Dream of a successful career in the beauty industry? Learn how to become a fashion stylist!

Today, we’re here to answer all of the need-to-know questions you have about this exciting new career path. So, sit back and get comfy. By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll know EXACTLY where to begin and how to find success in professional fashion styling!

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Fashion Stylist?

Okay, first thing’s first: do you need professional training to start a career as a fashion stylist?

Technically, no, you don’t. But that said, your chances of success will drastically decrease if you choose to forego a proper education. The fact is, the majority of employers and clients alike will be looking for some kind of reputable qualification on your end.

Think of it this way: if YOU wanted to hire a fashion stylist, would you prefer booking someone who could prove that they know what they’re doing… or someone who can only claim to know what they’re doing?

I think we both know the answer, right?

For this reason, the most successful of fashion stylists will have either a certification or a degree in their field. If you want a fruitful career, it’s in your best interest to do the same. We’ll take a closer look at the sort of fashion styling course you can take shortly!

How to become a fashion stylist in-post image 1

How Much Does a Fashion Stylist Earn?

Next, if you want to know how to be a fashion stylist, it’s worth having an idea of the type of money you can make. When looking at this, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” salary for this profession. Two fashion stylists living in the same city can make two completely different incomes.

Impacting Factors

Some of the key factors that can directly impact the amount of money you make include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Your location (i.e. big city vs. small town);
  • The demand for fashion stylist services in your area;
  • The quality of your professional portfolio;
  • How much hands-on, in-field experience you have;
  • Your local competition;
  • The amount of effort you put into networking;
  • Whether you’re working as a fashion stylist part-time vs. full-time;
  • Whether you’re employed by a business or run one of your own;
  • If your business also offers other beauty services, such as professional makeup, for example;
  • How you’ve priced your service rates;
  • How you market your business/services;
  • And more!

Average Salary Ranges for Fashion Stylists by Location

Of course, I can provide some annual salary ranges for full-time fashion stylists, based on country. Here’s what’s typically being made throughout the world:

  • United States: Between $44,000 USD to $61,000 USD per year (Source: Salary.com)
  • Canada: Between $39,000 CAD to $46,000 CAD per year (Source: PayScale)
  • United Kingdom: Between £15,000 GBP to £35,000 GBP per year (Source: PayScale)
  • New Zealand: Between $36,000 NZD to $51,000 NZD per year (Source: PayScale)
  • Australia: Between $76,000 AUD to $133,000 AUD per year (Source: Salary Expert)

The Added Value of an Accredited Certification

When you get proper fashion styling training, you’re investing time, money, and effort into your skill-set. As a result, once you graduate from your course, you earn the right to price your services in a way that properly reflects that.

Plus, if your business offers any additional beauty services, as I mentioned above, then you can raise those rates, too!

Moreover, having a credible fashion styling certification will do wonders in terms of helping you stand out from your competitors. Setting yourself apart from the crowd will not only elevate your career – it’ll definitely help you earn a higher income!

Did you know that ALL of QC Makeup Academy‘s self-paced, online certification courses are accredited and internationally-recognized? Check out our full list of programs here!

Best suit. Young fashionable stylist helping his client to get dressed while standing in his workshop

Is Fashion Stylist a Good Career?

Here’s the thing: even the best-paying job in the world won’t be worth it if you aren’t actually enjoying yourself. So, this begs the question: is it worth your time and effort to actually become a fashion stylist?

Is it truly a good career to pursue?

That depends on you, your goals, and your personal preferences.

Here are a few questions to help you get a better idea of whether or not fashion styling is the perfect fit (heh) for you:

  • Do you love getting creative?
  • Are you a “people person”?
  • Do you have a natural eye for fashion?
  • Are you passionate about helping others look and feel their very best?
  • Are you eager to learn everything you can about the industry?
  • Do you already have a beauty career and want to expand your services?
  • Would you love the chance to be your own boss and start your very own business?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, then guess what? You should DEFINITELY get started as a fashion stylist, because it sounds like you were born to do this job!

Furthermore, another awesome perk to this profession is that there are so many possible career opportunities at your feet. For instance, you could strictly offer in-person consultations – but you could also offer virtual consultations, too. This would open up your client reach and allow you to book with people from anywhere in the world!

Additionally, there are countless different areas of the beauty industry that you could specialize in and branch out into. These are just some of the industries you could lend your expertise to:

  • Everyday clients (i.e. fashion styling for day-to-day needs);
  • Editorial and photoshoots
  • Fashion and runway
  • Film, television, and live theater
  • Bridal fashion
  • Maternity fashion
  • Fashion styling for mature clients
  • Fashion styling on a budget
  • Boutique and/or fashion display styling
  • And SO much more!

As you can see, the possibilities are endless!

Alright, now that you know what it takes to be a fashion stylist, how can you actually become a fashion stylist?

These 4 steps will walk you through the process!

How to become a fashion stylist in-post image 3

Step One: Learn The Career – What IS a Fashion Stylist?

If I were to ask you, “What does a fashion stylist actually do?”, would you know how to answer this question?

If not, don’t worry, because you’re about to find out!

As a fashion stylist, you’ll be responsible for any/all of the following tasks:

  • Conduct initial client consultations and follow-up appointments;
  • Help your client determine (and then work within) their allotted budget;
  • Collaborate with other professionals in the beauty industry (e.g. makeup artists, hair stylists, photographers, etc.);
  • Get to know your clients on a more personal level, so you can best determine the style(s) that suit them and their lifestyle;
  • Being a subject-matter expert on style basics (i.e. fit, weight, drape, appropriate sizing, fabrics, textures, colors, patterns, prints, body types, balance, etc.);
  • Accessorizing clothing;
  • Creating efficient wardrobes with versatile pieces for clients of any age, gender, body type, etc.;
  • Owning and successfully operating your own business (should you choose to go this route), etc.

To get an even better idea of what a fashion stylist does on a day-to-day basis, I’d recommend doing a bit of detective work on your end. Read publications and check out successful fashion stylists on social media. Their channels could provide some eye-opening, inspiring insights into what their lives (and careers) truly look like!

Step Two: Take Courses on How to Become a Fashion Stylist

At this stage of the game, it’s time to decide where – and how – you’d like to obtain your professional fashion styling education. As such, the first step is to determine whether you’d like your schooling to be done in-person or online.

Brick-and-Mortar Training

This is the obvious choice if you’re the kind of learner who best thrives when physically surrounded by your peers and instructor. However, one downside to keep in mind is that in-person courses can get ridiculously expensive!

Not to mention, you’ll be forced to go at the same pace as everyone else. Meaning, if your fashion styling program is, say, 6 months long, then you won’t be able to graduate any sooner than that.

Online Training

Online schooling, on the other hand, is a LOT cheaper because there’s no physical campus to maintain. Plus, it can often be done at the student’s preferred pace, which is definitely another bonus.

QC Makeup Academy’s online training, for example, is 100% self-paced! Once you enroll in your program, you get a full 2 years to finish it. That said, during that 2-year timeframe, YOU get full control over when and how often you want to work on your studies.

To put this into perspective, if you were to devote a mere 1-2 hours per week on your studies, you could graduate and earn your internationally-recognized certification in as little as 2-6 months!

You woman lying on couch with laptop. Home shoot.

QC Makeup Academy’s Fashion Styling Course

For aspiring fashion stylists, QC Makeup Academy’s Fashion Styling Course will teach you everything you need to know! In this 8-unit online program, you’ll discover:

  • Historical and modern fashion trends;
  • Fashion icons from both the past and present;
  • The role a fashion stylist plays for clients;
  • Various different career opportunities at your disposal;
  • How to conduct a successful consultation;
  • How to master basic fashion elements;
  • Styling for men and women alike;
  • Layering and creating a balanced silhouette;
  • Fashion styling for specific purposes (i.e. everyday wear, business attire, etc.);
  • Accessorizing;
  • Styling on a budget;
  • How to work with all body types, ages, genders, etc.;
  • What goes into building your professional brand;
  • How to start your very own business and/or add fashion styling services to an existing business;
  • How to maximize social media and other online platforms to market your business;
  • And more!

Within 1-2 business days after you’ve enrolled in this course, you’ll receive your login details for QC Makeup Academy’s Online Student Center. From here, you’ll have direct, online access to your digital textbooks, assignments, instructional videos, etc. That said, we’ll also mail you a physical copy of your course materials, too, which you should receive within 1-2 weeks after you enroll.

The best part of this entire experience?

Once you graduate, you’ll receive your internationally-recognized Certified International Styling Professional (CISP™) certification! You can then proudly add this qualification to your resume and wow all prospective clients and employers alike.

Read the full Fashion Styling Course breakdown and curriculum here!

Step Three: Get Hands-On Industry Experience

Once you graduate and enter the industry, you’re going to need two very important things in order to book legitimate, paying clients:

  1. Real-world experience and
  2. A stunning portfolio of your fashion styling work.

After all, potential clients (as well as possible employers) will want to see that you know what you’re doing before they choose to hire you. Plus, you’ll be a lot more confident in your skill-set if you’ve taken the time to truly hone it first. This can only really be done through hands-on experience.

Here are a few ways you can gain this crucial experience, while also developing your professional portfolio at the same time:

  • Practice your fashion styling skills on friends and family
  • Offer complimentary services to people you know
  • Demonstrate the techniques and skills you’ve acquired from your training using your own wardrobe
  • Get involved in a stylized photoshoot
  • Lend your fashion styling expertise to a good cause (i.e. not-for-profit and/or charitable events), etc.

It’s worth noting that you probably won’t get paid for any of the practice acquired above. However, at the beginning of your career, this is okay. What you won’t be gaining in financial profit, you will be gaining in hands-on experience! Not to mention, these opportunities will allow you to grow your portfolio and stock it with high-quality images. That on its own is 100% invaluable!

Remember: you won’t be giving away freebies forever. Just think of it as a necessary step to get to where you want to be!

How to become a fashion stylist in-post image 5

Step Four: Stay on Top of Fashion Trends

If this is truly the path you’re passionate about pursuing, then taking one course at the beginning of your career won’t be enough. Rather, you’ll be motivated to absorb as much new information as possible and advance your skill-set at every opportunity!

After all, this is one of the single smartest ways to keep your craft current – and that’s EXTREMELY important in every single job field.

So, stay in the loop about popular fashion styling and beauty trends! Follow other industry experts on social media, read fashion publications, and further your education by taking more courses. Plus, you can also join online communities and attend networking events, which is always a smart idea.

All of these are things that will help you remain up-to-date on what’s going on in the fashion/beauty industry. Obviously, what “keeping up-to-date” means is different – and subjective – to everyone. Either way, it’ll be in your best interest to do so.

In the end, committing to and embracing lifelong learning will only ever help you. It’ll be the very thing that, ultimately, allows you to leave a long-term mark as a fashion stylist and beauty professional. And really, isn’t that the goal?

How Do I Start as a Freelance Fashion Stylist?

Lastly, if you know in your heart that the dream is to run a business of your own, then here are some tips and brainstorming questions to help you get the ball rolling:

  • Decide what you’d like to name your business, confirm that this name isn’t already taken, and then register your business name who no one else can take it in the future.
  • Sit down and really think about what you want your brand to be. How can your business’s imagery and aesthetic convey your brand? What message(s) do you want to associate with your business?
  • Who is your target clientele and how can you reach them?
  • Start researching what goes into building a professional business website and brainstorm all of the key information you want to include on your site (e.g. About Me page, contact info, client testimonials, your portfolio, etc.).
  • How can you start developing your portfolio?
  • Do you want to travel to your clients, invest in a physical business location, etc.?
  • Do you want to offer virtual fashion styling services in addition to in-person ones?
  • What’s the industry standard in your area, in terms of service rates?
  • Do you have an idea of what you’d like to charge for your styling services?
  • Would you like your business to offer any other types of beauty services? If so, what sort of training should you get, in order to be best qualified?
  • Which social media platforms would you like to establish a presence on, and what will your strategy be on these platforms?
  • How else can you market your business efficiently?
  • How can you start growing your professional network?

Do you have any additional tips to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

Now that you know how to become a fashion stylist, it’s time to get started. Enroll with QC Makeup Academy today and book your first client in as little as 2-6 months!

Author Sloane Seguin

More posts by Sloane Seguin

Leave a Reply