Fashion Stylist Training and Degree Program Information

Oct 20, 2021

Educational Requirements for Fashion Stylists

Certificates and bachelor's degrees in relevant fields of fashion styling are commonly found at the undergraduate level. In addition to classroom teachings, students are exposed to opportunities to learn fashion styling hands-on. Certificate programs take about six months. Bachelor's degrees take about four years of full-time study. Bachelor's programs may require specific coursework to be completed ahead of time. Internships with retail or fashion organizations are often available in bachelor's programs.

Fashion Stylist Certificate Programs

Fashion stylists create a cohesive look for advertising campaigns or individual clients. Academic preparation involves learning how retailers communicate to customers using visual cues. Certificate programs in fashion styling, merchandising and retail cover the basics of how to select and alter clothes for clients, as well as the evolution of fashion trends in history. Certificate programs can be taken separately or within the context of a degree program.

Fashion styling involves creating a striking image that takes several aspects into account, such as lighting, location and makeup. Classes cover designs for different body types, fashion trends over time, and tailoring. Topics of study might include:

  • Alterations
  • Clothing construction
  • Clothing selection
  • Color theory
  • Fashion history

Fashion Stylist Degree Programs

Bachelor's degree programs in visual merchandising and fashion design teach students how to aesthetically communicate fashion trends to customers. Applicants typically need a high school diploma or GED to enter the program, and specific coursework must be completed before participating in field work.

Merchandising and fashion design programs teach students to produce visual images that make an impact in order to communicate and sell products such as jewelry and clothes to customers. Goals of merchandising professionals include enticing customers to enter a particular store, reinforcing branding, and selling fashions by encouraging mental associations between products and certain lifestyle choices. Depending on the specific major, stylist training courses might include:

  • Apparel design
  • Drawing techniques
  • Marketing
  • Merchandising theory

Furthermore, there are a number of fashion stylist online classes that are available to aspiring fashion designers. As the number of online education programs has increased in recent years, there are some fashion-related programs that are fully online, and these can be a great resource for those who wish to pursue a career in fashion design.

Popular Careers in Fashion

Stylist jobs are well-suited to people who pay attention to fashion news, enjoy coordinating outfits and make a statement through their clothes and accessories. Graduates of certificate and degree programs could find work in entry-level jobs as assistants or trainees to designers, marketing specialists or advertisers.

With on-the-job experience and industry training, graduates with a bachelor's degree might find higher-level or more prestigious work with well-known designers, manufacturers or photographers. Volunteer positions are an accepted way for novice stylists to make contacts and develop their own portfolio. In addition to working as fashion stylists or assistants, individuals might find work as one of the following:

  • Assistant buyer
  • Merchandise buyer
  • Textile designer
  • Visual merchandising consultant
  • Wardrobe consultant
  • Fashion writer

Fashion Stylist Salary and Job Outlook

In May 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the median salary for fashion designers was $73,790 per year, and often depended on the designers' experience. The highest-paying states included California and New York. In terms of job outlook, the BLS expects that the number of jobs for fashion designers will decrease by 4% from 2019 through 2029.

Certificate and bachelor's degree programs train aspiring fashion stylists on topics such as clothing selection, color theory, and fashion history to prepare them for careers working with photography, hair, makeup, and modeling professionals. A certificate may be earned within a degree program, and both options include practical fieldwork.

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