoming a Fashion Stylist

8 minute read
Fashion Stylist

“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” – Miuccia Prada
How often have we been lured away and enchanted whenever we scroll and glance upon a celebrity who is dressed in all the glitz and glamour. We’ve been watching and keeping up with the various trends and styles offered by these celebrities and figures who steal the runway shows. But who brings about these unique drifts that are so appealing and catchy trends? There are fashion stylists who work behind the curtains and help celebrities catch the limelight. If you’re someone who has an eye for fashion and can become a trendsetter, then read this blog to know all about how to become a fashion stylist as well as a complete career map, jobs and salary prospects of this enthralling path!

What does a Fashion Stylist do?

The history of celebrity stylists dates back to 1772 when Rose Bertin styled Queen Marie Antoinette and earlier celebrities used to style themselves. However, with the evolution of the fashion industry, the emergence of social media, and the constant presence of the paparazzi around, celebrities always need to nail the look. To fulfill the pressure of always being dressed to the nines, various celebrities, political personalities, and other renowned people and hire stylists to ease their task. Various events require unique dresses and attires that perfectly match the occasion. Fashion stylists put together clothes for award shows, marriages, meetings, sports events, news events, music videos, conferences, speeches, photoshoots, etc. They need to understand the style statement of the figure and customize dresses accordingly. To be updated in the glamour lunacy, it is important for them to attend fashion shows and do thorough research in this field.  

“Fashion is the part of the daily air and it changes all the time, with all events. You can even see the approaching of a revolution in clothes. You can see and feel everything in clothes.” —Diana Vreeland

Skills Required

Being a fashion stylist is an ingenious profession that requires you to have a challenging and innovative mindset. It is essential for a person to be thoroughly updated on the dynamics of rapidly changing trends and traditions. Apart from having a creative eye, the following are the skills required for being a fashion stylist:

  • Excellent familiarity with the current styles, brands, fashion shows, and labels.
  • Ability to mend personality and fashion.
  • Good work ethics 
  • Strong communication skills
  • Risk-taking attitude
  • Diligent working 
  • Ability to multitask efficiently
  • Sound knowledge of marketing and advertisements
  • Updated about art, media, and design
  • Appealing sense of style 
  • Familiarity with Photoshop and Microsoft technicalities
  • Understanding of different physiques
  • Time management
  • Knowledge of the various traditions, cultures, and their attires

How to Become a Fashion Stylist

Courtesy: Cosmopolitan

The career map of a Fashion Stylist is not really a fixed one as many fashion designers went on to become a celebrity stylist while there are fashion enthusiasts who can also land up in this career if they are passionate enough! But there are certain key steps you can follow to pursue the career path of a celebrity stylist. Here is a detailed step-by-step guide to becoming a Fashion Stylist:

1. Finding your Own Unique Style

Clearly begin with understanding whether this profession is really for you. Watch fashion weeks conducted in London, Milan, New York, Paris, and Arab. Understand the details and read about great fashion icons like Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Masaba Gupta, Sabyasachi, etc. who stood out and broke the mould. Experiment with different fashion styles and trends and keep innovating until you stumble upon your own unique sense of fashion style because an unparalleled and extraordinary style is what carves the beginning of all trends in Fashion!

2. Earn a Degree in Fashion Design

While following the fashion trends and major celebrity stylists is a constant thing you need to do as someone interested in this career path, getting the right degree and formal education will also help you gain the knowledge of the history of fashion, the growth of trends and much more! Earning a diploma or bachelor’s degree will also provide you with an edge over the others. It will also widen your range for career options and help you make your way into the fashion industry.

The subjects covered in the study programs include textiles, history of fashion, merchandising, retail buying, hair, skincare, etc. which help you deeply learn from the best professors and stylists. There are numerous fashion designing courses offered in India and abroad which you can pursue and some of the most popular programs you can opt to become a Fashion Stylist are:

  • Diploma in Fashion Styling by JD Institute (9 months)
  • ISDI’s Fashion Styling Course in India (15 weeks)
  • Creative Fashion Styling Course by NIFT Delhi (6 Months)
  • Online Course in Fashion Styling by Conde Nast College of Fashion & Design [6 Weeks]
  • BA (Hons) Fashion Styling by Solent University (3 Years)
  • BA (Hons) Fashion Styling and Production by University of the Arts, London (3 Years)
  • Master in Fashion Styling and Communication by Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) (9 Months)
  • Online Masters in Styling, Image and Fashion Communication, ESDi, Design Higher Education School (1 Year)

3. Explore Internships

One of the most crucial steps is assisting a fashion stylist or landing in an internship. Find an internship at a fashion agency or assist a personal stylist. This will give you a deeper insight into how the practical world of a fashion stylist looks like and help you understand the communication with various people you meet during work. You also boost your confidence and build personal networks with reliable and important people.

4. Create your Portfolio

Courtesy: Dribble

Assemble all your previously completed work in a lookbook. This helps employers and clients understand your style sense and can pick accordingly. It also helps you maintain a record of all your work for future reference.

5. Capture Suitable Career Opportunities or Begin Your Own Venture

Once you’ve strengthened the roots, you can either choose to work in an agency or build your own consultancy service. You can also start your own venture by blogging or creating a website. Beginning with your own business will include an extra effort initially, but once you’ve made your mark, you’ll surely excel in this field. 

6. Build a strong Network

Use your connections from the college or internship to build a strong network. You never know who may need a stylist. Remember to keep it professional and healthy. Having a big network is only worthwhile if you are making sure to keep a positive image of yours. Connect with industry professionals and build a strong clientelle. Some of the best jobs and clients come through a reference.

7. Do Extensive Research

Know all the current trends, what is out of fashion, and what can be brought back. Research different looks, check out what your contemporaries are doing. You should know what is acceptable and appropriate. There are a lot of risks involved in creating new designs and you do not want to be in the bad name.

To be acknowledged and recognized in this highly competitive field, your need to shoot ahead of the crowd. Apart from your passion and skills, one must possess robust knowledge and expertise for being a great fashion stylist. In India, NIFT, NID, Pearl are some renowned institutes that provide diploma, certificate and degree courses in fashion styling. If you aim to study Fashion Styling abroad, here are top universities you must check out:

Jobs & Career Scope

A fashion stylist has multiple avenues to build their career. Based on your niche, you can easily pick your style, build expertise, and beautifully execute it. The following are the list of sectors you can choose from:

  • Personal stylist
  • Celebrity Stylist
  • Wardrobe Stylist
  • Photography Stylist
  • Catwalk
  • Product Stylist
  • Social media Stylist

Owing to the buzzing and vibrant structure, a fashion stylist should always be on the go. The work environment demands uncertain schedules and work shifts. The fast-paced work requires travelling and relocating to major cities for work opportunities. Fashion stylists might even need to put in extra efforts and stay longer depending on the event and the client’s needs. 

The average salary of a Fashion Stylist ranges from 3 Lakhs to 5 Lakhs p.a. for entry-level roles and can increase with more experience. Based on the type and position of your career, the salary may also differ. Some fashion stylist agencies hire junior stylists or freshers and once you have earned a good reputation and are recognized, you may choose to set up your private business or consultancy. The pay also depends on the type of structure a stylist follows. Some stylists charge on an hourly basis while some charge based on the entire session. Their salaries can start from15lpa.

Where do Fashion Stylists Work

Fashion stylists have a lot of room to work on. There are several events and shoots where fashion stylists are required:

  1. Professional Photoshoots
  2. Music Videos of Celebrities
  3. Print and televised advertisements
  4. Television News
  5. Political, movie or Sports campaigns
  6. Personally styling celebrities
  7. Movies and Television

Difference between Fashion Editor and Fashion Stylist

Many times a Fashion Stylist is referred to as a Fashion Editor. But these two are two different fields.

  1. Fashion Editor: A fashion editor is responsible for looks in a photoshoot. They are responsible for choosing a photographer, model, clothes, makeup, location, etc. 
  2. Fashion Stylist: A fashion stylist does all that and includes styling for movies and celebrities

The fashion industry is filled with countless opportunities owing to the growth of fashion and varied artists. Hope this blog helped you understand the details of how to become a fashion stylist. If you want to pursue a career in fashion designing and don’t know where to start, our experts at Leverage Edu are here to guide you in finding the right course and university and building a career map to help you actualise your professional goals! Sign up for a free session with us today!

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  1. Dear Leverage Edu team,
    I am Mrs Ashwini kumar living in Oman ,Muscat.
    Looking for a Diploma course in Fashion.
    I want to study Something that includes Fashion styling,color analysis ,visual merchandiser and personal stylist (ONE DIPLOMA) including at least 3 of this.
    Due to the Lockdown and pandemic situation I prefer to Study online.
    Please recommend a fashion stylist course In India and abroad.
    I have checked some which you have mentioned in this article.
    Still confused how they teach online.
    Hope the courses online is interactive and one on one and not just PDFs and long study.

    Thanks regards

    1. Hi Ashwini!

      Thank you for your comment. Please reach call on this number- 1800572000, if you want recommendations on fashion stylist online courses. Our experts will help you out!

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