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Working As a Wardrobe Stylist

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Getting Information
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $29,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Wardrobe Stylist Do

Fashion designers create original clothing, accessories, and footwear. They sketch designs, select fabrics and patterns, and give instructions on how to make the products they designed.

Duties

Fashion designers typically do the following:

  • Study fashion trends and anticipate designs that will appeal to consumers
  • Decide on a theme for a collection
  • Use computer-aided design (CAD) programs to create designs
  • Visit manufacturers or trade shows to get samples of fabric
  • Select fabrics, embellishments, colors, or a style for each garment or accessory
  • Work with other designers or team members to create prototype designs
  • Present design ideas to the creative director or showcase them in fashion or trade shows
  • Market designs to clothing retailers or directly to consumers
  • Oversee the final production of their designs

Larger apparel companies typically employ a team of designers headed by a creative designer. Some fashion designers specialize in clothing, footwear, or accessory design; others create designs in all three fashion categories.

For some fashion designers, the first step in creating a new design is researching current fashion and making predictions about future trends using trend reports published by fashion industry trade groups. Other fashion designers create collections from inspirations they get from their regular surroundings, from the cultures they have experienced and places they have visited, or from various art media that inspire them.

After they have an initial idea, fashion designers try out various fabrics and produce a prototype, often with less expensive material than will be used in the final product. They work with models to see how the design will look and adjust the designs as needed.

Although most designers first sketch their designs by hand, many now also sketch their ideas digitally with computer-aided design (CAD) programs. CAD allows designers to see their work on virtual models. They can try out different colors, design, and shapes while making adjustments more easily than they can when working with real fabric on real people.

Designers produce samples with the actual materials that will be used in manufacturing. Samples that get good responses from editors or trade and fashion shows are then manufactured and sold to consumers.

Although the design process may vary by specialty, in general it takes 6 months from initial design concept to final production, when either the spring or fall collection is released. Some companies may release new designs as frequently as every month, in addition to releasing designs during the spring and fall.

The Internet and e-commerce allow fashion designers to offer their products outside of traditional brick-and-mortar stores. These designers can ship directly to the consumer, without having to invest in a physical shop to showcase their product lines.

The following are examples of types of fashion designers:

Clothing designers create and help produce men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel, including casual wear, suits, sportswear, evening wear, outerwear, maternity clothing, and intimate apparel.

Footwear designers create and help produce different styles of shoes and boots. As new materials, such as lightweight synthetic materials used in shoe soles, become available, footwear designers produce new designs that combine comfort, form, and function.

Accessory designers design and produce items such as handbags, suitcases, belts, scarves, hats, hosiery, and eyewear.

Costume designers design costumes for the performing arts and for motion picture and television productions. They research the styles worn during the period in which the performance takes place, or they work with directors to select and create appropriate attire. They also must stay within the costume budget for the particular production.

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How To Become A Wardrobe Stylist

Most fashion designers have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as fashion design or fashion merchandising. Employers usually seek applicants with creativity, as well as a good technical understanding of the production process for clothing, accessories, or footwear.

Education

Most fashion designers have a bachelor’s degree in fashion design or fashion merchandising. In these programs, they learn about textiles and fabrics and how to use computer-aided design (CAD) technology. They also are able to work on projects that can be added to their portfolio, which showcases their designs.

For many artists, including fashion designers, developing a portfolio—a collection of design ideas that demonstrates their styles and abilities—is essential because employers rely heavily on a designer’s portfolio in deciding whether to hire the individual. For employers, it is an opportunity to gauge talent and creativity. Students studying fashion design often have opportunities to enter their designs in student or amateur contests, helping them to develop their portfolios.

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits approximately 320 postsecondary institutions with programs in art and design, and many of these schools award degrees in fashion design. Many schools require students to have completed basic art and design courses before they enter a program. Applicants usually have to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability.

Other Experience

Fashion designers often gain their initial experience in the fashion industry through internships or by working as an assistant designer. Internships provide aspiring fashion designers an opportunity to experience the design process, building their knowledge of textiles and colors and how the industry works.

Advancement

Experienced designers may advance to chief designer, design department head, creative director, or another supervisory position in which they oversee certain fashion lines or company brands.

Some experienced designers may start their own design company or sell their designs in their own retail stores. A few of the most successful designers work for high-fashion design houses that offer personalized design services to their clients.

Important Qualities

Artistic ability. Fashion designers sketch their initial design ideas, which are used later to create prototypes. Designers must be able to express their vision for the design through illustration.

Communication skills. Fashion designers often work in teams throughout the design process and therefore must be effective in communicating with their team members. For example, they may need to give instructions to sewers regarding how a garment should be constructed.

Computer skills. Fashion designers use technology to design. They must be able to use computer-aided design (CAD) programs and be familiar with graphics editing software.

Creativity. Fashion designers work with a variety of fabrics, shapes, and colors. Their ideas must be unique, functional, and stylish.

Decisionmaking skills. Because they often work in teams, fashion designers are exposed to many ideas. They must be able to decide which ideas to incorporate into their designs.

Detail oriented. Fashion designers must have a good eye for small differences in color and other details that can make a design successful.

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Wardrobe Stylist Career Paths

Wardrobe Stylist
Assistant Manager Manager
General Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Sales Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Assistant Store Manager Manager
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Store Manager General Manager Director Of Sales
Director Of Sales And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Store Manager Account Manager Business Development Manager
Business Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Store Manager Operations Manager Project Manager
Product Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Manager Sales Manager Account Manager
District Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Visual Merchandising Manager Merchandising Manager Sales Manager
Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Visual Merchandising Manager Merchandising Manager Operations Manager
Sales And Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Visual Merchandising Manager Merchandising Manager
Merchandising Director
9 Yearsyrs
Designer Project Manager Vice President
Founder And Chief Executive Officer
7 Yearsyrs
Designer Project Manager Product Manager
Brand Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Designer Owner
Owner And Chief Executive Officer
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Store Manager General Manager Owner
Owner And Founder
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant Store Manager Restaurant Manager Catering Manager
Catering Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Owner Art Director Creative Director
Creative Director & Designer
5 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Principal Founder
President And Founder
5 Yearsyrs
Store Manager And Buyer General Manager Business Owner
Entrepreneur
5 Yearsyrs
Fashion Editor Social Media Manager Web Manager
E-Commerce Product Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Wardrobe Stylist?

Top Skills for A Wardrobe Stylist

  1. Photographic Approaches
  2. Photo Shoots
  3. New Merchandise
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Advise on photographic approaches and the selection of clothing, and accessories.
  • Created mood boards for photo shoots, attended fittings, styled clothing and accessories for various photo shoots and commercials.
  • Contacted customer to follow up on purchases, suggest new merchandise and inform them about promotions and upcoming events.
  • Help select appropriate outfits for clients and combine them with matching accessories for both commercial print and TV/video production.
  • Styled over 50+ models for various fashion shows, trunk shows, pop up shops etc.

Wardrobe Stylist Demographics

Gender

Female

65.0%

Unknown

17.5%

Male

17.5%
Ethnicity

White

56.4%

Hispanic or Latino

20.1%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

4.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

45.5%

French

19.7%

Italian

7.6%

German

6.1%

Portuguese

3.0%

Japanese

3.0%

Mandarin

3.0%

Russian

3.0%

Arabic

3.0%

Swedish

1.5%

Chinese

1.5%

Hebrew

1.5%

Polish

1.5%
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Wardrobe Stylist Education

Schools

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

24.8%

Fashion Institute of Technology

21.1%

Columbia College Chicago

4.5%

American InterContinental University

4.1%

Santa Monica College

4.1%

Savannah College of Art and Design

3.7%

LIM College

3.3%

San Francisco State University

3.3%

Art Institute of California - Inland

3.3%

Bauder College

3.3%

New York University

2.8%

Clark Atlanta University

2.8%

Arizona State University

2.8%

Academy of Art University

2.4%

Miami International University of Art and Design

2.4%

Kent State University

2.4%

Art Institute of Philadelphia

2.4%

California State University - Northridge

2.4%

Art Institute of Atlanta

2.0%

School of Visual Arts

2.0%
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Majors

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

24.7%

Graphic Design

19.4%

Business

11.8%

Marketing

8.3%

Communication

7.7%

Fine Arts

4.1%

Psychology

2.6%

Design And Visual Communication

2.4%

Photography

2.3%

Public Relations

2.3%

Theatre

2.2%

Apparel And Textiles

1.8%

Management

1.6%

English

1.5%

Cosmetology

1.2%

Education

1.2%

Political Science

1.2%

Liberal Arts

1.2%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

1.2%

Journalism

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

51.8%

Other

25.8%

Associate

15.1%

Masters

4.0%

Certificate

2.0%

License

0.5%

Diploma

0.5%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Updated May 19, 2020