I agreee .... having a real job (AKA working for a company) as opposed to working freelance, will support you, but you may not ever climb to the top. But you could. At least, you have a job and know where your next paycheck is coming from.
Freelance stylists don't have the luxury. They have to scramble of every gig, which lasts a few days then they must find the next job. And you have even less chance of making it to being a highly paid stylist. It's very risky and most fail ... period.
You have to have a lot more than talent to make it as a freelance stylist. You have to have drive, by totally unafraid or putting yourself out there where you will hear mor no's than yes's, have lot's of business savy, handle all your own taxes, etc., have the ability to market and advertise your services and to sustain it for years, be able to keep precise and detailed records, work ruthlessly long hours (like 18 hours a day) sometime for days or weeks on end, and work well as both a leader, a follower (giving up your vision) or as a team member, depending on each gig. I would say it's about 80% strong business skills and 20% talent and skill.
Styling is not really creating ... but it is creative ... when you are allowed to have your own vision. But most of the time ... it's listening to and interpreting your client's vision, not yours. So good people skills are very important. If you can't work under pressure from a client who wants you to do it their way and has you change most of what you wanted to do, then you might have the temperment to be a stylist.
An alternative would be to assist a fashion editor at a fashion magazine, and hopefully getting promoted within that stucture. A real job ... but still working with styling. More about that in the thread about Working for a Fashion Magazine.
BTW ... most stylists and fashion editors did not go to fashion school ... if you read back in the first thread, you'll see that it's more about being able to connect with the right people and just being in the right place at the right time ... and having the stylist's "eye" and the abitly to get things done.
Aa far as how much money you would make ... there is no one answer. Just like a fashion designer ... a stylist could loose money (cost of starting up a business and maintaining advertising and marketing) to making what Rachel Zoe makes (I've heard it's $6,000 a day for her celebs). The average rate ... depending on what you are able to negotiate (yes, you negotiate for every paycheck), is about $600 to $800 a day for good paying jobs from known companies after you are considered a full professional stylist, $100 to $150 a day for assistants. But you don't work every day ... so you have to factor that in.
BTW ... Rachel Zoe didn't study fashion either ... she was a rich kid who had connections with celebs and had some talent and lot's of drive to back it up.
Last edited by BetteT; 12-12-2010 at 08:46 PM.