Fashion is a factor in this world, without it there simply wouldn’t be life. When one thinks of “fashion,” the first thing that probably pops into mind is clothing. Yet fashion is clothing, it is also so much more than that. Fashion is how people choose to live their lives, how people express themselves; it is the outward expression of a new idea, which is how business thrives. The business of fashion begins with one single idea; the idea can be something as random and spontaneous as, say a lampshade. With this idea, the designers, the creators of fashion clothing, will take this idea and their creative minds to design an article or collection of clothing that all relates to a lampshade. These designs must to relate to women’s and men’s life-style in today’s time in order for the trend to blossom. The designs will then be advertised at fashion shows; if the designs appeal to the public eye, then the collection of clothing will continue on further.
This is where the workers of fashion marketing and merchandising take place, they will take the collection of clothing and sell it to retail stores all around the world. Finally, what makes this collection well-known, is the fashion stylists, they buy and style the particular collection to fit the everyday life-style of a particular client. This is how fashion revolves around everyday life. An individual who researches the career of a fashion stylist will see how all of this unfolds in much greater detail, along with the job description, training needed, salary, education, schooling, nature of work, and advantages and disadvantages of the career. One will be much more knowledgeable and wiser when it comes to determining a career path.
To start off, the life and times of a fashion stylist can be a rewarding, challenging, and beneficial if the individual is passionate about fashion. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, “the employment of those working in clothing, accessories, and general merchandise stores is expected to grow by 11 percent over 2008-2018”. This is useful information because the public eye has created a stereotype that fashion is one of the worst careers to major in. Fashion stylists are responsible for putting together clothing ensembles to meet demands of specific clients. Says Elissa Santis, stylist of Teen Vogue, “a good stylist thinks of the big picture, it’s almost like producing a movie, casting, hair, makeup, location all of these ingredients are essential to bring clothes and accessories to life.” This is one way to describe the career of a fashion stylist, but what does it take to become a fashion stylist? Unless one was related to Dianna Vreeland, (famous fashion editor of Harper’s Bazzar in 1936) it would be difficult for one to go directly into fashion styling and be successful.
One must have a real passion and desire to achieve the position of a fashion stylist. First, the individual must obtain an internship in a fashion industry, whether that is a magazine company, or a retail store. If the individual has not lost passion after interning, they will then be hired as a stylist apprentice, which is where the individual will finally start getting paid. Finally, the last position you must obtain before achieving the career as a fashion stylist is a fashion stylist assistant, you will work shoulder to shoulder with a fashion stylist, ,learning the ropes with a professional which can be beneficial to your education in the industry. One can then start working towards a fashion stylist position. The best advice to achieving these positions according to Jillian Davison stylist of Harper’s Bazaar is, “leave a lasting impression when applying for fashion jobs; before I interviewed at Harper’s Bazaar, I blew a lot of money on a fabulous pair of fuchsia shoes, and to this day I’m remembered for them.” Since there is a high demand for this career, depending on where one is living, the completion can either be minimum or high. Finding a job can be more challenging depending on the demand; in order to find work one is going to have to look further then “help wanted” signs if one truly wants to be successful. As June Ambrose has noted, “Network with fashion designers, photographers, makeup artists, hair stylist and other like-minded people to find work” (Ambrose).
Having a good contact list of people in the field will help one achieve a job, also if one is looking to achieve a greater income the best place to achieve that would be a big city. According to the website College Optional Careers, “Fashion stylists in hubs like NYC, LA, and Chicago have higher average salaries” (Stylist). Knowing this information in advance will help one be more prepared when searching for a job. After receiving the job, what is the amount one is expected to get paid? College Optional Careers website notes, “According to Payscale, CBSalary, and indeed.com, the average salary for American fashion stylist is $45,000-$50,000 a year” (Stylist). There is no set amount for how much one gets paid, it all depends on one’s education and experience in the field. Fashion stylists can choose how they are paid, varying among several different options. (Ambrose). If you are an independent fashion stylist then it all just depends on the quality and quantity of work. “The top 10% of fashion stylists may make over $80,000 a year, while the bottom 10% make less than $25,000” (Stylist). If one has a good education in fashion, their chances of having an increased salary are higher than an individual without an education. Working in the field for a greater amount of time will also result in a higher salary. As seen in Figure the amount of salary that one is expected to get with years of experience. Figure 2 shows what job positions are most popular in the fashion field (Fashion Stylist Wages).
Figure 1. “Fashion Stylist Wages.” Payscale. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2013.
Figure 2. “Fashion Stylist Wages.” Payscale. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2013. Additionally, the education that one must obtain to be more successful in the field is endless. There are no education requirements to begin a career as a fashion. But it would be in your best interest to learn a lot about fashion design, color theory, and marketing stylist (Fashion Stylist Careers) (Stylist). The training that one must achieve in order to gain maximum education is to have their mind set to do whatever it takes in order to achieve this knowledge. The internet and library are good sources when pursuing an education and are highly recommended to obtain the education that one needs. June Ambrose observes, “Watch shows on websites like style.com, and Fashion TV, read fashion magazines, fashion blogs and regularly look at the top fashion sites like fashionising” (Ambrose).
The most highly suggested major of study for this field is a bachelor’s degree programs in visual merchandising, and fashion design which helps one to communicate fashion trends more efficiently. In earning these degrees, you will be taking classes which cover different body types, fashion trends over time, and tailoring. The topics include anything from “alterations, clothing construction, clothing selection, color theory, and fashion history” (Nicole). Having the knowledge over all these subjects will help one be more successful in the field. Now, one might ask, where is the best school that will provide all the essential knowledge in the best possible way? Luckily there is a large number of fashion schools that some of the most famous fashion designers and stylists have trained. These schools include: “Parsons the New School for Design, located in the heart of New York City, the capital of fashion. Parsons is leading new approaches to art and design education. For a bachelor’s degree for one year the cost would range around $19,640. Also, located in New York City is, the Fashion Institute of Technology, this school is a rigorous liberal arts foundation, which offers hand-on instruction.
What makes this school stand out from most is many famous designers have studied here such as: Calvin Klein and Michael Kors. Some of the other top fashion schools located outside of the US are; Polimoda which is located in Florence, it is always in-line with the fast changing fashion business. The price for one year ranges from $8,500 to $100,000” (Nicole). Finally, another option to choose for education can be a certificate program, which normally takes less time to achieve then would a degree. According to mypathfinder, “Some stylists attend short courses that offer a comprehensive knowledge of the fashion industry and styling trends and techniques” (Fashion Stylist Careers). These are some options that many of today’s successful fashion people have obtained their education through. Now that one has been informed on the career outlook and education of a fashion stylist, one may wonder what the nature of work is. As read in the Teen Vogue Handbook, “Fashion is 90 percent preparation, 10 percent presentation” (Razorbill 1-198). “In this field one should expect to work more than 40 hours a week or 12-18 hours a day” (Stylist).
The reason one works so long each day is because there is quite a bit to accomplish in a short period of time. Noted by mypathfinder, “Fashion stylist careers involve a long list of duties, including borrowing and returning outfits and props, meeting with public relations firms and retailers, and producing creative design solutions”. Rarely are there any breaks or down time when working in this career; if there ever was down time, one would spend that time consulting with make-up artists, hair stylists, and directors and photographers. (“Fashion Stylist Careers”). This is what one should expect in a typical day. If it is the day before or of a fashion event, one should expect to work over hours to accomplish everything successfully. Through all of this hard work, there are advantages in working in this career.
These advantages include; if one is an independent stylist, they are their own boss, which can be to their advantage (Messiah). Another advantage to a fashion stylist, independent or not, one does not have to be chained to a desk, a lot of the time spent on the job will require one to be on set or in one’s car (Messiah). The work day will always be different, which gives one an opportunity to meet new people in the field, advancing networking skills (Messiah). Fashion stylists main job is to shop, whether that is in a department store, showroom, or boutique. In order to find the products that you must purchase, it will require some traveling, whether it be just down the street or a flight to Paris. Finally, if one successfully satisfies a client, the client may send designer clothing or accessories as a way to say thank you (Messiah). Like every job there are always some disadvantages. The disadvantages of being a fashion stylist is, working late hours which can sometimes be a challenge if one has to wake up at 4 a.m. in order to successfully deliver and set up clothes at a set, and one does not get to go home until 1 a.m. this job can be very sleep depriving (“Stylist”).
According to fashion stylist Christie Moeller, family life often struggles and can be very hard to maintain, she also stated that this job has caused many to leave this field because they were burnt out. These are some of the disadvantages that one must consider before applying into this field. Last but not least, one must have excellent personal characteristics, to avoid being burnt out, and be successful at this career. Some of the characteristics that one must have are “responsiveness, must be ready to respond to requests and to questions in a professional manner. Also, one must be creative; a fashion stylist will have to pick the perfect outfit from a sea of choices.
A good team player is also very beneficial because one must keep in mind that they are not creating the look they want, but the look that is best for their client. They must know how to put ego aside in order to meet client’s goals. Finally, one must be patient; stylists must deal with divas, ego-maniacs, and other difficult people” (Stylist). If one is confident in themselves that they have these characteristics, it will make them more likely to be successful as a fashion stylist.
In conclusion, one who is interested in the career of a fashion stylist will see how all of this unfolds in much greater detail, job description, training needed, salary, education, schooling, nature of work, and advantages and disadvantages of the career one will be much more knowledgeable and wiser when it comes to determining a career path. One that has done more research and shown interest into fashion styling will be more advanced than the common individual who does little research. Understanding the career, education, and job details will also help one know if this is the career choice for that individual. One who knows that this is the career choice for them will have a much more successful and rewarding journey to their career in fashion.