A lot of people ask me how to break into styling. My answer, dear reader, is always the same. If you really want to work in fashion, then you should get a job as an assistant.
Being an assistant is the best education you can get. You learn everything about the business of styling, without worrying about bringing in the business. You just focus on learning. At a certain point, you’ll move on from being an assistant, to being a stylist. And then, when you have your own assistants, you’ll know how to manage them.
When I was first starting out, I worked jobs as a stylist and assisted on the side. I just wanted to learn, and assisting offered me that.
So, you may ask, how do you become an assistant?
First, you look up every stylist that you admire, and you find their contact information. In 2022, it’s pretty easy to figure out how to contact someone. And if someone looked hard enough to find my email, I know they can hustle.
Then, you email whoever it is. And you tell them exactly why you think you’d be a great assistant. You can mention their work that you admire, and what experiences you bring to the table. Remember, it doesn’t have to be just fashion experience. You can talk about working in service, managing a team, or using your organizational skills. Those are all relevant to styling.
If your letter works, you’ll get an interview. Now when I’m hiring, I’m really looking for the right attitude. I want someone who wants to learn, asks great questions, and understands being of service. I have to give all of my energy to my client, so I need an assistant who just makes things easier.
If you get the job, congrats! You pulled it off.
Now, here are nine ways to be the best assistant ever.
Be early. The first to arrive, the last to leave. There’s so much I have to worry about as a stylist, and my assistant showing up should not be one of them.
Be upbeat. Energy is contagious. Styling is a service job. Learn to be positive. Even if you don’t feel it inside, practice a can-do attitude.
Ask questions. You should never have “nothing to do.” Ask your team, can I get you anything? What do you need me to do today? How can I be helpful? Make yourself as useful as possible.
Be efficient. Styling is an incredibly fast-paced industry. The more you learn, the faster you can work. Look at each task and think about the fastest way to get things done.
Don’t assume. Things change all the time in the world of styling. Don’t assume, ask questions.
Be discreet. Loose lips really do sink ships. Even though styling is intimate, and personal, it’s still a job. Keep what happens at work, at work.
Anticipate the needs of the stylist. Study your boss, so you can anticipate what they’ll need next. Always be a step ahead.
Fill your time. If you have a spare minute, go clean the kit. If you’re waiting for a meeting, organize your notes from the last meeting. Be as efficient as you can be.
Inspire your boss. Being a stylist depends on references. Watch movies, read books, go to museums. Have your reference points to show your boss. Inspire your team with new ideas. Remind them you have a point-of-view.
Above all, just work really hard. No matter what you’re doing, give it your all. Then let me know where these tips lead you.