Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How to Become a Fashion Stylist: In The Beginning

So if you are following me on any of my social network  sites then you know that a while back I made a commitment to my followers that I would be sharing insight on how to become a stylist for Free! This came after a lot of people started asking me how they could get a started in the industry and what it would take to become a successful Stylist. So after a couple of small debates
in my head on which social format would be best; I decided to let this information become available to you on my blog so that you'd always have a point of reference to come back to and hopefully ask any questions you may have. This will be something that is on going, and hopefully you'll take away some really good information on what it takes make it in this industry.  So, here goes..

The first step in getting started is deciding that you have the talent to style and be paid for your work as a Stylist.  In order to do so you'll need proof of your skills and there's no better way than having an Amazing portfolio of your styling work.

So what is a portfolio you ask?  

Every professional stylist has or at least should have one thing in common and that is what's know as a portfolio or what's commonly known to in the industry as a book: (A culmination or series of photographs displaying samples of your best work and is usually broken down into series of categories which should include Editorial, Advertisements, Celebrity, and or High Fashion Photo Shoots known as Tear Sheets).

These samples are compiled of a list of clients that you will accumulate over a period of time and in turn, show to other prospect clients to obtain more work. Having a portfolio when you first start off is kind of tricky because if what I explained above all makes sense you should probably be asking yourself.. "how the heck do I create a book of clients I've worked with if I don't have any clients to begin with in the first place!?? I know, I know, it's a bit of a catch twenty-two but relax; There's a way to obtain a portfolio without having to amass a portfolio chucked full of clients you don't have.  It's called testing.

 Testing is what a team of industry professionals will do in order to update their books and usually consist of a Photographer, Fashion Stylist, Make-Up Artist, Hair Stylist, and Model. Once these elements are combined, they generate a series of photos called (Test) and can be used in the Teams book in order to update old work or generate new clients. Think of testing as a creative escrow. Your creating or producing work in order to see a return that literally pays off in the short or long term.

Sometimes these Teams are paid to do testing and it is usually based on ones level of experience while other times they're not. Rule of thumb is that if your first starting out you most likely will be doing these Test for free until you have a substantial portfolio that commands a fair rate.  Testing is a great way to make your first initial splash in the industry and shows how strong your creative eye is. I've produced a lot of actual work off testing and in a funny way, have proven to myself how far I could go creatively once I put my creative talents to the "test".. lol.

If you want to start testing, start off by looking for local photographers in your area and ask them if it would be possible to do a test shoot in which you would be responsible for clothing or start by taking a few snap shots of friends and style them.  There's no right way to get your work produced when it comes to testing.. you just have to put yourself out there and follow through.   

 Now, this is just the start of what it takes to become a proffesional Fashion Stylist.  There's a whole other side that consist of marketing, packaging and actually getting paid work but so far I've given you a foundation of what the industry looks for when your first starting off. During my series of how-to's, I'll give you my professional advice and opinion on what tools you'll need in order to see your career flurish. If you've found this information of use to you, feel free to join my blog or ask question below and I'll do my best to respond to all.  Styling is a Journey, but with a little direction you can do it.


  1. I've done so many tests, but still having a hard time getting paid work now. How do you get consistent work?

    1. Hi Bhoranie,

      Thats a good question.. I think consistency is key. All your test should look like the "team" was actually hired for a budgeted gig. So ask your self first if your test are of industry quality.. Meaning does your quality of work actually look like it would belongs in a magazine, an advertisement, red carpet or on the back of celebrity.. if the answer is no to any of the above, you probably need to work a little more on developing a strong book. If the answer is "Yes" then you probably need to work on your presentation and marketing (but hold tight.. I will touch basis on that in another post) Hope this helps!


  2. i just followed you ! im super paassionate in becoming a stlyist im young 17 yrs old to be exact and i want to show that fashion for young men is not basic hood attire nore high fashion vivd colors that teens my age are not ready to dive into or want to wear anyway

  3. Nice! Swag is for boys. Class is for men-

  4. Hi, wondering if you can give me some tips on the best format for a portfolio? I've just started out styling in China and alot of agencies want a PPT format but there must be a better way. Any advice appreciated...I have a website already but they insist on seeing a file...

    1. Hey Natali!

      Have you checked out and Chicisimo? They are the best places to showcase your work that could work as your portfolio and also get some business going for you.

      If you want something different, try As a Stylist I’ve set up my wardrobe consulting shop on my Storefront to promote my style. And I observed a sharp increase in the number of followers and traffic directed to my website. I started offering consulting services and this works the best with their “Talk-About” feature where I get to help put my clients in real-time. I even launched exclusive chat sessions and discounts to them which turned casual enquiries into quick clientele and followers for me. My Storefront is now my 'Style Advice Boutique'. They had me featured for 3 weeks straight and that only got me more busy!

    2. Hi Riley, what you are doing is currently my business model or intended business model but I have cold feet and don't even know how to begin creating a site. Any assistance or mentoring welcomed via my email

      To toye: thanks for sharing, I am definitely interested in your blog. Hope, I'm not too late

  5. I'm 17 and I'm entering into my senior year. The future frightens me so much... I don't want to waste time or money because I can't decide what I want to do. I want to be in the fashion industry, but so many "what if" questions come to mind. What if I'm not good enough? What if I'm not as experienced as I thought I was? What if I'm not as in love with fashion as I say I am? And then there's dentistry; yay money. Dentistry feels too plain and ordinary for me. I just don't know. LYFE.

  6. Styling is def a job I want to pursue! thank you for the "basics" so I can get started! :D ( I already have photo shoot ideas floating around in my head!)

  7. Great tips! What advice would you give to someone just beginning and looking to source clothes? I've mainly used thrift stores, auction sites and making bits and pieces myself. Thanks! xx

  8. Great tips! Do you have any tips on making a portfolio for my college entrance exam? I seem to be really struggling

  9. I think mimicking popular posts on other blogs is one of the best ways to get a good idea which will be popular.Such a lovely blog you have shared here with us. Really nice.
    Online shopping

  10. Hi!
    My name is Dani Lima. I really enjoyed your blog and it has truly been helping me set up my business plan!

    I live in Los Angeles and I was it wise to reach out to stylists to shadow them and how could I do so?
    Unpaid/internship is what I had in mind. I just want to be able to learn, watch and assist as I build my own portfolio.

    Thank you :)

  11. Hi! I understand doing test shots to build a portfolio, but as a stylist, I don't understand what clothing you use? As a personal stylist, you use your clients. But test shoots involve different types of models, of different genders, and sizes-- so what do you style them WITH??

  12. Okay so I want to be a stylist not designer so I wouldn't use my designs I would use someone else's wouldn't I how would that work out in my proflio?

  13. I found this blog after a long time which is really helpful to let understand different approaches. I am going to adopt these new point to my career and thankful for this help. Sydney Wardrobe Makeover Services


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