What Training Is Necessary to Become a Fashion Stylist?

Fashion stylists are the 'invisible hand' behind photo shoots, fashion shows, and celebrity wardrobes. To become a fashion stylist, you need artistic, technical, and social skills that you can learn through formal courses or internships. Read on to find out what you'll learn in fashion stylist courses and certificate programs. Schools offering Fashion Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Educational Requirements

Although no specific educational requirements exist, having formal education could help your career. To become a fashion stylist, you might take individual courses to supplement on-the-job training, or you may take advantage of fashion stylist certificate programs or related degree programs. Examples of degree programs include fashion and retail marketing, visual communication, fashion merchandising, and fashion design; some schools also offer fashion stylist specializations within these programs. As a student in one of these programs, you may encounter topics such as:

  • Trends and design
  • Marketing
  • Photo shoot planning
  • Fashion styling for media
  • Styling tricks of the trade
  • Fundamentals of styling and fit
  • Fashion industry principles

Important Facts About Fashion Stylists

Online Availability Fully online fashion-related programs are available
Key Skills Artistic ability, business and marketing, creativity, eye for detail, good communication, knowledge of textiles and trends
Work Environment While some stylists work for production studios or large retail companies, many are self-employed; weekend/evening hours are common
Similar Occupations Purchasing Manager/Agent, Art Director, Model

Work Experience

Formal courses will enhance your professional knowledge, but real-world, hands-on training can also help jump-start your career as a fashion stylist. You can gain this valuable experience in the fashion styling field by apprenticing with an established fashion stylist. Internships with major retailers such as Macy's, Bloomingdale's, or Saks Fifth Avenue can also help you gain important experience, such as coordinating photo shoots and fashion shows.

Job Duties

As a fashion stylist, you are responsible for selecting the clothing, make-up, hairstyles, and accessories seen everywhere from photo shoots to movie premieres. There is no single path to a career as a fashion stylist, but work experience, networking, and formal training are all helpful in landing jobs. Through a certificate program or on-the-job training, you learn to keep up with the latest fashion trends, work with difficult people, stay organized, and execute appropriate styling for photo shoots, videos, and live performances.

Possible Careers

If you're interested in becoming a fashion stylist, you may want to consider a career in fashion design, which paid a median annual salary of $72,720 in May 2018 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Art directors made a median of $92,780 during that same year. Purchasing managers earned $118,940, per the BLS.

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