As a fashion stylist, an innate sense of colour and style is the base material you carry. To this, a certified fashion stylist course builds the foundation and the structure, teaching you all there is to know about your profession. In addition to these, you need to pick up other practical elements to stay on top of the business every day of your working life. So, here are some tips on how to be a successful fashion stylist:
Choose your Niche
Whether you want to be a fashion stylist for print, TV, fashion shoots or for celebrity styling, work on a range of assignments. Based on this experience, choose your niche. Know all there is to know about your area of work. Also, choose your personal style. Eventually, this will serve as your imprint.
Be Flexible and Versatile
Choosing your niche doesn’t mean refusing all other work. Even when you gain recognition and respect, keep yourself flexible. Choose the occasional work that is outside your niche for the simple reason that it interests you and challenges you. This keeps your excitement alive. Secondly, it stops you from getting typecast into a certain style which will limit your choices over time.
Know your Fabric
Study fabrics deeply and thoroughly. Know how they react to different temperatures and body shapes; know their drape and fit once stitched. Armed with this knowledge, you would be able to choose what’s appropriate for your clients. Know the design and manufacturing techniques. This body of knowledge makes the difference between a great fashion stylist and a good one.
Study Fashion and Trends
The past can be a source of great inspiration, so know your fashion history from across the world. Keep track of what’s trendy, and the hot and the new stuff. Subscribe to fashion magazines and blogs. Watch fashion shows. Observe the designers. Stay on top of what’s happening.
In all likelihood, the client knows quite a bit about current trends. Get creative to deliver more than what the client knows and expects. You can work with a theme and build the outfit to fit the theme. Or you can give a special touch with a blend of the cool and the sleek. To know what works for the client and keeps her pleased, listen to her carefully. Be open minded while working with clients. Don’t ignore the art of getting the right body shape for the client. Body slimmers are sometimes needed to get the right silhouette.
Attention to Detail
It’s a job where your client is extremely high profile. You can’t let a single element slip. The dress must fit just right, the accessories must be perfect, no visible bra straps or drooping fabrics. Every slip is visible to all. Plan it to the last detail and don’t leave anything to chance.
Project Management Experience
You need to be very organized. Apart from planning the entire look, you are in charge of making it happen. That means bringing together all the elements as well as handling emergencies that arise in the last moment. You should be able to move quickly from planning to action to emergency mode, particularly on fashion shoots and expensive productions.
You will be the first in and last out. It all begins with your planning and ends with your packing up the stuff and returning them where they should be returned. Stay fit to have the energy to manage it all.
Pay attention to your wardrobe. Represent the service you offer. Depending on the work you seek, you ought to look for example, sleek, trendy or hip. Mirror what you offer. What you wear doesn’t have to be expensive branded clothing. It just needs the right look.
Ease and confidence does half your job in convincing the client. Be confident about your abilities and convey that to your client.
Never let down your focus. Be patient. Persistence and determination will get you farther than you ever imagined.
Initially, build your portfolio with whatever project comes your way, big and small. Once you make inroads into the industry and start getting the more high-profile work, you can update your portfolio with the more impactful work. If you have to, do the unglamorous and the non-paying jobs. They help build your portfolio. Ask for a testimonial in return or a contact in the industry. Each piece of your work spreads the word. Supplement your income initially by offering your services as a personal shopper, wardrobe planner or any of the peripheral jobs you can get while you knock on doors for that perfect fashion styling opportunity. It’s a necessary part of setting up any business.
A business or profession isn’t just about your domain knowledge. Knock on doors. Network whenever you get the chance. Marketing, advertising and business development skills are important in equal parts.
Last of all, build a thick skin for the criticism that is bound to come your way. Learn from it and move on. Don’t let it hold you back.
The author, Suman Agarwal, is the senior-most Image Consultant in the Indian Sub-continent and director of Image Consulting Business Institute. Image Consulting Business Institute is a pioneer in India and one of the biggest brands in the world in Image Management and Soft Skills Training Space. It offers programs for people to become Image Consultants and Soft Skills Trainers and at the same time offers Image Management and Soft Skills Training services to individuals and companies.