How to Become a Stylist Online

Jan 14, 2020

Stylists coordinate outfits for specific events and clientele. Take a look at what online resources are available to help aspiring stylists pursue this career, including how to earn a related degree, search for remote internship vacancies, and get certified.

Stylist Career Overview

Stylists cater to individual clients or fashion stores by coordinating outfits from a given wardrobe and selection of shoes and accessories. A stylist's job often requires travel or relocation to more developed cities like New York or Paris and the stamina to keep up with the fast pace of the fashion industry. The feasibility of becoming a stylist using online resources is very high.

Required Skills Creativity, attention to detail, in-depth knowledge of fashion, interpersonal skills, marketing skills, time management skills
Job Growth* 1% (for fashion designers and related careers)
Median Salary** $50,564 (2019)

Sources: *U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Steps to Become a Stylist Online

There are many resources available to help aspiring stylists pursue this career. Distance-learning options for a degree in fashion merchandising and remote internships can be completed online.

Step 1. Earn a Degree in Fashion Merchandising

Many schools offer associate and bachelor's online degree programs in fashion merchandising (and other related fields of study). Admission to a fashion merchandising bachelor's degree program requires typical documents such as a high school diploma, but to be admitted to some associate degree programs, a prerequisite of 30 completed college units in a related degree could be requested by the school.

Through these programs, students gain knowledge of the fashion industry - its history and current affairs - as well as product development and sales, retail management, and illustration or computer-aided design (CAD). A typical associate degree program in this field can span one or two years (60-90 units) while a bachelor's degree program spans at most four years (120 units). Although these are distance-learning programs, some schools require students to spend a semester (or year) on-campus.

Step 2. Create a Lookbook

Aspiring stylists need to prepare a portfolio (or a 'lookbook'), which contains pictures showcasing their best outfits or projects to prospective clientele. Lookbook.nu is a popular online platform for sharing this content. Consistently putting out innovative ideas for outfits and engaging with the community will help stylists gain a steady following that can evolve into a business network.

Step 3. Gain Experience through Internship

Remote internships for stylists are available online to serve fashion websites and even events. Intern obligations include managing social media accounts, copywriting, digital marketing, and research. Stylists may search for internship vacancies in websites such as Chegg Internships and LinkedIn. Most of these internship opportunities are unpaid.

Step 4. Get Certified

For a fee, the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) offers certification that boosts credibility of stylists within the fashion industry and potentially leads to higher income potential. Three levels of certification are available, listed in ascending order: AICI Certified Image Consultant (CIC), AICI Certified Image Professional (CIP), and AICI Certified Image Master (CIM). The process for CIC includes an exam and submission of a portfolio; on the other hand, CIP and CIM require only the portfolio. These portfolios contain proof of work, history of professional (and personal) achievements, and professional fee structure, among others. Each portfolio's content is awarded a certain number of points that are totaled before submission; once the applicant has enough points, the portfolio undergoes rigorous evaluation by the AICI.

Portfolio submission can be done online, except for CIC certification.

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