Hot Careers in Fashion: Fashion Stylist

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

September 20, 2006

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The Art Institutes

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Let's face facts--few clothing designers will graduate school and head off to careers as design directors for leading fashion houses. It's likely, however, that good number of fashion school graduates will pursue a career in fashion as a stylist.

With the growth of cable television, increasingly savvy and stylish media campaigns, and celebrity culture, the potential for stylists today may be greater than ever.

What do Stylists Do?
In short, stylists are the jack-of-all-trades of the fashion industry. They are skilled clothing designers and constructors. They understand color and contrast and can apply makeup and style hair to convey a feeling, look, or tone.

They may work on Hollywood productions, helping cinematographers develop a consistent mood through the use of makeup, clothing design choices, and hair. There, they might be known as costume or wardrobe designers. They may carry out similar functions for advertising shoots.

Many stylists, of course, pursue careers in fashion with magazines. Oprah's O magazine, for example, likely employs a fashion stylist to choose the clothing in which Oprah appears on the cover each month. The stylist may work with a graphic designer to ensure that a cover's color scheme complements a model's hair, makeup, and clothing.

Fashion magazines like Vogue, Elle, and, Marie Claire, of course, also employ fashion designers. Magazine stylists may work with fashion photographers and models to develop themes for a photo spread.

Finally, fashion stylists also work for celebrities, helping them craft an image. I wouldn't doubt that TomKat and Bragelina consulted a stylist for those too cute, too perfectly-adorable baby shots.

Fashion School for Stylists
Fashion stylists likely get their skills at fashion school. They may enrol in a program that is broad, offering them the ability to take courses in hair styling, the art of makeup, and clothing design.

If you're planning on a career in fashion that involves working on films, you might consider enrolling in a fashion school program that offers courses in film studies. Knowing something about photography and cinematography may be very useful in your career in fashion as a stylist.

About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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