Subject areas and career paths for which this book might prove useful vii
Introduction to the book viii
1 What is styling 1
Introduction to styling. Could be used as an initial lecture
2 Editorial styling 7
A complete run down on what is involved in editorial styling. Majoring on monthly magazines. Who’s who. Who makes up the team. Sourcing, developing fashion stories, choosing the team, selecting clothes, methods used on shoots, choice of final image.
3 Newspaper styling 33
Focuses on the differences between magazine and newspaper styling.
4 Makeovers 36
Looks at makeovers and the best way to approach them.
5 Catalogue styling 40
The whys and wherefores of catalogue styling.
6 Show production 43
Looks at the team and the whole process of show production.
From the role of the producer to that of the stylist.
7 Commercial styling 63
Defines the role of the commercial stylist. Looks at the methodology and process involved in commercial styling from sourcing to shoot.
8 Testing 77
Looks at how to put a team together and the best approach to take for testing. Essential reading for young stylists and photographers.
9 Technical tips 89
Covers ironing to portfolios, booking a model to insurance.
10 Introductory programme to basic styling techniques 97
Teaching programme for styling. This programme could be covered intensively in one term or more thoroughly in three terms.
11 Styling projects 122
A wide range of projects for editorial, commercial and show styling, for both lecture-based courses and those courses which have studio facilities and access to photographers, hair styling and make-up.
12 Glossary of terms 150
Includes technical terms, classic spellings and fashion terminology.
13 Source directory 157
Includes agents, reference and contact guides, museums, galleries, newspaper editors and magazine editors.
Stylists and where to find them.
14 Bibliography 181
Films and books to use for research
Introduction to the book
In the 1960s every pretty girl said she was a model. In the 1990s the word stylist trips off those same pretty lips, but the difference is that this time the boys almost outnumber the girls. ‘Stylist’ is the ambiguous key career word of the ’90s. So what does this highly desirable occupation really involve and how do you become a stylist or is it even worth attempting it?
Many people who work in the fashion and media industry shudder at the thought of courses for stylists. They know just what a tough world it can be. They quite rightly fear that many students will commit themselves to a course that can only theorise about a profession which is highly practical and highly skilled. I have to state my wariness of pure styling courses. I would never recommend anyone to study only styling; as I would not recommend anyone to study only media, advertising or marketing. Any college course should give you options to open up your mind, by educating you in a variety of academic disciplines while developing your practical skills. No university or college course can guarantee you a job, but it can certainly make you employable, as well as give you a chance to experiment with ideas and concepts, and maybe point you in a direction you had never even considered.
Styling is now a growing element in many fashion and media related courses throughout the UK. As one of the first people to have developed a course in this area I felt that a handbook of what works and what doesn’t, used as an introduction to the subject, would be a useful addition to the college library. It may also be a useful tool for those people who have always been interested in the subject but didn’t know where to start.
Researching this book I have discovered that very few people, outside the fashion world, really know what a stylist does and how it could even be considered as a valid career move. Even those who teach on well developed courses in design, journalism and media studies feel confused at the best approach to take in developing such curricula.
Make rules, define parameters and you can be sure someone will come along and upset the apple cart. But allowing for the exceptions, there are techniques, skills and methodology that can be taught in a structured format which will offer students the chance to gain a good grounding in this field.
I believe very sincerely in education and learning, but I also believe that students must be given a wide range of practical skills, so that they have a real chance of employment when they leave college. Employers want specialists, but they also require multi-skilled people who can adapt and are not afraid to change direction. The approach I have taken in this book reflects the successes and failures I have had in this area. My premise is, that students learn as much from failure as from success. Not all projects work, but the learning curve they experience, in trying to complete them, coping with the problems they throw up and devising ways around these, allows them to develop fresh, innovative approaches, which is surely part and parcel of anyone’s education.
This is not an academic textbook, this is a practical handbook for teaching and learning a very professional and highly skilled subject area. It should be used as a beginning. Remember it will take a lot more than reading this book to develop the skills necessary to follow styling as a profession.
There are no pictures in this book – strange approach for a book on Styling you may think. Good current fashion images are easily sourced from magazines and I have concentrated on current styling. I would have loved to include pictures past and present, to illustrate great styling, but it would have made this book too expensive, so I have listed where to source some of these pictures in the bibliography. If I were reviewing this book I would regret that there is not a chapter on the History of Styling, but I must defend this exclusion by saying that a History of Styling would be a book in itself, and for students to source back issues and historical fashion images would be difficult. One day maybe one of the people who read this book will bring out the definitive guide to 20th century styling. It’s an area crying out for more academic research. Until then I hope this book will whet your appetite, and give you some insight into the role of the stylist. The first chapters give you an insight into the different types of styling. Each specialist area is defined and the professional practices used within them explained. Each chapter should stand on it’s own, but make sure you read editorial styling, commercial styling, show production, testing and technical tips before you to start on the introductory programme and project chapters. These two chapters offer students the chance to experiment with ideas and simulate some of the likely experiences they will have in the industry.
The final chapters offer a glossary of technical terms and a basic source directory including the names and addresses of magazines and newspapers for you to contact for work experience, as well as some helpful names and addresses for further research.
The bibliography gives you some reference points for further study, but please note that new books and videos come out all the time so check out what is available currently in the specialist stores listed in the source directory.