Fashion Stylist / Image Consultant Career Guide

photoshootFashion stylists help clients improve their image, produce ideas for photoshoots, select clothing & accessories for events, filming and photoshoots, work for fashion magazines and more. Fashion stylists generally work freelance, although stylists can be employed by publishing companies, model agencies, advertising agencies, events management companies, fashion labels, shopping centres or retail stores to name a few.

Stylists can provide a range of services which may include any of the following areas:

  • Personal Styling: involves providing advice or assistance to clients on how to improve their image by selecting clothing and accessories that complement their figure and skin colouring and are suitable for their lifestyle. This can also involve taking clients on shopping trips and selecting clothing items for clients to wear to events etc., providing advice on skin care, hair style, self esteem, beauty treatments and etiquette. Personal styling is the basis of all other areas of styling. It is also known as Image Consulting, Personal Shopping and Celebrity Styling.
  • Editorial Styling: involves concepting and organising the photoshoots for the pages in fashion magazines and other media publications. This may also involve selecting items to appear in fashion product pages for magazines and writing articles on personal style, fashion trends etc.
  • Wardrobe Styling: involves working on film, television, concert or theatre productions, developing the look and/or selecting the wardrobe items for the actors/actresses, musicians/performers, dancers or television personalities (i.e. newsreaders). Wardrobe Styling is often considered a form of Show Styling.
  • Commercial Styling: involves styling models or actors/actresses for advertising/commercials - this could involve anything from selecting the wardrobe items to coordinating the shoot - selecting the location, models, makeup artists and even the photographer.
  • Corporate Styling: involves advising companies on their corporate uniforms,providing talks/seminars to staff on personal appearance, inhouse magazine publications and more.
  • Catalogue Styling: involves working with designers or businesses on developing promotional materials such as product catalogues. Catalogue Styling involves Merchandise Styling as listed below.
  • Show Styling: involves organising events and fashion parades. This could involve public speaking/comparing, working backstage at fashion parades, selecting models, organising the running order, selecting garments and/or accessories, selecting the venue, developing the event concept, dealing with the media, photographers, and PR companies.
  • Photographic Styling: involves styling any photoshoot and includes editorial styling, commercial styling and catalogue styling.
  • Merchandise Styling: involves creating displays of products in retail stores or for photoshoots.

Fashion Stylists may perform the following tasks:

  • Advise clients on the selection of clothing and accessories to flatter their figure type, suit their skin colouring and the image they wish to portray
  • Advise clients on skin care, beauty and health regimes
  • Write articles on the latest fashion trends
  • Provide fashion direction to buyers, merchandisers and/or product developers/designers
  • Organise and compare fashion parades and events
  • Advise and direct the photography of items and clothing selected for promotion
  • Select items to appear in fashion magazines/media
  • Select clothing for TV personalities, celebrities or the wardrobe for film or tv characters.
  • Source fashion items and props for photographic shoots or film/tv personalities, or product placement in fashion magazines/media.
  • Advise on photographic approaches and the selection of locations, props, clothing, models, makeup artists, photographers, hair stylists and the overall look for photoshoots
  • Speak at events about image and fashion trends
  • Provide makeup and hair styling services to clients or complete makeup and hair styling on location for photoshoots
  • Liase with fashion designers, retailers, the media, models/model agencies, photographers, makeup artists, hairdresses, beauty therapists, personal trainers and the media.

Fashion stylists may be required to travel interstate or overseas to research the latest fashion trends.

Personal Requirements

  • Enjoy artistic and creative activities
  • A natural flair for fashion
  • Good organisational skills
  • Good communication and negotiation skills
  • Good colour and design sense
  • Motivation, drive and initiative
  • Enjoy working with people
  • Able to work under pressure
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team
  • Well groomed at all times
  • Pleasant and tactful
  • Good networking skills
  • Creative and artistic aptitude

Related Careers

  • Fashion Journalist / Fashion Editor
  • Fashion Buyer
  • Fashion Merchandiser
  • Fashion Marketing
  • Fashion Designer
  • Interior Decorator / Stylist
  • Visual Merchandiser
  • Makeup Artist
  • Beauty Therapist
  • Food Stylist
  • Marketing & PR
  • Events management
  • Wedding planning
  • Fashion Retail Sales Assistant
  • Advertising Agent
  • Set Designer
  • Photographer
  • Creative Director
  • Model / Talent Agent
  • Life Coaching


Previously there hasn't been any specialised training available in styling, and styling was a career that was little known of. Many stylists ended up in their career after having studied fashion design, or worked as a makeup artist or in related career (such as those listed above).

The styling industry has been booming, with more and more individuals seeking professional assistance to help improve their image and shows like 'Trinny & Sussanah', 'Queer Eye for a Straight Guy' and 'Extreme Makeover' have helped to bring styling to the publics attention.

The Australian Institute of Creative Design has developed a specialised nationally recognised accredited qualification in Styling to enable student's to learn the skills required to work as a fashion stylist. The Diploma of Styling (Fashion, Image & Media) is a full time qualification that takes 1 year to complete.

We also offer the Diploma of Styling (Fashion, Image & Media) part-time to enable students to study while they work. It is possible to complete the Styling Diploma alongside a fashion merchandising course or beauty therapy course to further expand the career opportunities available to the student.