Gems for the Aspiring Fashion Stylist

Gems for the Aspiring Fashion Stylist

The fashion industry is vastly emerging to one of the most desired and needed industries today. Everything nowadays is all about visuals and creating a particular “image” for the world to see. So it is no coincidence that Fashion Stylists are on the rise everywhere you turn. However, getting into the industry can be a little tricky. There are educational programs out there, but they will not provide all the tools and knowledge needed to break into the industry. There are also many articles on the web that offer great tips, which many have the same cliché tips. This article will drop some unique and amazing gems/tips that anyone looking to get into the industry should take heed to.

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Decide which lane of fashion styling you want to pursue

The great and exciting thing about the fashion styling industry is that there are so many different paths to pursue that all have their own set of varying experiences, challenges & highlights. And the most exciting part is that there is good money to be made in each! Some of the different paths include Editorial, Commercial, Costume Design, Celebrity Styling, Personal Shopping, Visual Merchandising, Image Consulting and more. Doing your research on each and recognizing your strengths will help you determine which lane is a better fit for you. There are some stylists that tend to work in multiple lanes and have done a great job at being successful at it! However, I would caution you here as it’s a real hit or miss. While you don’t want to box yourself in, you also want to be sure to create a “niche” for yourself. Master one. Create something special that people know and respect you for.

Start from the bottom and work your way up

The fashion styling business is kind of like its own secret elite club that has its hidden gems that are only shared/known amongst those in the club. There are quite a few “Must Know” things in the fashion styling industry that can take years to learn & truly understand. One of the top things that stylists want to know is how to get access to garments. That’s top trade secret babe that will not be given for free! You may get hints and tips here and there, but the best way to learn the industry is simply to pay your dues either through an internship program, mentorship or being an assistant. Inquire with other stylists in your area, that you have done your research on & respect their gift, on interning or being an assistant. While there are many classes/programs that are offered nowadays (which they do provide tons of information), they do not provide the experience. You also get to network with way more people! Try carving out time to do both.

Now when it comes to reaching out to these professionals, I want to leave you with these 2 tidbits: (1) DON’T reach out via social media. You want to be taken serious so be professional. (2) DO be intentional with your message and show interest in growing THEIR brand, not yours. A true professional & mentor will pour tons of knowledge and experience into you with PURPOSE. Catch that. With PURPOSE! They know that you aspire to be a stylist and want to be exactly where they are one day, and further! So, they are prepared to groom you, help you and direct you. However, they will not do that if your sole message is all about you, your passion and what you aspire to do. Show interest in helping them to build their brand. When they win, you win. Trust!

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Hustle up your Network

Being a successful Fashion Stylist heavily depends on curating great relationships and building a bomb network. Listen, there are some stylists out there that lacks “fashion sense”, but because they have such a great network and the right relationships, they are killing it! Get out there and brand yourself. Go to various events, get involved in your community, go to events outside of your state, send out emails to other likeminded professionals that you could benefit from working with. You have to get out here and literally hustle up a great network! People need to know you. They need to see you. They need to see your work and believe in your gift. Building this great network and truly crafting great relationships will help when it comes to needing garments from designers and stores as well.

Shoot as much as possible

Fashion is all about visuals. People need to see that you have an eye for fashion. Starting out, you should be shooting at minimum once a week. Whether it be of you, family/friends, models, or whomever, you should be shooting and building a portfolio. This will also help with determining my first point of deciding which lane is for you. Building this portfolio is not just for others to see your work, but also for you to study your own work. You will start to see some things that you need to improve on. You may decide that hey, maybe this lane isn’t for me, let me try this lane. You’ll start to learn how you want your brand to be curated, which may change over time as you really get into shooting. It also helps with your creativity. The more shoot, the more ideas you will start to form and want to try.

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Study other stylists but don’t compare yourself to other stylists

The biggest tip to break into the industry is to study other stylists, but not to compare & measure yourself against other stylists. You have to know who you are, appreciate your unique gift and gracefully accept the path for which you have been given. You will have days of self-doubt. You will have moments of “How in the heck did he/she snag that gig when I know…!” You get my drift. You must trust that what is for you is for you. You must trust that there is a reason for everything. You also must have patience and use those moments to make you go harder. Lastly, you must stay HUMBLE. There is room out here for all. Create your own lane and master the heck out of it.

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Jamie Davenport