These days it’s not just celebrities that have professional stylists. The everyday woman is more and more likely to use a stylist, not only for special events but also for developing a professional look, or even a much needed wardrobe update.
Australian Style Institute is heading over to WA to hold a workshop for budding fashion stylists or working stylists who are looking to expand their skills. Editor Gemma Walsh sat down with founder Lauren Di Bartolo to see whats on offer.
Lauren tell us how did you get your start in styling and who have you worked with?
After discovering that I couldn’t sew or make a pattern, my aspirations of becoming a fashion designer were quickly over. I realised that my love of fashion really existed in styling, pulling looks together and transforming the image of another person or brand.
I found styling presented some challenges, in that my clients were having an internal conversation with themselves in front of the mirror that I wasn’t privy to. As a way to better serve and understand them I undertook studies in human behaviour. This helped me to develop strategies that instilled more trust and confidence in my client and understand the distortions that impact how we wear, what we wear, and what we think we can or can't wear. As a result I became a much better professional stylist and teamed with great mentors, I was able to build a successful business.
I remember the thrill of one of my early clients going from their first feature in Cosmopolitan Magazine through to regular TV appearances on The Project. Most of my clients are industry leaders, speakers and organisations. A large part of my role now includes mentoring our community of stylists across Australia and NZ.
Styling was only for the rich and famous ten years ago, what can a stylist offer the everyday woman these days?
You can engage a stylist for as little as an hour these days and it’s just so affordable. Once upon a time having your own private driver was only reserved for the wealthy but look at where Uber has taken us. I think that it’s not really that different for a stylist.
It’s so important that you find the right professional stylist who has the skills to help you achieve the look and style that you want to portray.
‘Style’ doesn’t necessarily mean whats 'on trend', or 'in fashion’ either. It’s more about finding what’s specific to your needs and what allows you to feel confident. Having a stylist helps you to save time and money, and have a more versatile wardrobe that you wear more often.
What’s in the tool box of every good stylist?
For a personal stylist we always have a ‘Style Consultation’ on hand, it works as our blueprint or road map to help our clients achieve the outcome they want from the session. There are a few other things that we always have in our handbag or on a shoot:
1. Double-sided tape: a wonderful invention that can not only be used to hold things in but also for so many other reasons.
2. Bulldog clips: these are critical on an editorial shoot given sample sizes often don’t fit a model.
3. Always have a pair of scissors handy.
4. Steamer: there’s nothing worse than a crease that can’t be photo-shopped, consider a portable one because there may not always be access to power on location.
5. About a million rubber bands!
6. A good attitude is also essential. What sets a professional stylist apart on set is someone who can turn up to a shoot well prepared, knowledgeable, researched and ready to collaborate.
What is your advice to someone who wants to be a stylist?
Take the leap of faith. We’re in such an exciting, growing industry. Taking that leap of faith does however require getting the right skills. Over my last decade of styling I’ve seen too many people that have never really built the success that they wanted as a stylist purely because they haven’t equipped themselves with the tools that they need. Having expert mentors is also important and is a critical part of the support we provide to our students at Australian Style Institute.
You’ve also got to back yourself, then enjoy getting to work when and where you want, the fact that no day is the same as a stylist is part of the beauty of it.
What do you think most of us get wrong when getting dressed in the morning?
Firstly, for a lot of us I think we are choosing from a wardrobe that is generally overcrowded and doesn’t necessarily have the pieces in it that help us to look and feel our best everyday.
Sometimes people have an incredible dress to wear on a Saturday night but from Monday to Friday they might not have any looks that make them feel confident. It all starts by having the essentials in your wardrobe, the classic pieces that can be mixed and matched. The next thing would be having the right mindset when it comes to getting dressed everyday. Some people see going to their wardrobe as a chore but a good wardrobe can be an expression of creativity. Clothing should be fun and set the tone you want for the day!
If you want to meet Lauren Di Bartolo and the team at Australian Style Institute, they are holding an introduction into the world of professional fashion styling in Perth on October 3rd-4th at the Cottesloe Hotel. To book your tickets head to becomeastylist.com.au, limited places available.