Inside scoop: What it’s like to be a freelance stylist
Sometimes a job description isn’t enough. It can’t tell you what a job is really like, what an average day could be, the workload, the education you need or the salary.
Tricia Hall is a freelance fashion and off-figure stylist and she shares her experiences on working in her field in her own words.
What do you do?
I’m a fashion and off-figure stylist.
What is an average day?
Because I’m a freelance stylist (I’m not in-house/an employee of a company) I don’t have 9-5 Monday to Friday work days so there is no average for me. Sometimes I’m off for the week, sometimes I work one or two days, sometimes I’m booked an entire week or more at a time.
How stressful is it?
I would say the work itself may be challenging but it’s not entirely stressful. Being freelance and worrying about working frequently is stressful.
Is it good for intro- or extroverts?
Fashion styling is definitely good for extroverts, even though I am not. Off-figure, also known as still life styling, is great for introverts because it’s often you, the photographer and maybe an art director, depending on the job.
Are the hours long?
Depends on the job. if you work on music videos then yes (they are on average around 16 hours). Most of the work I do are around regular eight hour work days, for the styling itself, but if I’m working on an editorial then the prepping before (loads of email requests) and packing up after (making sure all borrowed items are neat, clean and in perfect, if not better condition than before) takes a few hours extra.
What’s the pay like?
It varies. it can be anywhere from $40,000 to six figures depending on your experience, connections and the demand for your expertise.
What education do you need?
A background in fashion design (better understanding of textile and fabric limitations and capabilities, drape, proper pinning on models) and fashion merchandising is an asset but really styling is not something that can be taught in school (specifically fashion styling). An eye for colour, composition, patience, professionalism and a good attitude are far more valuable.
What job experience do you need?
None really but working or interning in a related field doesn’t hurt (magazines, PR, visual merchandising, window display). The best way to gain experience is to assist. Or answer an ad on Workopolis, which is how I got my first job as an off-figure stylist 10 years ago!