I am not your personal shopping guide | What Fashion Stylists actually do #1

Making of WIFI Vienna master class photography | Work of fashion stylists | jobs, occupation, what it means to be a fashion stylist

Last week I styled some looks for a project at WIFI Vienna and their master class photography. The participants had a three-day workshop about fashion photography and invited me and my colleagues Mirella and Lucia to join as their fashion stylists.

During the project a thought hit me, that never occurred to me before: No one really knows what a fashion stylist actually does. I’m used to raising sceptical looks and little understanding when I tell people what my profession is. But no-one ever asks what it actually means to style and dress people. Everyone seems to make sense of it on their own by actually making and mixing up a lot of stuff in their minds.

This vocation offers so many opportunities and facets, which most people in Austria aren’t even aware of. So I want to start a series on this blog, where I tell you a little bit about the occupational fields in fashion styling. In this first article, I will begin by telling you what I most definitely not am or don’t do.

I’m not a shopping guide.

There is this German TV show named “Shopping Queen” – five hysterical women get psyched, 500€ and a shopping theme and have to go dress hunting for four hours (that’s it basically). And they are allowed to bring a friend as their shopping consultant.

So when I tell people, that I am a fashion stylist, most of them tend to think I do “Shopping Queen” for a living. Not exactly “Shopping Queen”, but the consulting part. Sorry, but NO.

I’m not a make up artist.

Though I like trying out beauty products and make up techniques myself, I’m not an expert in this field. Most stylists aren’t. In my opinion it would be a quite stressful (and without an assistant an impossible) situation to do make up AND styling on set at the same time.

I’m not a hairdresser.

This is the most common misapprehension. In Austria hairdressers are called stylists. So a fashion stylist has to be a special kind of hairdresser, right? Wrong. I can’t even do my own hair 😀

I’m not just a carrier delivering a full clothes rack.

There is actual work behind (and especially before) every styling for a photo shoot. We don’t just deliver a rack of clothes so that the photographer and model ought to pick some of this and some of that and a little bit of accessories. That’s not how this job is done. (Well sometimes it is done like that, but that would be the exceptional case for particular situations).
My part as a fashion stylist is to come up with an appropriate look. You give me your theme or some other input, tell me which story you want to tell. And the models have actually not to have even the faintest hint of an opinion concerning the clothes they will have to wear. If they like the outfits – nice. If they don’t like the outfits – bad luck for them, they have to wear them anyways. And they better wear them well 😉

I’m a fashion stylist.

Truth is, there is a story and a thought behind every look. I personally see it as a kind of art. Fashion styling is art. There are many different aspects and facets, like they exist in every art form. So this blog series should help us fashion stylists to be seen as artists too. I’m looking forward to writing this series for you.

What kind of stylist do you want to get to know first?

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