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Fashion stylists or fashion designers create clothing and accessories that people of all ages wear. A fashion stylist needs to be creative, but there are a number of other critical traits and characteristics that fashion stylists need to have as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fashion designers made a median salary of $64,260 per year.
Fashion designers who work for others typically need to have an associate's or bachelor's degree in fashion design. These can be obtained online or on campus so long as the program is accredited. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that there are about 300 schools nationwide that have programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Fashion stylists planning to branch out on their own or take over positions of leadership within the industry need to have some background in business also. A minor in business management or a related field can help aspiring designers further their careers.
Designers also need to have some type of experience to break into the industry and gain some recognition from employers. Completing an internship or participating regularly in professional trade shows is one way for prospective designers to showcase their talents to potential employers. Experience needed to work in the field generally requires the development of basic design skills, an understanding of how to work with various types of fabrics, experience with computer-aided design and project management experience.
Communication skills are an essential element of a fashion stylist's skill set. The fashion stylist must be able to collaborate with other designers to complete group projects and they must be able to effectively communicate with manufacturers to ensure that their creative vision for a project is carried out correctly. Fashion stylists who work for large firms may be called upon to produce presentations of their latest work and put together proposals and feasibility studies.
Fashion stylists need to have an almost innate sense of color and style. Some of this can be learned through formal training, but some of it comes through natural aesthetic skills also. Designers need to have a strong understanding of design and manufacturing techniques and how these can effect the types of clothes and accessories that can be created. Designers should also have an awareness of the history of art and design as these can often serve as sources of inspiration for new work. Having skills in marketing, advertising and business networking can all be essential to the success of fashion stylists.
Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.