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Industry Tips

Tip #1. How to create a fashion styling portfolio

A stylist cannot rely on a job application or resume to gain work with studios, retailers and individuals. The stylist's portfolio acts as a demonstration of competency by showing prospective employers the composition and editing skills of the artist in question. While hair and fashion stylists may learn technical skills on the job, the ability to build a stylist portfolio is often ignored. The creation of a stylist portfolio acts as a metaphor for a stylist's ability to turn the average into the extraordinary.


  • Look at examples of commercial, fashion and student work for your portfolio and taker notice of the composition, colouring and modelling in the photos.
  • Hire models from local universities and agencies to pose in new photos for your portfolio. Look for a diverse group of models who can bring out different elements of hair styles, clothing and stylized environments to make your portfolio more interesting. Your models should be willing to adjust hair styles and perform different poses to show your versatility as a stylist.
  • Find a fashion photographer and locate studio space with sufficient backdrops, lighting and room to handle your photography sessions.  Aspiring stylists should contact local photography studios to find out rates for renting studio space.
  • Start to build your portfolio by assembling new and old photos featuring styled objects. Object work is important for fashion stylists interested in retail work because major retailers advertise thousands of products in their fliers. If your old work is light on object work, ask your models to pose with furniture, TVs and other objects to show your artistic sensibilities 

  Image courtesy of Wondermika

  • Insert fashion photos in your portfolio to show your imagination and composition skills. Fashion photos are non-commercial in nature, focusing on unorthodox poses and clothing that are impressions of a designer's ideas rather than actual products. Your ability to match unusual clothing with background objects and wild hair may impress employers looking for cutting-edge stylists.
  • Anchor your stylist portfolio with a series of commercial photos that show your ability to bridge creativity to commerce.   
  • Outsource the creation of your stylist portfolio to an experienced printer in your community. Use a commercial printer that can reprint images on high-quality paper and use heavy-duty binding to keep the photos together. Invest in several copies of your portfolio to protect against lost or stolen documents.
  • Create an online version of your portfolio to send to prospective employers. Look for a web-hosting service that can bear high-resolution images and create a simple website that can be viewed around the clock. In addition to an Internet version of your portfolio, generate a PDF with your images to send as an email attachment to reviewers.
  • Websites like The Loop,  DripbookStyle Portfolios  and  Behance are great places to add your own online portfolio so others can find you





Tip #2. What should go in a fashion stylist's kit?

Wardrobe Essentials:
Magazine and advertising layouts strive for a look of perfection, but fashion stylists know anything can happen to clothing with wear during a photo shoot. To keep attire looking its best, fashion stylists often carry hand steamers and stain removing pens like Tide's To-Go pen. Lint rollers or brushes are also a must, as are garment bags to keep the clothing as wrinkle-free as possible. A stylist may also want to keep tags and a small tagging gun on hand to label the outfits and keep them organized.

Quick Repairs:
Not every outfit will fit every model the same, so fashion stylists are never without travel sewing kits and a pack of safety pins. She can tailor the clothing to the model's shape and quickly mend any items that get torn or damaged. A de-wrinkiling spray and can of Static Guard also can give a model's ensemble a quick fix.

Shape Makers:
Even a model's body is not always perfect and they often need items to add to their shape or camouflage any flaws they may have. Fashion stylists are on hand with clear straps for bras, cleavage enhancers, as well as tummy and control shapers like classic girdles, control top pantyhose and items from Spanx, the popular body-slimming apparel worn by many celebrities.


      Image courtesy of Fashion Bomb Daily

Skin and Nails:
A travel manicure set and small pack of baby wipes are essential items for a fashion stylist's kit. Baby wipes can clean up any sweat or makeup that runs, and if a model's fingernail is damaged, a quick filing can take care of the problem so it doesn't show in photos. Fashion stylists may also want to keep hand sanitizer around to help keep the models and photo set as germ-free as possible.

Other items that you will find useful areMasking tape for taping shoes, Bulldog clips in various sizes for pulling loose clothing items infabric glue, pins, wet ones, coat hangers and a clothes rack. 


Tip #3. Colour analysis and prediction, textile development and the top designer’s collections from around the world.

Colour analysis and prediction:Twice yearly, international colour experts who work in fashion and related industries, such as cosmetics and interior design, meet in Paris to pool information and clarify and define future colour trends. 

They bring with them a wide range of gathered opinions gathered from textile producers, designers, marketing experts, manufacturers and others with whom they have already consulted. This broad base of information is used to provide the fashion industry with a clear direction for the coming season. The conclusions arrived at by these colour professionals filter down through all levels of the fashion industry, generally by means of colour forecast reports. These reports are issued well in advance of the season and cover all aspects of the emerging colour “moods”.

Pantone -  In 1963, Lawrence Herbert, Pantone's founder, created an innovative system of identifying, matching and communicating colors to solve the problems associated with producing accurate color matches in the graphic arts community. His insight that the spectrum is seen and interpreted differently by each individual led to the innovation of the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM®, a book of standardized color in fan format. Today It also includes designers' sketches and quotes on their inspiration and color philosophy as well as on fashion must-haves. Pantone Fashion Color Report is a reference book not only for fashion editors and retailers but for every fashion lover out there.
Textile development: Fabric trends also precede fashion trends. Textile technologists and designers work with the most recent colour information when they are developing new yarns, fabrics, textures, weights of fabric, patterns and prints. Manufacturers of threads, trims and accessories also work with the textile producers, so there is consistency in direction throughout the industry. Without this general agreement there would be chaos if every textile manufacturer produced colours and textures different from what the trimmings manufacturers were working with, which could again be different from what the designers were looking for, which may be nothing like what the consumer wants to wear! Early research and collaboration is essential to the smooth functioning of the fashion industry. At the European yarn and fabric fairs which are held about 18 months ahead of the season (in the northern hemisphere), the fabric houses present their new ranges. 

Top designer’s collections from around the world: The third important influence on our fashion directions are the twice-yearly international collections shown in Paris, Milan, London and New York. These are attended by fashion buyers and designers as well as fashion analysts, commentators, journalists, wealthy private clients, and fashion enthusiasts who are lucky enough to gain admission. The main aim of these showings is to promote the reputations of the couturiers and their fashion houses, and to sell new ideas to the fashion-buying public. They are a means of testing the reactions of the fashion  world’s who’s who to a new skirt length, a new silhouette, or a totally new fashion statement.