It may seem incredibly glamorous to be the person responsible for an actress’s red-carpet look, but what does it take to make it as a celebrity stylist? Since being a celebrity stylist is one of the sweetest yet most challenging jobs in the fashion industry, we rounded out some tips and tricks for you.
Take fashion styling classes or get a bachelor degree in fashion merchandising.
In fashion, stylists fall in two categories—personal stylists, the ones who help celebrities develop a signature look, and editorial stylists or fashion editors, the ones who create aesthetics for magazine photo shoots and ad campaigns.
In the fashion industry, getting a bachelor degree on the fashion field isn’t always necessary, but still, it will help you make connections, score internships and get hired.
You may actually choose to earn an undergraduate degree in fashion design or fashion merchandising so you’ll learn some specific skills like design trends, understanding clothing design and textiles, and even marketing that will help you succeed in your career.
We all know that fashion takes inspirations from unexpected sources, but do you know many fashion designers also incorporated influences of architecture and industrial design into their collections?
While Fernando Garcia finds a building’s façade an inspiration when he’s balancing the proportion in any garment, Tom Ford stated in his The Independent interview that fashion was the right balance between art and commerce.
If you’re a fan of avant-garde designs yet practical styles, think of our Geometric Inspired Handbag and Geometric Sling Bag that will give some architectural feel to your looks. Read our post on “How Fashion Is Influenced by Architecture and Industrial Design” so you’ll be able to explore the parallels in these creative fields.
Studying fashion at university is common for stylists, but it’s not the only path. In fact, stylist Elizabeth Stewart gained a degree in journalism because she wanted to work for a magazine or in advertising.
In her Vogue interview, she said that she interned at a TV station during college, and her first break was a job at Women’s Wear Daily. She also got sent to Paris where she learned what goes into designing and making clothes in the couture ateliers.
Think of an internship at a fashion house or agency.
We all know that working with celebrities is a tricky kind of professional breakthrough, that’s why most professionals in the fashion industry learn about the business through internships. Styling is largely about relationships, so make connections even you’re working for someone else.
Celebrity stylist Basia Richard started out as an intern herself, and she told Teen Vogue that a lot of things in the industry works by recommendations. “Intern for a stylist, become their assistant. The key is to develop a relationship with these stylists so they can recommend you.”
After all, celebrities are very private people and they tend to be wary of new faces, which is why a recommendation from another stylist is so important. Yes, before booking jobs on your own, you have to spend lots of time interning and assisting, getting the experience of working with PR companies and pulling clothes from showrooms.
Stylist Ilaria Urbinati told Fashionista that you should establish good relationships with brands, even while working for someone else. “Designers will be more likely to loan you clothes for a less established client if you have a good relationship with them,” says Urbinati.
More than that, internship gives you the opportunity to hone your styling skills. Yes, internship will give you training in communicating with celebrities, designing new styles, coordinating with other industry professionals, and running a celebrity stylist business.
Basia even said on her Teen Vogue interview that internship teaches you how to start a job, how to finish the job, how to go from the showroom to costume houses. “That's not the kind of thing you can pick up just by studying: It comes from real, on-the-ground experience and a mentor who will show you the ropes.”
Build your portfolio or lookbook.
Do you know that working as an intern will also give you opportunities to build your own lookbook, so you can show off your styling skills to more high-profile, client base?
Lookbook is actually a portfolio or collection of photos that showcase your work as a stylist. According to Basia, she started to put her lookbook together when she was an intern for a stylist, and sooner got clients on her own.
Anita Patrickson told in her Bustle interview that you need to be a little proactive when building your portfolio. “Find up-and-coming photographers, makeup artists, and models and create your own set and world.”
When building your lookbook, you should also consider your own aesthetic as a stylist. Lucia Liu frequently works on projects as a creative director and provides art direction for magazine and advertising photo shoots, but she always tries to listen to the opinions of others without taking them too personally. If you want to express your style with your handbag, think of our Modern Classic Handbag and Chic Shoulder Bag.
She said in her Vogue interview that fashion taste is a very personal thing. “The style you give to others might not be understood at first. It takes time. It’s very important that you believe in yourself. You have to be patient and passionate. You can’t just have passion for the career for two years – you have to have the passion for over 20 years.”
Also, you should know the type of client you ideally want to be dressing. Jason’s Rembert, the man responsible for British pop star Rita Ora’s looks from a fashion It-girl to a red carpet style, stated in his StyleCaster interview that you can’t try to emulate what someone else is doing.
“I love styling pop artists and doing different kinds of projects every day. Styling pop artists may not be for some people. Don’t try to wonder why that person’s there and you’re not, because what’s meant for you is not meant for them, and vise versa.”
Keep up with style trends.
Do you know that the fashion industry is highly influenced by changes in the economy, politics and technology? As a celebrity stylist, you must stay on top of changing industry trends to dress your clients in the latest styles.
You might know that scientists and architects have been using 3D printing to create models for decades, but do you know the technology also opened doors for fashion designers to create more innovative and even futuristic designs?
In fact, the Exocet fashion brand that is known for mixing traditional and avant-garde designs used the technology to design their handbags. The brand was able to incorporate 3D printed animals design into their handbags. If you’re looking for a quirky yet unexpected statement, go for our Herald Fashion Owl Backpack.
3D printing can significantly expand creative possibilities for fashion design, so read our post on “How 3D Printing Will Revolutionize the Fashion Industry” to keep up with the design technology.
Know the ins and outs of the fashion business.
Working with lots of different personalities, going to fashion shows, keeping up with the latest trends, and studying different individual looks will help you build your styling skills.
As much as you can, spend some time doing research on different looks. After all, knowing your audience will help to give you a clearer understanding on the business.
According to Jason Rembert, you should learn the fashion industry from all sides. “It’s all about testing and figuring out what you think is cool for you. I once worked as a fashion assistant doing commercial shoots all day, and I learned that wasn’t for me. I was freelancing for a year and a half ad as much as I loved it, I knew it’s not for me,” he said in his StyleCaster interview.
Jason also stated that if you get your start in fashion editorial, your transition will be easier. “With the editorial side, you learn structure. That’s really important. I interned at Elle magazine, and that was the first really good internship I had. I worked there for six months, then, was at W magazine. From there I moved into styling celebrities.”
More than that, you should learn the market to stay relevant, or find an assistant who knows market. “Knowing who the press contact for Prada is, or knowing who came up with over-the-knee boots for the season, who has polka dots—just knowing market period is the best thing that you can invest in as an aspiring stylist. Most celebrity stylists have to,” Jason stated in his StyleCaster interview.
Also, Micaela Erlanger said in her Vogue interview that the best way to become a stylist is to go out there and try it.
“Our job is to be able to interpret any vision and be able to execute that. You have to be adaptable. It’s a collaboration so understanding how that process works is important. And that’s not something that can be learned in school. You have to get out there and get your hands dirty and watch and listen. You don’t get anywhere by just sitting around. You’ve got to go for it.”
Use social media to your advantage.
The landscape of fashion is changing dramatically, and social media made it more interactive than ever before, bringing innovation, diversity, and connectedness to the industry. You might want to check our post on “11 Ways Social Media Has Revolutionized Fashion Industry” so you’ll be able to use it to your advantage.
Stylist Anita Patrickson told Bustle that social media makes a street style look impactful on a celebrity's image as a red carpet one. A great thing, social media can help stylists to become influencers in their own right too.
According to Urbinati, when they negotiate with brands for design collaborations, they like to know you have a large following that you can promote the stuff too.
Be prepared for anything.
Just like any job, being a celebrity stylist will require commitment and hard work. According to Basia’s interview in Teen Vogue, you should be ready to work hard for your money and always be ready for the unexpected.
Most of the time, a stylist’s typical day would include anything from running around town preparing for red carpets events to working on press tours and magazine shoots—and our Hanerou Vintage Tote Bag and Urban Inspired Tote Bag will make your style chic and functional.
Vogue contributing editor and London-based stylist Elizabeth Saltzman even recommends that anyone considering this career path first ask themselves how hard they’re prepared to work. “A lot of people have great taste and style, but it has to be combined with hard work and no ego, because 90 per cent of the job is not glamorous at all,” she says in her Vogue interview.
The fashion industry isn’t as glossy as it seems, but by heeding these tricks and doing what it takes to prove yourself, you’ll be able to make it on top as a celebrity stylist.
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