I decided to do this post after a few people asked me on numerous occasions how to become a stylist. Before I start I’ll just clear up that I am a stylist, however I think people have a very different view of what styling is to the reality, we’ll see!
How To Become A Stylist // The Reality
It’s not an easy job thats all picking outfits and glamorous shoots, its actually a very physical job that can often be dull and monotonous just like any other job. I love it because I’m freelance which means I get to work with different companies, regularly meeting new people and always doing something different. Let me be clear about this, I could not do it full time. I just couldn’t. The early mornings, you barely sit down in a day and it’s pretty much the equivalent of a squatting session in the gym if you’re working on trousers god forbid – no stylist likes trousers.
There’s also the fact that if you’re doing something like plates, yes plates, some companies have stylists for plates . . it’s like watching paint dry.
Like with any job, there’s ups and downs but essentially I get to work in a creative environment, meet new and like-minded people every day and generally most days I’m working as a stylist I’ll be crying with laughter at at least one point in the day.
How To Become A Stylist // My Story
So I didn’t actually set out to be a stylist, I kind of fell into it. I know what you’re thinking, how annoying. I hate it when people say this too, but honestly I did.
I actually asked to do work experience with my sister (already a stylist) whilst at uni only to be told “we don’t do experience, but you can come in and work if you want”. So, let me get this straight, I can get the experience and be payed a day rate? hell yeah! So after realising that I was earning loads more and I could fit it in better around my uni course, I quit my weekend job at Topshop and took up freelance styling.
Then when I finished Uni I went to London to do full time styling, long story short I hated it and moved home. I then got a job doing buying, did it for a year and then was signed off with anxiety and stress. I was actually happy in buying (or thought I was) but after being signed off for a while, therapy and the people I worked withs behaviour made me 100% sure I was not going back within a mile of that place . . I didn’t even clear out my desk, I can still picture that can of coke in my drawer.
Whilst I was deciding what to do with my life, I went back into freelance styling as I still had the contacts and basically, over time I realised that I had to make it work. I’m not up for working in a bitchy office and dreading Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, life is too short!
How To Become A Stylist // My Top Tips
So even though I kind of fell into it, I thought I would give you some helpful tips on what would help you on how to become a stylist.
Start Now // Experience is Key
Don’t think I want to be a stylist when I’m older or if you’re thinking of changing careers doing it once you find a job. Start now, are there any local magazines you can offer work with? Use websites like FashionWorkie.com to find people who want to work together or brands that need interns, it could just be for one shoot.
It’s also a great idea to email brands you know of if they want help with styling or if you can shadow someone. Also look out for visual merchandising jobs as I did this before styling a bit whilst I was working at Topshop and it’s something related that will help. You could even offer to do the window displays in your local charity shop, experience is key!
Network & Self Promotion
Once you get your first styling job, you’ll learn more about the industry and other opportunities. Particularly with e-commerce, you never know where the studios are, half of the time they’re sitting right under your nose!
This is more for freelancers but networking with the make up artists, models, photographers and other freelancers will not only make people want to recommend you if they get on well with you but will also help you to find out what opportunities are around you. Someone will mention they know a freelancer, you’ll get an email, this is mainly how I’ve found things to work, people prefer to hire stylist on recommendation as it’s easier than putting an ad out and training someone up, particularly if its a freelancer!
Build Your Portfolio
If you can’t get experience with local companies etc, make your own portfolio yourself. Do you know any photographers and friends that will help to model?
Failing this, or on top of that, start a blog, this is why I started mine – to show what I do, but it’s actually turned into something great for me. It’s amazing the opportunities that can come your way and if you advertise your styling work alongside your blog it’s a great way to get work! A blog is the perfect way to show your passion and potential, it also shows your commitment and motivation!
I always think that half the job of a stylist is to entertain the photographer, particularly if you’re shooting something like plates. As I said before, word of mouth is the best way to get new bookings so make sure you’re always on top form and make an effort to get to know people. Yes people will recommend you for your work, but if you get on well with them and become friendly, they’ll also recommend you because they love working with you and want to see you more often.
So those are my handy little tips on how to become a stylist! I hope you guys found them helpful, those of you who requested this! By the way, I love getting post requests, so if there is anything you ever want to know then send me a message, tweet me or comment below and I will add it to my list!
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