Becoming a Fashion Stylist – What to Bring With You to a Shoot…

Welcome back to another edition of Becoming a Fashion Stylist where I share with you the tips and tricks I have picked up while building my career as a Stylist.

Last time I shared my top tips so you can totally rock it when you start at your Styling Assistant Internship so this time I thought I would talk about what you need to bring with you to a photo shoot.

The secret to every Stylist’s success on set is her Styling Kit.  A Styling Kit is a collection of tools and products that a Stylist uses to make their outfits looks incredible in front of the camera.  I have two zippy bags filled with the essential pieces and I bring them with me to every shoot.  I don’t necessarily use everything in the kit on every shooting, but its important I always have them with me so I am prepared for any kind of wardrobe emergency.

12524326_1516019412037496_764185482700694749_n

My Top Tools…

  • Lint Roller – to remove hair and fluff, especially from black outfits!
  • Travel Sewing Kit, Needles and Pins
  • Safety Pins – in a range of sizes
  • Scissors
  • Clips and Mini Clamps – for pinning the looks if they are too big for the model
  • Masking Tape & Double Sided Sticky Tape – to this so useful as everything needs to be perfectly in place in the photo.  Especially for sticking down shoe buckles, extra long belts and bag zip tags that have a tendency to flap
  • Shoe Horn
  • Black Apron – to keep everything on your person during shooting
  • Fish Wire & Thread
  • First Aid Products, Aspirin & Tampons – to never know when someone could get sick
  • Shoe Polish or a Shoe Buffer
  • Jewellery Cloth – to polish up the jewellery before shooting
  • Glasses Cleaning Solution – to clean up sunglasses lenses
  • Elastic Bands – to tie around coat hangers to identify looks on the rack
  • Q-Tips – great if you are shooting Still Life to put inside footwear to make the shoe look fuller.
  • Blue Tack – something always needs sticking
  • Nipple Petals
  • Nude Thongs
  • Black & Nude Socks
  • Gum
  • Hand Sanitizer, Mini-Perfume, Lipstick & Nail File

And I always bring some healthy snacks on set with me like nuts, rice cakes, fruit and cereal bars so I can keep my energy up all day.

Once you start working as a Styling Assistant its really important you begin building up your own Styling Kit to bring with you on set.  Your boss wont expect you to have a full kit straight away but she will appreciate it if you arrive prepared with the most important things.  It shows a committed attitude and means if she has to leave you alone on set, you have the tools you need if something goes down.  For extra points you can store it all in a cute zippy bag so you look fashionable and prepared.

Have any questions about starting out in Fashion Styling? I would love to hear in the comments below…

Like what you read… Don’t forget to give me a follow on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest.

Becoming a Fashion Stylist -Top Tips When Starting as an Assistant

Welcome to my third edition of Becoming a Fashion Stylist.  I took a little break from writing this feature over the holidays but now I am back in full force to share with you what I have learnt on my journey to becoming a Stylist.

Last time I spoke about how to bag yourself a fabulous internship as a Styling Assistant, so this time I thought I would share my top tips for how to totally rock it when you start.  Working in Fashion Styling is a totally amazing job however it can often be fast paced and stressful.  Your new boss will understand you are there to learn and you wont be expected to know all the tricks of the trade immediately.  However there are some things you can do from the go to make sure you start off shining.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 10.23.28

Tip One – Keep Quiet.

You are there to Assistant and though you may have just finished fashion school and be full of ideas, keep quiet on set and keep your opinions to yourself.  Unless your Head Stylist asks you for your opinion on something, keep you head down and get on with what you were asked to do.

Tip Two – Stay off your Phone.

Unless you are following something up your Head Stylist asked you to do, keep off your phone.  That means no Whats App, Phone Calls or Instagram while you are on set.  Its super important you are really focused on what is going on around you and always being on your phone gives the appearance of a bad attitude.

Tip Three – Always Be Professional.

You are super lucky to be working in a really cool environment, on an amazing location or in a state of the art studio.  Its high energy, there will be lots of people and lots going on at any one moment.  Its not like an office environment and can feel a lot less formal, however that doesn’t mean its ok to relax.  Even if the people around you are chatting and joking around as soon as its go-time everyone is focused and on point.  As an Assistant its important you are always prepared and ready to go.  Its ok to enjoy the day but always be professional and focused.

Tip Four – Be Respectful of the Hierarchy.

Working as an Assistant gives you have the opportunity to get experience at important shoots.  That means you might get to work alongside famous photographers, models or important clients.  As cool as that is, always remember they are more important than you and may not be interested in chatting or getting to know you.  You might think its a good opportunity to ‘network’ but always remember they are your bosses clients and its not cool to try and work your way up through them.  Of course if they speak to you that’s nice, but be polite, professional and respectful of the hierarchy.

Tip Five – Be on Time.

As the Assistant its super important you are there when your Head Stylist arrives so you can help her carry the clothes, unpack and set up.  Being late is never ok.  For extra bonus points arrive five to ten minuets early to make sure you are already there before your boss.

Tip Six – Be Prepared.

Once you start shooting its going to be a busy day and sometimes anything can happen.  It’s really important to be prepared and as the Assistant you have to organize all the things your Head Stylist doesn’t have time to think about.  Be prepared for all situations that may arise by having everything with you.  Phone chargers, water, snacks, your Styling Kit, and clips are all things you can bring with you to make sure you are prepared for every situation.

Tip Seven – Don’t Wait to be Told What to Do.

Its all hands on deck from the moment you arrive on set, so don’t stand around waiting to be told what to do.  Ask your Head Stylist what she needs help with and if she is busy speaking to the photographer or client get on with unpacking the suitcases, organizing the accessories and steaming the clothes.

Tip Eight – Don’t Try to Hide Your Mistakes.

You just started out so you are bound to make mistakes somewhere along the line.  I definitely did! Your Head Stylist will understand this, because everyone has to learn.  The important thing is how you deal with your mistakes.  Don’t try to cover them up or hide what you did.  Your Head Stylist will find out and she wont appreciate being kept in the dark.  Its much better to own up as soon as you realize your mistake and work together with your Head Stylist to fix everything quickly then move on.

And finally, enjoy it! You will be working in an amazing and inspirational environment.  Make the most of it and enjoy the experience!

Have any questions about starting out in Fashion Styling? I would love to hear in the comments below…

Becoming a Fashion Stylist – How to Land a Styling Assistant Internship…

Welcome to the second edition of my new feature: Becoming a Fashion Stylist, where I will share with you some of the tips and advice I learnt while building my career as a Fashion Stylist.  For this second issue I taking it right to the beginning and talking about getting a Styling Internship.

If you want to work in Fashion Styling the best way to start is by doing an internship as a Styling Assistant. It’s really easy to want to skip this step and try to go straight into being a Head Stylist, especially if you have just finished a degree in fashion, but all the top Stylists got to where they are today by working their way through the ranks and getting as much experience as possible. There is so much to learn about Fashion Styling and the experience you will gain through internships and assisting will be invaluable as your career develops.

455c6986d05ea026f1a02713cce16aa4

(photo – The Devil Wear Prada – 2006)

Here are my top tips for how to get a Styling Assistant Internship…

Decide which type of Styling you want to work in.

Fashion Styling covers so many areas so it’s best to decide which area you want to work in before you start your career path. You could be a Fashion Editorial Stylist, styling and creating features for magazines, a Film Wardrobe Stylist creating the looks or costumes worn in films and on TV, an Advertisement Stylist, creating Campaigns and Catalogs for brands or a Personal/Celebrity Stylist where you work with individual clients (famous or unfamous) and choose their wardrobe for daily life, events and public appearances, some of this also crosses over into being a Personal Shopper. Of course it is possible to do a combination of these areas of Styling, which is what I do. But before you start its good to have an idea of which areas interest you, so you can make sure you are assisting the right kind of Stylist.

Prepare your CV & Portfolio and start contacting.

Get in touch with Fashion Stylists and the styling department of magazines and ask for some experience. Be prepared that it may begin infrequently, with the Stylist just calling you when they need you for shoot days or busy periods. But once the Stylist begins to trust you and sees how hardworking you are, they may start to offer you more regular work. Top tip – its best to contact Stylists and magazines whose aesthetical style you really admire as you will learn a lot more and get more from the experience – there is no point contacting a sports stylist if you are interested in high fashion for example.

Believe in yourself and devote yourself to your dream.

The Styling world is extremely competitive and also very fast paced. People don’t always have time to be nice and sugar coat things and you will face a lot of rejection on the way. So stay positive, believe in yourself and stay committed to your dreams. You will get there in the end.

Eat, Breath and Sleep Fashion.

Learn as much as there is to know about fashion. Read fashion magazines as much as possible and learn which ones you love the most and why. When you see fashion editorials you like tear them out or make a Pinterest board of them and study who was the stylist and photographer. Learn about fashion designers and their collections, fashion throughout history and which celebrities are fashion icons and why.  It’s all stuff you need to know to do your job well and its very inspirational.

Be professional and shine. When it comes to your interview, dress well, be on time, don’t play with your phone and be willing and enthusiastic to start your new internship.  The Stylist will see how great you are and will be excited to have you on board.

Good Luck xx

Want to learn more about becoming a Fashion Stylist… Check out the third issue of the feature Becoming a Fashion Stylist – Top Tips to Becoming a Styling Assistant

Becoming a Fashion Stylist – What to Really Expect…

Recently I have had some questions about how I started in Fashion Styling and how to break into that career path. Styling is a really incredible career and, for those who succeed it will provide an amazing lifestyle of travel, fun and excitement – alongside a lot of hard work. After two inspirational years of working as a Styling Assistant, in July I decided to take the next step and set up on my own as a Freelance Fashion Stylist. Still in my first six months, this journey has been exciting and exhilarating and branching out on my own has been one of the most motivating things I have ever done.

But I am still growing, and I wouldn’t have started in Styling at all if it wasn’t for the amazing guidance and mentoring from the Fashion Stylist I assisted. There is a lot to learn about this area of the industry and I thought it might be helpful if I started sharing some of the things I am learning along my way. I have decided to start a new feature on my blog called ‘Becoming a Fashion Stylist’ which I will include on a weekly to fortnightly basis. I hope I can share with you some of the knowledge I have started picking up on my way and, if you are considering becoming a Fashion Stylist, help inspire you to follow your dream. If there is something specific you would like me to cover in the following features, please let me know in the comments at the bottom of the page and I will endeavor to answer your questions in my future posts.

To kick it all off I thought I’d start right at the beginning – What to Really Expect When Becoming a Stylist.  Here are five truths about Fashion Styling you need to know before you considering this as a career choice.

77add03ebf01a943ab3d5b1f5cf356dd(photo – The Devil Wear Prada – 2006)

Fashion Styling is not a glamorous job. 

When I tell people I am a Fashion Stylist they immediately imagine I spend my time strolling around shops, picking out pretty dresses, getting lots of free stuff and going to celebrities parties.  My job has some of that, but in reality Fashion Styling is a really tough job!  Actually I spend most of my time running around the city collecting items for shoots, carrying really heavy bags of clothes around or crawling on the floor helping the models get their shoes on.

Be Prepared to Pay your Dues.

If you want to make it to the top of Fashion Styling you need to be prepared to work for it.  Everyone at the top started out as an Intern or Assistant and everyone has worked their way through the ranks to get where they are today.  To become a successful Stylist you have a lot to learn and the best way to do that is become the Assistant to an established Stylist.  You will get to go with them to incredible shoots, work alongside talented teams and see how things are done.  But starting at the bottom also means a lot of manual work before you even get the chance to think about how you would style an outfit.  Think packing suitcases, carrying bags, running errands, getting coffee and organising clothing returns.  It’s not always fun but you just have to suck it up and get on with it with a smile on your face. I can guarantee you the person you are assisting has been in your position at some point too and will not appreciate a moaning Assistant.  You just have to get on with it and know in a few years your responsibilities will widen.

Expect to Work Long Hours.

Fashion Styling isn’t your regular nice-to-five job.  If a big shoot is coming up or an important client needs dresses for a big event you will be working in overdrive to get everything done in time and to make sure everything is at the highest standard it could be.  That means working till late at night and even during weekends and holidays!  Sometimes its very tiring and it means you miss out on a big social life.  I don’t mind that because I think I am really lucky to be working in an amazing industry like fashion, but if you are the kind of person who needs that nine-to-five routine then Styling really isn’t for you.

You Need to Have Incredible Problem Solving Skills.

What do you do when the heel breaks off a pair of shoes right before you give them to the model to wear and the photographer and all the team are waiting for you onset? What do you do when the model spills some coffee on the designer dress loaned under your name and you need to return it to the brand tomorrow spotless or you will be charged for it?  What do you do when the looks being sent to you for a shoot get held up in the post and don’t arrive in time for the shoot day?  In Styling you will be faced with these kind of problems on a regular basis and you need to be able to find solutions quickly and without a drama.  This involves being quick thinking, creative and keeping a cool head.

You Need to Have Very Thick Skin.

Sometimes it really is like ‘The Devil Wear Prada’ in this industry.  People are really busy and they don’t always have time to sugar coat things and be nice.  Learn early on that you should never take this personally, have a thick skin, let the negative things pass over you and just get on with your job.

There you have it, my five truths about Fashion Styling. It is a lot of hard work and energy and you need to be prepared to work for it, but being a Fashion Stylist also has some really amazing parts to it too and I feel really lucky I get to do such an interesting job everyday.  If after reading all that you still feel excited about starting out in Styling then it is definitely the career for you.

Have a question about breaking into Fashion Styling? Let me know in the comments below and I will try to answer it next time…