a woman standing in front of a mirror holding a coat.
a woman standing in front of a mirror holding a coat.

What Is a Fashion Stylist? How Can I Become One?

‍Fashion stylists work behind the scenes to ensure models and their looks are camera-ready at every photo shoot, fashion show, or other red carpet event. A stylist brings a unique set of skills and interests to the role, but this career isn’t for everyone. It typically takes years of experience with styling personal projects, photos shoots, and fashion shows before you can call yourself a fashion stylist.

However, if you’re interested in becoming one and think you have what it takes to thrive in this role, there are steps you can take to get started on that path. If you love fashion and want to make it your career, read on to learn more about what a fashion stylist does, how they work with designers and models as well as potential entry-level jobs that could give you the right foundation for a career as a stylist.

What is a Fashion Stylist?

A fashion stylist is a person who helps designers, models, celebrities and other people in the fashion industry create looks for photo shoots, events, or personal day-to-day wear. Essentially, a stylist works behind the scenes to ensure models and their looks are camera-ready at every photo shoot, fashion show, or other red carpet event. Photo shoots are stylists’ bread and butter and where they get to really show off their skills and creativity.

When shooting a photo, you have to think about so many different aspects, from the lighting to the location and the models’ poses. Like every aspect of the fashion industry, being a stylist is a very collaborative job, meaning you work with others to achieve a shared vision. Photo shoots are where these partnerships and collaborations are tested and where the stylist truly gets to show off their skills. A good stylist is creative, collaborative and knows what looks good on camera.

How Do You Become a Fashion Stylist?

If you want to become a fashion stylist, you will first need to make sure you are well-equipped with the right set of skills to succeed in this field. Keep in mind that experience is also key, so you can’t expect to get this job right out of college.

Generally, you’ll need a few years of experience under your belt before you’ll be able to call yourself a stylist. To get started on your path, you’ll want to hone your skills as a designer, patternmaker and patternographer. It’s also important to learn about the design process and how to incorporate different fabrics, fabrics and patterns into patterns.

3 Steps to Becoming a Fashion Stylist

First, you’ll need to get experience in the industry. When you’re just starting out, you’ll likely work in retail. While retail might not seem like the most glamorous job, it’s a great way to build a network in the industry and put your skills to the test. You’ll likely get to work with real customers and have a chance to experiment with styling them as well as yourself.

Next, you’ll need to start networking and getting your name out there. It’s important to attend fashion shows and events where designers, models and other people in the industry are present. If you want to take things a step further, you can start a blog or social media account to show off your work and get your name out there.

Finally, you’ll need to complete an internship at a fashion magazine, website or PR firm. This will give you the hands-on experience you need to get your foot in the door of the industry.

2 Additional Steps to Help Advance Your Career

  1. Start styling your own fashion shoots. As you gain experience in the industry, you’ll likely be given the opportunity to create and stylize your own shoots. Be sure to take these opportunities seriously and put your all into them. This is an excellent way to show off your creativity and put your skills to the test.
  2. Partner with participating brands that offer you more money for each purchase a client makes. You can check out partnership and ambassador programs that you can promote on your social media channels or sell directly to clients via an affiliate link.
  3. Start looking for freelance work. Working as a freelance stylist gives you the freedom to choose your clients as well as take time off if you need it. Be sure to read up on tax laws as a freelancer, though, as you’ll likely need to pay self-employment taxes.


Fashion stylists are a lot more than just the person who picks out what someone will wear for the day. They are the creators behind the scenes and the people who make models and celebrities look their best and feel their best on the red carpet. If you want to become a fashion stylist, start by getting experience in the industry and networking with others. Once you have some experience, you can begin building a portfolio of your best work as well as start looking for freelance work so you can earn money on the side.


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