Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How To Become A Fashion Stylist...in this day and age..

After reading the article below, I was inspired to post some of my favorite work, by yours truly! For all those aspiring and unique stylists out there, this is an insightful and inspiring article (via nymag.com.)

I hope you enjoy my work. 10 years in the making, alot of blood sweat and tears, literally :-) If you have any questions about how to become a fashion stylist, I'd be more than happy to answer them!






Katie Baron Talks About Rachel Zoe, Edward Enninful, Katie Grand, and Her Book Stylists: New Fashion Visionaries

Rachel Zoe may be ubiquitous, but she's not necessarily the epitome of high-fashion styling. Many stylists don't dress celebrities for award shows; instead, they lend their creativity to high-fashion work where the goal is to challenge our notions of what outfits can be, rather than playing it safe. Former BritishHarper's Bazaar bookings editor Katie Baron interviews many of those people for her forthcoming book, Stylists: New Fashion Visionaries (Laurence King, 2012). Included among the 25 stylists featured in the beautifully bound book is Balenciaga's longtime stylist Marie-Amélie Sauvé, Harper's Bazaar's Melanie Ward, and W magazine's Edward Enninful. We spoke to Baron about the book, how the role of a stylist has changed in recent years, Rachel Zoe, and more. 

What was the concept behind the book?
For me, the only stylists that were really getting a lot of attention were celebrity stylists. Styling celebrities is a really, really big skill, but the truth is, putting a really great dress on somebody on a catwalk is not the same as doing something in the fashion editorial world, which will then have ramifications across popular culture. Someone like Marie-Amélie [Sauvé] will create these unique shapes when she’s styling, which then, two years later, will actually start dribbling down into mass culture. There are amazing books about photographers and architects, so I thought I'd do something similar about the pantheon of people who are some of the greatest minds in fashion.

How did you select the stylists you included in the book?
I wanted to include a range of styles, from more grassroots fashion to high-end American Vogue fashion; by grassroots, I mean the punkier, edgier, dirtier stuff that you see in i-D magazine. I also wanted to make sure it had a global flavor because it’s all about different languages. Each of the 25 people in the book had something to say about the language of fashion that was very different from one another. 

I noticed key stylists like Grace Coddington and Karl Templer were not included in the roundup.
Grace Coddington is quite incredible but she’s been so well represented elsewhere, so I wanted to make sure that there were some people who weren’t crossing over too much. I would have loved to interview Karl.

In the foreword, photographer Nick Knight suggests that stylists may be more important than designers in reflecting what society thinks is beautiful. Do you agree? 
I think what Nick is talking about is that a stylist can take a designer’s look — something that started with a particular collection with a particular idea behind it — and then subvert that. So a stylist has this quiet, slippery sort of power.

Fashion is tricky at the moment because a vast majority of the designers are designing sample-sized clays, and we’re in a Western world where beauty is still in a quite narrow focus. Although society's views of beauty are changing, they haven't been pushed a very long way yet. There are certain people — Nick Knight is definitely one of them — who are trying to forge ahead with that kind of change. The vast majority of people will look at a piece of clothing and understand how it works, traditionally and conventionally, but a good stylist has a different approach where there is not normal. 

The book touches on the idea that stylists have long been unsung heroes. Can you explain? 
I think people like Katie Grand are really coming to the floor. Part of the reason why stylists are getting more attention these days is that their job encompasses so many roles now. I think it’s also part of the digital revolution. All of a sudden people are filming fashion shoots and broadcasting things online. If you love looking at fashion magazines, then the next thing you’re going to do is go on the website, and then people want to see behind the scenes, they want to see the extras, they want to look at fashion films. And once people got to see behind the scenes, all of a sudden that’s when they became more aware of who was actually creating these things. If you think back to years ago, fashion shows used to be this secretive, magical world that only a few had access to. But now, the bloggers, the street-style photographers, and the arrival of the Internet really blew away the exclusivity of fashion.

But don't you think this higher awareness has also made the field of aspiring stylists oversaturated? It's a bit overwhelming the amount of "stylists" one meets nowadays. 
I think it probably really is, but I think it’s just like any profession. I think that happens once people realize there’s a job there that they didn’t know existed. You know, photography has probably been oversaturated for a long time, and graphic design, or illustration. In the creative world, people do tend to cling to titles and job descriptions, because it’s difficult if you don’t know what you are. But I’m sure there are a lot of bad stylists out there, just as there are a lot of bad photographers and other things. So yes, I imagine it’s saturated but it’s probably not any more saturated than anything else.

It's also a lot more difficult than people think. 
Isn’t it? I think people coming into the industry don't realize that, especially at magazines, you’ve got small budgets, you’ve got one day to get twelve shots, and you have to think on your feet if things aren’t working. So the organization and creativity required is just phenomenal.

What about the whole celebrity-stylists phenomena, like Rachel Zoe? 
Rachel is brilliant at what she does. Rachel has a strong sense of her clients and a strong sensibility, but what makes me not quite as excited to write about Rachel Zoe is that she’s working with real people, and trying to make them look better, but she's not really making a statement or telling a story. She's catering to that person, so to an extent she's working within safer parameters. Whereas if you’re a stylist in fashion terms, like the people in this book, you've got a blank canvas instead of a client. Rachel Zoe will be remembered for being exceptionally skilled at her job, but there's never going to be any fashion images where you look and think, "Oh my God, that’s Rachel Zoe."

 photograhpers: Ishi, Peter Koval, Jonathan Bookallil, Ryan Michael Kelly, Renie Saliba


  1. Thanks for posting this article & sharing some of your work! I was wondering how does a boutique owner get their pieces in magazines or to stylists thanks!

  2. Hi Tasha,
    It's all about PR! You can do your own public relations and avoid paying lots of money outsourcing marketing to an agency. My advice is that you get LE BOOK, its a book that acts as a rolodex of all the industry contacts in all categories including stylists. Get your hands on that and look for stylists emails/websites and start emailing them introducing yourself and mailing out samples. This is one way you can get your pieces into magazines and on celebs. Visit www.lebook.com, its pretty pricey but its a great investment! I've had mine for years and I never had to get the yearly updated versions. Hope this helps! Also, I'd love to know how you started your online boutique!!

  3. hi I was wondering how would an aspiring stylist go about requesting clothes from brands?

  4. Hi Tracey,
    If you got to the brands' website, they usually have a contact link..and they will normally list their PR agency or their PR contact, either an email or a number or both. That's the cheap way to do it. Now if you want the easy yet expensive way, get LEBOOK at www.lebook.com and it will list every fashion PR agency and brand PR info in all of NY, Paris, Milan, etc. It's the stylists's bible, I swear by it :-)
    Good luck!

  5. Great ideas I see here. Awesome work. I like your blog and I come back often to read some fashion news.

  6. This article cames in a really good time! :) I'm looking for a Master in Fashion Styling in Milan, and i'm deciding if is that what a really want to do for my life. Thanks for sharing this, I love it.

  7. Hi there! This article was fantastic. I often wonder how successful one can be since everyone these days is a " fashion stylist". Ijust stumbled on your blog today and I instantly fell in love with it! I do have a question about getting into the industry as a stylist. I'm in my early 30s, stay at home mom at the moment and desperately trying to get styling experience. I've been trying for a while but with a small child, my time is somewhat limited.Plus, I've moved a couple of times because of my hubby's job. Right now we live about 40 min outside of L.A. Great place for fashion but again, my time is a little limited until my little one starts preschool. my question is, how realistic of a career is this for someone like me? I've worked in fashion from a media standpoint and I know the time and work commitment that is involved. Just need some direction or mentoring. Your thoughts?

  8. Hi! Glad you liked the article! Your situation is similar to mine and believe me, if you've already got the talent, all you need is perseverance and stick-to-it-ness if that makes any sense. Not sure what stage you are in? are you a novice just starting out? or do you already have experience and have a portfolio to show? Age does not matter! I started my career when I was 27, had no prior experience nor any "fashion" education. My best advice is get in touch with photographers, beging testing to get prints for you book, if you don't already have one, and then start showing your book to agents in and around LA..this is one direction you can go in, but definitely feel free to ask me for more specifics. I'd love to help!

  9. Gisela,
    Thanks for your reply and your encouragement. It totally helps. To answer your question, I am a novice at this. And I have to admit that I'm a little apprehensive because I don't know the " rules" of the game. But I'm willing to learn of course. Should I try to find someone to assist first? Or would I be ok with just working with a photographer and getting some test shots? How much experience do I need before people will feel comfortable working with me? I know that having a good portfolio will be the most important thing to accomplish right now. I am determined to try my hand at it and give it my best! Thanks again for your advice.

  10. HI NM! Just read your post..sorry for the delay..the answer to your question is yess! definitely give assisting a go..its the best way for a novice to start..I never assisted, mostly because no one gave me a chance since I had no fashion background. but I didn't let that stop me and I started out as a "stylist" but really no experience but photogs were open to me since no established stylists were giving them the time of day either. But assisting can take you very very far..and it doesn't have to be this or that, it can be this AND that, so while you assist, still contact novice photogs and start getting prints for your book. People will feel more comfortable with you once you have some tangible work to look at. If you are determined and have a knack for this then it will just be a matter of time before you can achieve your dreams! please feel free to continue to pick my brain..xoxo!

  11. Wow. Sounds like a very interesting read. Thanks for sharing this article for I want to look into it more. I have always felt that styles that are too far out, are just vying for attention rather than making a statement. Hmm. I will have to think on this some more.


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