What does a fashion stylist really do?
You know those pictures that you find flipping through fashion magazines that are bound to give every girl a complexity or two at a certain growth sprout of her life?
I do those pictures. Actually, that’s my job, so I get paid to do those pictures.
Notwithstanding social stigma, I try to carry my job with the highest social regard possible. After all, I entered my profession to express beauty and whimsy in an attempt to escape the seriousness of it all.
At a deeper level, style is an expression of yourself caught in a moment of time and influenced by the current socio-economic scene. Each outfit you put on comes with a different statement, and what you wear can directly influence how feel on that particular day.
There are two main types of fashion stylists, people tend to think of one or the other when the words fashion stylist spring into the conversation, but in reality, both are very viable, creatively interesting and morally inspiring distinct positions in the job market: 1- The personal fashion stylist & 2- The editorial stylist
Here, I address the meaning of being an editorial fashion stylist and what the job entails.
To my surprise, when I asked the question at my Fashion Forward Dubai workshop this year, “What does a stylist do?” silence filled up the room before one or two people reluctantly raised their hand.
The shortest answer to this question is: Anything and everything for the picture!
It does not only stop at choosing the clothes. As a fashion stylist, you become an integral part in making a complete vision come to life. An editorial fashion stylist is a storyteller, a narrator of a silent movie, who carefully brings together all the elements required to clearly portray that movie. This can be quite the daunting task. But it is certainly well worth it once you lay your eyes on the fruits of your labour as you blissfully flip through the pages of a magazine (be it print or online).
In most companies, an editorial fashion stylist is expected to handle everything from beginning to end. First step is agreeing on the theme and the direction of the shoot with the editor, then detailing how it will be brought to life through an intricately collaged mood board. Sourcing the clothes, the location, the set-up, the props, the model, the photographer as well as the hair and make-up teams and making sure that everyone is on the same page.
Anything and everything for the picture… It does not only stop at choosing the clothes!
Each step is vital to the end result and you are part of a well-oiled machine throughout the process. It is never a one-man show, unlike blogging which can be sustained with such an independent model, editorial fashion styling is always a team effort.
This fact makes having well cultivated people skills and intuition key to the success of any editorial fashion stylist. But above all, the skill that’ll get you furthest in this game is patience. Patience during the long shoots, patience in the collection of the items and all the surprises that come with it, patience as you are dealing with all the different personalities and perspectives, and patience to keep an open mind throughout the whole project, choosing to embrace discovery over quick judgement.
Because that is where the magic of this job takes place. With every shot you take and every picture you put out in this world, you learn a little bit more about the creative that lies within you.