Q. I love your website. I’ve been interested in fashion (like lots of women) for a long time. I was wondering how you got into the business. I would love to become a stylist or give fashion advice but I don’t know where to start. Also, I live in a pretty rural area so I don’t have access to much.
A. After college I worked as a print journalist at a women’s magazine and was lucky to have an editor-in-chief that let me assist the fashion editor on photo shoots. Some days I spent interviewing celebrities, writing articles on serious issues like teen pregnancy or writing a travel review, while other days I dressed models, lugged trunks and learned about styling. It has been many years since my start and since then, I’ve been a fashion editor, style director, freelance stylist and have traveled quite a bit for countless photo shoots in near and far away places.
The best stylists I know are those that don’t diva themselves—they can pick out clothes, work with models, hire a good assistant and create a compete look that works with the photographer and director’s vision.
The best way to get into the business is to be prepared. Follow designer trends and keep track of how they vary from season to season. Watch how lesser priced retailers knock off the top designers. Watch fashion shows which can be viewed at style.com. Read fashion magazines, blogs and regularly look at top fashion and beauty sites like glam.com, style.com, etc. Consider getting a retail job in a local boutique and learn about the designers they choose for the store. Take stock of what retail sources you have available in your town and the surrounding area and offer personal shopping services for a low fee to get your feet wet in helping people organize their closets, create a wardrobe and find their personal style. Find your voice and start your own fashion blog on the internet (sites like typepad.com make it easy, even if you don’t know much about computers). If you have a small local paper, offer your writing services for free to talk about style. Team up with a local photographer, hair and makeup artist and start doing small photo shoots with models or model wannabes to get photos to put in a portfolio. Perhaps your local paper or magazine will print photos of style trends you style so you can borrow clothes from various boutiques and they’ll receive credit of where to purchase the clothes.