Month: August 2006

Ask tristinstyling: How do I become a Fashion Stylist?


How do I become a Fashion Stylist? Where do I start?


Below is an article from the Los Angeles Times that Breaks it all down pretty well. Why reinvent the wheel right? happy reading!


Fashion stylist

SUSAN W. MILLER, M.A, Special to The Times
August 18 2006

Question: I am interested in fashion trends and am considering a career as a fashion stylist. How do you go about getting into this field? Is there training available? How much do fashion stylists earn?
— Marshal

Response: The primary way to enter the field of fashion stylist is in the “apprentice” system. This means working as an assistant or an intern with an established stylist. Assistants usually work for 2 years or more before branching out and taking clients on their own. Although there are no specific educational requirements, coursework in fashion is helpful in developing a portfolio, which you will need to compete for jobs.

Job Description
Fashion stylists are responsible for the color and style coordination and placement of wardrobe and props on print advertising shoots. They may also work as wardrobe consultants. They may be hired by a single celebrity client, by several celebrities, or by an agent to work with clients to prepare them for appearances at events.

Stylists work on television, film, commercial or music video sets. They read the script and look at storyboards to determine what wardrobe items are required and how to procure them within the budget.

Advertising agencies, catalog publishers, fashion houses, or public relations firms also hire stylists. There are other kinds of stylists, too, such as food stylists. They present food in an appetizing manner for photo shoots and commercials.

Fashion stylists must have a good eye for things that look “hot and new” and be aware of fashion trends. They also need to enjoy shopping (and returning items) and be resourceful and detail oriented.

Since stylists are independent contractors, they need to manage the business aspects of their work. This may include hiring an assistant, paying bills, invoicing clients, handling advances and budgets, and keeping precise records of expenditures, which can be substantial.

The following institutions offer classes in fashion:

Los Angeles Trade Technical College
400 West Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 763-7000

The Fashion Department offers a 28-unit/14-course certificate program in fashion design and fashion merchandising. Courses include Basic Art & Design, Entrepreneurial Fashion, Fashion Industry Interchange, Advanced Patterns & Design, Apparel Methods Analysis, and Basic Fit Problems.

They also offer internship opportunities. Courses are offered in the days and evenings. According to a representative, the department maintains a bulletin listing of jobs in fashion. The cost is $26 per unit, and most classes are three units.

Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
Los Angeles Campus
919 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 624-1200
Fax: (213) 624-4799

The college offers a 90 unit associate’s degree program in fashion design with coursework including Portfolio Preparation & Presentation, Wardrobing for Film & TV, Script Analysis, Film & TV Now, and Costume Illustration for Film & TV portfolio.

The cost of the program is approximately $19,000. The school provides a web site of information on various financial aid programs including scholarships, grants and loans.

Networking is critical to being hired. Staying abreast of fashion trends is important. The following associations can be helpful:

Fashion Group International (FGI)
(212) 593-1715
Los Angeles Chapter

Members of FGI include fashion stylists. Associate membership is open to those with at least one year of fashion work experience. Membership benefits include networking opportunities at meetings, industry updates through the FGI resource library and a newsletter, plus an online directory listing of members to contact for career advisement.

Local meetings take place in various locations including the California Apparel Mart in Los Angeles. Annual associate membership dues for Los Angeles chapter members are $70

Association of Image Consultants International

This association is comprised of a variety of fashion professionals, including wardrobe consultants and fashion stylists. Members also include seasoned fashion and wardrobe consultants, color theorists, verbal and non-verbal communication specialists, business strategists, authors, speakers, personal shoppers, cosmetics and skin care professionals, hair stylists, etiquette experts and students.

Most members work with both individuals and organizations on perception management, appearance, wardrobe and communication skills.

The Southern California Chapter meets the third Monday of each month for a meeting, lunch and a program. For further information, visit the SoCal chapter on the web at

Cost of membership is $275 per year, or $165 per year for students.

Employment Outlook
There is keen competition for few fashion stylist positions. Work is neither consistent nor steady. Assistant stylists are usually hired by the day through word of mouth or from letters and resumes sent to established stylists.

Fashion stylists and assistant stylists may sign up with a talent agency that specializes in placing stylists and artists, such as the following:

Cloutier Agency
1026 Montana Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 394-8813

This agency specializes in providing freelance assignments for fashion/wardrobe stylists for productions such as commercials and music videos.

Artists Untied
Los Angeles Office
(323) 933-0200

This talent agency based in San Francisco represents key stylists and assistant stylists in the Los Angeles area. To secure representation, experienced stylists may send their portfolio to the agency for review. Entry-level stylists with little or no experience may also contact the agency and send their resume for review in order to be considered for assistant stylist positions, working alongside key stylists so they can develop their portfolio.

Both assistant stylists and experienced stylists may have to do some projects for free in order to build their portfolios.

Assistant stylists are paid between $150 and $200 per day.

Experienced stylists who work consistently earn from $75 to $200 per hour, and can earn $35,000 per year. The handful of top fashion stylists earn up to $150,000 per year. They may earn approximately $1,500 per day. However, a one-day shoot may involve two to three days’ of preproduction and postproduction work, and hours may be long when working on television or film productions or shoots.

— • —

Susan W. Miller, M.A., is a National Certified Career Counselor, a Certified Vocational Evaluation Specialist and holds diplomate status on the American Board of Vocational Experts. She heads California Career Services, a private practice career counseling firm in Los Angeles.

E-mail career questions you’d like answered in this column to or visit California Career Services at