How to Become a Fashion Consultant | The Art Career Project (2022)

By TACP Staff on June 30, 2019

How to Become a Fashion Consultant | The Art Career Project (1)

Fashion consulting is one of the most popular emerging professions in the fashion industry. If you have an eye for the latest fashion trends, passion for fashion, a keen eye for detail, creativity, and excellent interpersonal skills, a career as a fashion consultant may be for you.

1. Learn the Basics of Fashion Consulting

Rachel Zoe, Kate Young, Petra Flannery, Anna Bingemann all have something in common. They are some of the most famous fashion consultants, (also known as image consultants or personal stylists) in the world today. Yet, they didn’t become successful overnight. Becoming afashion consultanttakes hard work, perseverance, talent, and an eye for fashion. And, while you may have a fondness for seasonal color changes in clothing, an eye for enhancing a client’s personal image through their wardrobe, and a burning desire to surround yourself with name-brand attire, you must have extensive knowledge of the fashion and retail industry to succeed in this competitive field.

Fashion consultants help clients promote their public image through their wardrobe by evaluating their body type, personality, and career goals. They must have a great personality, be good communicators, and fashion-conscious problem-solvers. So, if you want to join the ranks of the glamor-centric professionals, you must start where all other fashion consultants began, through rigorous training and a good education.

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Get to Know the Job & the Industry

Thanks to the popularity of hit stylists like Rachel Zoe and her reality TV fame on The Rachel Zoe Project, the fashion consulting industry has become hugely popular among potential fashionistas. The saying goes, if you can’t make the fashion or wear the fashion, at least you can dress those who can. As a fashion consultant, your primary career goal is to assess your client’s personal style and glamor goals and dress them accordingly.

You may work with individuals who want a full wardrobe overhaul to match a new life goal, post-baby, or for a job promotion. However, during certain times of the year, such as prom, wedding season, or other special events, you may work with individuals or a group to make their day uniquely special. And, whether you live and work in an urban area, a fashion mecca, or a small-town environment, with the proper training you can have a successful career as a fashion consultant.

But, it’s important to understand the misconceptions about how to enter the field of fashion consultant. You won’t start at the top, dressing the most popular Hollywood star attending the Oscars. Most often, you will start at the bottom as an assistant, and work your way up. Or, you may enter the field as a freelance consultant, and earn a reputation for styling friends, family, or clients for much less (sometimes for free) than a professional who has been in the industry for years. And, fashion consulting isn’t easy, but takes great color sense, constant scrutiny and research, and talent, and will often include long hours, stress, and travel. The field is also competitive, and not everyone is suited for doing what it takes to gain consistent employment in this field.

2. Develop Industry Specific Skills & Knowledge

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There are several necessary skills you must acquire to become a professional fashion consultant. You must be both fashion-conscious and have a passion for styling people. You must be willing to network with other professionals in the fashion industry in order to obtain samples and pieces for your collection. Therefore, strong communication skills and customer service capabilities are vital. You must also have a creative eye and the ability to create your own style as a consultant. After all, if you don’t look good then how will clients trust that you can make them look good? Often your clients will choose you because they desire your aesthetic in style. You need to be able to identify colors, patterns, and brands all by name, and according to their history. Knowing what colors were hot in the fall of 2015 is essential to not making a faux pas for fall 2016.

It’s essential to know what colors are in the year’s palette so you can help your client stay on trend. Knowledge and use of thePantoneColor Systemis imperative. Pantone is the company that establishes the color of the year for the fashion industry. For example, for 2017 the color of the year is Greenery 15-0343. Pantone also provides extensive color pairings ranging from transitional colors to special collections, such as Forest Floor and Deep Rooted for the Greenery color scheme. This information is golden for any fashion consultant who wants to choose the proper, in-season hues for their clients.

While getting a degree in art and design is not a requirement to enter the field as a fashion consultant, it will improve your credibility, provide fundamental knowledge, give you a good understanding how the industry works, and open doors to networking opportunities.

After all, gaining a network of professionals in the fashion industry is paramount to helping you achieve your fashion consulting goals.

There are a variety of options for consultants, from certificate programs in image or fashion consulting, to associate or bachelors’ degrees. Some positions, however, require abachelor’s degree in art,fashion merchandising, marketing, or a closely-related field. Coursework at any level will teach you the essentials, such as the importance of color; color theory; fashion history, cycles, and trends; sourcing locations; building your business and portfolio; how to analyze body types and facial features; merchandising; marketing; and textiles. While attending school, consultants may have the opportunity to gain much-needed experience by taking advantage of any internships or apprenticeships offered through college or certificate programs. They might work in retail, or intern at a fashion magazine or for an established fashion stylist who is looking for an assistant. Websites likeFree Fashion Internships,Fashion Jobs,andThe Loopat great places to start looking for internships if your school doesn’t offer these programs.

Aspiring fashion consultants should also consider gaining industry certification from organizations such as the Association of Image Consultants International. Applicants for certification may be required to pass a written exam as well as submit a portfolio of work. It should be noted that every three years, professional consultants must complete continuing education courses to maintain their certification.

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3. Build Your Brand & Portfolio

Your Client List Will Grow Hand-In-Hand with Your Brand & Industry Connections

Fashion consultants sell their services based on appearance, brand connections, and resources. All of this can be presented in a package via a professional portfolio. Just as any artist, you want to create your portfolio to showcase your best styling work. However, you want to go a step further by organizing your portfolio according to your consultant aesthetic. For example, Rachel Zoe made boho chic popular thanks to her personal style aesthetic of bell bottom jeans and fur vests. In the same way, you want your professional style to shine through in your portfolio. This will help your clients determine if you are a right fit for their style needs, as not every consultant can serve every client.

Your portfolio should include photos of styles and clients, as well as samples of fabrics, color patterns, and jewelry and accessory samples, if possible. In fact, your portfolio should be less of a photo album and more of a box of collected and curated fashion and style items. Use plastic bags to help organize jewelry pieces. You should also post your portfolio online on your business website in photo form. You may also want to create a video that showcases your portfolio in a more realistic format.

In order to grow your business, you must develop a brand. Your brand is the cohesive feeling and style that encompasses your fashion consultant business. It will evolve over time, but in general, it will hold true to a set of fundamentals, such as your mission statement.

Advance your knowledge by learning all about the latest brands, as well as how to pronounce their names. TheCFDA(Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc.) is the premiere place to begin. The board of directors includes Michael Kors and Vera Wang, while the committee features members like Georgina Chapman, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Derek Lam, Ashley Olsen, and Tory Burch. Gain membership in the CFDA to keep abreast about the latest up and coming designers and fashion trends.

You should also strive to attend the annual CFDA Fashion Awards, which is the ideal place to network and gain exposure for your talents. The CFDA also stages the New York Fashion Week for men, so if you are considering styling for male clients, this is a must event. The CFDA features aproduction directoryof sewn goods and jewelry available in New York City. As you build your catalog and collection for styling clients, this resource is an excellent place to find the best manufacturers in the business.

An efficient way to network on a global scale is via social media. These days you can create a social community on Instagram, YouTube, or your personal blog that allows you to showcase your capabilities as a fashion consultant. It also gives you an affordable platform to market your skills that you control. Gain a large enough following and you can go viral and become famous for your fashion consultant ways. This is a fast and somewhat unpredictable way to get your career rolling. However, for those with strong social media skills, not to mention stand-out styling capabilities, this can be an excellent way to build your business.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not include fashion consultant or stylist in their occupational handbook. However, industry sources suggest that earnings for fashion consultants or image consultants vary, based on geographic location, education, years of experience and industry. Hourly earnings can range from $50 to $500 per hour. Some freelance consultants charge a flat fee of $100 to $200 or more, plus expenses for their services.

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Additional Guides

If you are considering a career within the industry of fashion, check out these additional how to become guides to learn about similar career options in the field.


What is called fashion consultant? ›

A fashion consultant or image consultant is a professional stylist who helps clients improve or develop a personal or professional image with fashion and clothing styles.

How do I get a career in fashion design? ›

5 Steps to Becoming a Fashion Designer
  1. Complete a degree program. ...
  2. Sharpen skills with hands-on experience. ...
  3. Learn the business of fashion. ...
  4. Put together a portfolio. ...
  5. Keep up with the trends. ...
  6. Latest Posts.
17 Feb 2022

What is the difference between an image consultant and a stylist? ›

A personal stylist may be able to help you with your wardrobe, but they won't offer makeovers or advice on how to improve your overall appearance. On the other hand, an image consultant will work with you to create a strategic plan that incorporates your clothing, makeup, and accessories.

How do you become a fashion brand consultant? ›

How to become a fashion consultant
  1. Pursue relevant courses or a degree. ...
  2. Gain work experience or complete an internship. ...
  3. Create a portfolio. ...
  4. Build your professional network. ...
  5. Consider getting a professional certification.
30 Nov 2021

How do I become a image consultant? ›

How to become an image consultant
  1. Attend related workshops and take courses. ...
  2. Earn a certification in image consultancy. ...
  3. Gain related job experience. ...
  4. Choose a specialization. ...
  5. Network. ...
  6. Create a portfolio. ...
  7. Develop partnerships.

What services does a fashion consultant provide? ›

A fashion consultant is a person or company who offers their professional opinion about what clothing or accessories are best for different people. They review the client's wardrobe (or collection) to come up with ideas on how to make it more stylish and versatile.

Can an art student study fashion designing? ›

Yes, arts stream students are also eligible for fashion designing course only. There is an entrance exam conducted by the NIFT every year and arts stream students are also eligible.

Who is No 1 fashion designer in the world? ›

Top 10 Famous Fashion Designers
  • Calvin Klein (Born 1942)
  • Donatella Versace (Born 1955)
  • Giorgio Armani (Born 1934)
  • Ralph Lauren (Born 1939)
  • Tom Ford (Born 1961)
  • Marc Jacobs (Born 1963)
  • Donna Karan (Born 1948)
  • Christian Dior (1905-1957)

How long does it take to become an Image Consultant? ›

Training as an Image Consultant. Attend a workshop or course. While most colleges and universities don't offer a degree program to become an image consultant, there are often weekend workshops and short-term courses that last anywhere from four to 12 weeks to help prepare you for the career.

What do image consultants charge? ›

Many image consultants and personal stylists choose to work part-time and may decide to utilize a flat rate pay scale. Day rates for a stylist can range from USD $500 – $1000 for a half day to as much as USD $1,000 – $2000 for a full day.

What qualifications do you need to be a fashion stylist? ›

Most fashion stylists have a degree in fashion design, fashion merchandising, fashion retailing, or fashion management. While a degree is not required for entry into this field, most employers (and potential clients) prefer formal training.

What does a fashion image consultant do? ›

An image consultant is equipped to identify your body shape and suggest ways and means to counter negative variations and enhance positive ones to create an attractive image.

How do I become an online fashion consultant? ›

How To Become an Online Fashion Stylist
  1. Build an Online Portfolio. You can build an online portfolio that showcases your style and tastes if you want to strike it out on your own and find your own clients. ...
  2. Create an Instagram Account. ...
  3. Find a Job With Stitch Fix. ...
  4. Search Traditional Job Boards.
22 Mar 2022

What is a style coach? ›

A Style Coach works with individuals who have the desire to refresh their style and their image not only on the outside but to also transform the way they feel about themselves.

How do image consultants make money? ›

If you want to make money as an image consultant, there are many ways that you can do so. The three most common include selling products and services, starting a consulting business, and teaching classes on how someone can improve their appearance.

Is image consultant a good career? ›

There are countless career opportunities in Image Consulting to choose from. Depending on your area of interest and favorable niche, you could go on to practice in aspects of Appearance, Behavior, and Communication. You could choose to curate wardrobes or polish the communication skills of your clients.

Do I need a degree to be an image consultant? ›

There is no standard education requirements to become an image consultant, but training programs are available in image consulting, marketing or public relations. You'll also need experience, but the amount varies by position, and some jobs may be entry-level.

What is your expectation in fashion consultant role? ›

As a Fashion Consultant you will be responsible for achieving individual and collective sales targets while delivering exceptional Guest Experience; and ensuring support in the implementation of CRM, CX and other key customer and people initiatives in-store.

What level of expertise is required to be a fashion designer? ›

Working in the fashion industry requires having basic business skills such as marketing, planning, budgeting and managing people. Fashion designers often are self-employed, so it's important that they know how to manage their own businesses.

Can I do fashion designing after arts? ›

After completing their 12th grade in arts, students can enroll in a range of fashion designing courses after 12th. If they opt to pursue graduation in any fashion design school, it will take them at least 3-4 years to become a fashion designer.

Can we take arts and become fashion designer? ›

Students from science, commerce, or arts background can pursue fashion designing courses after 12th at certification, diploma, or undergraduate degree level.

Is fashion design a visual art? ›

Also included within the visual arts are the applied arts such as industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design and decorative art.

Who is the youngest fashion designer in the world? ›

Meet Andrea Brocca, the world's youngest couturier.

Who was the first female fashion designer? ›

Madeline Chéruit (born Louise Lemaire) may well be called the First Lady amongst female fashion designers. Chéruit mastered the craft of dressmaking in the late 1880s at the couture house of Raudnitz & Cie.

Which country is famous for fashion designing? ›

Italy boasts some of the top names in couture fashion, including Guccio Gucci, Gianni Versace, Valentino Garavani, Roberto Cavalli and Giorgio Armani.
10 Most Fashionable Countries.
Country NameBest Countries Overall Rank
1. Italy13
2. France8
3. Spain16
4. United States4
6 more rows
22 Sept 2016

How much do fashion illustrators make? ›

Fashion Illustrators in America make an average salary of $72,583 per year or $35 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $102,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $51,000 per year.

What's the difference between fashion designer and fashion illustrator? ›

Fashion designers focus more on creating products and may occasionally sketch out ideas, which is part of the design process. Designers are typically senior to illustrators and, in many cases, fashion illustrators work under the direction and guidance of a designer to accurately convey the designer's artistic vision.

What software do fashion designers use? ›

Utilizing Apparel Design Software
  • 1) Digital Fashion Pro: Professional Digital Fashion Sketching & Illustration.
  • 3) C-DESIGN Fashion: Fashion Design & Collection Management.
  • 4) PatternSmith: Cutting Solutions.
  • 5) CorelDRAW Graphics Suite: Create Everything From Scratch.
4 Jun 2020

What do brand consultants do? ›

A brand consultant is an expert who helps companies define, sharpen, and grow their reputation over time - which makes the brand a more important driver of business performance. They often work alongside senior managers and other partners - in such areas as technology, PR, etc.

What is a fashion stylist job description? ›

Fashion stylists work for individuals, fashion houses and clothing brands. Their main responsibilities include providing fashion advice; choosing and co-ordinating outfits for models in photo shoots or actors in television and film; and choosing props and accessories and preparing them for shoots.

What is a style coach? ›

A Style Coach works with individuals who have the desire to refresh their style and their image not only on the outside but to also transform the way they feel about themselves.

What is a fashion coordinator? ›

Fashion coordinators produce fashion shows and other promotional vehicles for companies and designers. Some are responsible for a particular department, for example, men's apparel, while others may oversee the promotion of the entire apparel and accessories line.

Do you need a degree to be a brand consultant? ›

Earn a bachelor's degree

Nearly all brand strategist positions require candidates to have a four-year bachelor's degree. Degrees that can give brand strategists the education and background they need to start their careers include English, marketing, psychology, business, design, economics and communications.

What is a design consultant? ›

Design consultants suggest ideas that will create a space or product that integrates form, functionality, and aesthetics. They work in the Interior design, graphic design, or fashion design industries. Completely free trial, no card required. Reach over 250 million candidates.

What is a luxury brand consultant? ›

Luxury Brand Consulting Services

Detailed analysis of your current marketing communications, personalized recommendations, and step-by-step guidance on exactly how to optimize your marketing communications and messaging in order to attract high-end clientele, and position your offerings so they sell with ease.

Who is the best fashion stylist? ›

As we take a look into the wonderful world of styling, here are 12 celebrity stylists you should be following on Instagram.
  • Bryon Javar. ...
  • Law Roach. ...
  • Jason Rembert. ...
  • Jason Bolden. ...
  • Zerina Akers. ...
  • Thomas Carter Phillips. ...
  • Mimi Cuttrell. ...
  • Elizabeth Stewart.

How do I become a fashion stylist without a degree? ›

How to become a fashion designer without a degree
  1. Familiarize yourself with design software. ...
  2. Research other fashion designers. ...
  3. Create new sketches every day. ...
  4. Read books about sewing and craftsmanship. ...
  5. Quiz yourself on fashion terms. ...
  6. Practice making prototype pieces. ...
  7. Attend fashion events. ...
  8. Develop your own collection.
29 Mar 2021

What qualifications do I need to be a fashion stylist? ›

In terms of education, some fashion stylists possess a bachelor's degree or even a master's degree, but when interviewing to be someone's personal stylist, the topic of college may never come up. Years of experience in the industry will open more doors than a particular diploma.

What are the 3 main coaching styles? ›

There are three generally accepted styles of coaching in sports: autocratic, democratic and holistic. Each style has its benefits and drawbacks, and it's important to understand all three.

What is a Target style consultant? ›

Style Consultants are welcoming and helpful in meeting guests needs on the sales floor and in the fitting room. Ensuring the floor is set full with the right product, accurately priced and signed on the sales floor with the right sizes, styles, and colors. Areas include A&A, Home and Seasonal.

What is a style advisor? ›

Style advisors are attentive to the client's needs and provide tailored advice on fashion, outfits, colors, styles, and fabrics that will suit the client's preferences. These individuals take into account the client's body type and price range as well.

How do you become a fashion show coordinator? ›

A bachelor's degree is typically the minimum educational requirement to become a fashion coordinator. Your college major should be in a fashion-related subject such as fashion design or merchandising. A four-year degree in fashion management or marketing may also be sufficient for entry-level employment.

What does a fashion marketing coordinator do? ›

This person will oversee social media marketing, email marketing, some graphic design work, maintain an internal marketing & events calendar, provide reports on analytics, and assist with the creative


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