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Most stylists work on a freelance basis and will usually work for fashion magazines, catalogues, advertising agencies, production companies, celebrities, event organisers and websites and the duties of a stylist can vary greatly.
Stylists working for fashion and lifestyle magazines or websites will be tasked with finding appropriate clothes, shoes and accessories to put on a model or celebrity for a photo shoot. This may involve calling in items from designer fashion houses or searching through costume, vintage and second hand shops. The editor or art director of the publication or website will brief the stylist on what they want for the photo shoot. They will then assist at photo shoots, dressing models and celebrities and keeping track of which items have been used.
Television and film production companies will hire freelance stylists to source outfits for and dress actors or presenters. This could involve the stylist having to research styles from a particular time in history or geographical location. Again, the stylist will be present on set to dress actors and keep tabs on exactly which garments have been used.
Some celebrities, wealthy and high-profile people are easy targets for journalists and editors to scrutinise on the grounds of what they choose to wear, so they will often hire stylists to create a look for them and source all the clothes, shoes and accessories they will need to get this look. Employers will often discuss with stylists the sort of image they want to convey and will rely heavily on the stylist to find items that match the criteria. Stylists could work full-time for one client or work as a personal shopper for a number of clients.
Stylists also work for fashion houses, designing window displays and dressing mannequins in the clothes, shoes or accessories which are most likely to draw in potential consumers.
They may also work in areas that don’t involve dressing people, such as styling displays or scenarios for print adverts, food styling or styling interiors for events.
When working with people, stylists will work closely with makeup artists and hairstylists to make sure a look works.