January 18, 2015

The Difference Between A Fashion Stylist and an Image Consultant

I am often asked this question, and at times it is a little confusing to explain.
Is there a difference? Yes there is,however it is a very small difference and it is normal to work both roles. A lot of people have an idea of what a fashion stylist is; simply because it is the more "commercial" term used in the media.
Let me just say that there is also many roles within the "fashion stylist" family,but we will leave those for another day.
My past work: Campaign styling for an Italian fashion brand.
The simplest way to explain the differences are that a fashion stylist works on getting a person ready to create an image for a particular lifestyle choice,events, shootings, windows etc. They are the architects of the image they create, the client is the model.  
A fashion stylist focuses on a public appearance. We create a concept or develop a marketing plan to promote a product or celebrity. The Image of celebrity is build up to catch maximum publicity. When receiving training we also study specific courses which are usually focused more on television , marketing , celebrity personal shopping and visual merchandising . The best training a fashion stylist can ever get is on-the-job training as our role is certainly more practical.
Commercial or editorial stylists usually work in or with a team of photographers ,fashion designers ,fashion brands, make-up artists and directors to achieve a per-decided look. As fashion stylists our work is more about creating a guise and how that impacts a client's  target audience..
Simply put;it is all about perception.
My past work: Fashion styling Middle Eastern Food Critic and TV personality; Bassma Sultan.
My past Work: Fashion styling of most popular Middle Eastern author Asrar
An example of editorial/commercial styling that I have done before.
An Image Consultant is one that helps clients create an Image of their own self. Also teaching them about fashion and style. They work with the individual to discover who they are and what they need in their life. Image consultants ensure that you look like the person you are and that the wardrobe that is recommended suits who you are, what you look like and where you are in your life. Image consultants create a wardrobe and Image which is a natural extension of a client's personality. It is more of REAL image of the client as opposed to what image they would like people to have of them.

Their role is much more personal, it's like working from the inside out.
My Past work: Styling Kuwaiti Radio personality and "it" girl Nouf.

The two roles are separate but can be intertwined for the right circumstance. In my opinion, the most successful fashion stylists are ones who understand how to balance and mix the two at every job.

Another example of commercial/editorial styling that I have done before.

My Work: Fashion styling of international model,Priya Sidani for her editorial spread.
In the past, because of the personal nature of an Image consultant's job, it has been said that anyone can become a fashion stylist (WRONG),anyone can try but to have maximum success and build a great personal brand for yourself whilst sticking to a title that is easily confused is not easy. 
To enjoy some degree of success as a fashion stylist you most probably will need the 3 components of establishing a personal brand of your own. Being fashion stylist isn't about how fancy you look,its about how much technical "fashion" sense (or otherwise) the clothes on your back make; for example most fashion stylists will wear a trend but pair it with something classic or something that defines their personal style or viceversa. 
It shows they know what is going on in the industry but also then tone it down for it to make practical sense and tell their personal story.
Remember that as a fashion stylist, you are the architect of an image and your client is the model. 

The 3 components required for establishing your personal Brand:
1. Personality- which is your inner package: who you are, your life philosophy, beliefs, habits behaviour and lifestyle 
2. Appearance - which is your outer package: clothing, grooming and attractiveness. 

3. Communication - which is your communication package: your rapport, body language, behaviour and competence - personal & business communication skills and also technical skills, giving you the ability to do your job. 

Image and Fashion styling are cross functional to all 3 components playing a role within the Personal Brand package that gives you a competitive advantage and becomes your USP (unique selling point) to standing out. Your Brand is the communicator which establishes a perception in other people's mind. 

There are also very specific areas where a fashion stylist works on that would possibly would not be on the portfolio of an image consultant and viceversa

Examples for stylists jobs: a commercial photo shooting, fashion buying exercise or fashion catalog; catwalks and fashion communication jobs. 

Some image consultants areas that generally do not intermingle: International Business Protocol, Effective Communication, Business Coaching and Etiquette. 
My Work: Fashion styling for Maria Martinez brand marketing Campaign for one of her new accessories.
It is a given that all must know and understand the basic fundamentals like body shape, the appearance of different cuts and fabrics and color as well as the principles of design.
In practice most Stylists or Image Consultants have a stronger experience on either of both depending on trainning, desire and actual experience. 
One needs to incorporate both areas of expertise to a certain degree. Image/Style is a combination of inner and outer and I have found this to be true in my dealings with clients from all walks of life.
Of course fashion styling is a different ball game although when you are a commercial stylist or editorial stylist.

Header Image Source: Janelle Long

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1 comment:

  1. Good stuff, very enlightening, thank you. I've got some question though, you can contact me via linkedin. Alexander Bassey