Fashion Stylist in India: A Sneak Peek

An overview into the world of fashion stylist in India.

What is fashion stylist you say?

In layman’s term, a fashion stylist is a person responsible to make you stand out among your peers. He, she or they work as an advisor for models, celebrities, and public figures, consulting them about various fashion trends and helping them select appropriate attire for your event. A fashion stylist, aka wardrobe stylist, often collaborates with fashion labels, clothing brands, photographers to make their client the center of attention.

Currently, every well-known musician, actor, and celebrity appoints a fashion stylist to one up their friends and foes and appear as a headline for every major magazines, newspapers and blogs. One of the most famous fashion stylist in the world and my personal favorite is Elizabeth Saltzman. Liz handles some of the most influential celebrities, namely Gwyneth Paltrow, Saoirse Ronan, and Uma Thurman.

Fashion Stylist 101 – The work of a fashion stylist

If I ask you what does a fashion stylist do, the most common and “on top of your head” answer would be they give their client a wardrobe makeover. I mean, you are not wrong but a lot goes into styling a person. A stylist does a hypothetical study of their client to make sure the attire selected compliments his/her/their personality and mannerism. A stylist should be well versed in the latest fashion trends around the globe. Apart from being fluent in their communicating language (being bilingual helps), a stylist should be able to sell the idea to the client keeping in mind the client’s comfort and expectation. Apart from selecting the wardrobe, a fashion stylist also selects the accessories that will go with the attire.  On some occasions, the stylist curates the hair and make-up of the client to go with attire and the occasion.

A stylist’s work can be classified into three main groups:

  •         Photo shoot styling
  •         Brand advisor
  •         Celebrity styling

You can read about the above mentioned groups in the following link to learn more about fashion styling.

Trendsetting Bollywood Fashion and the importance of a fashion stylist in the entertainment industry.

Bollywood AKA the Indian Film Industry have always been a trendsetter in India. During the pre-internet age, an actor’s look was often copied by the masses who aspired to become like their idols. Earlier, an actor was styled by the creme de la creme of the fashion industry. With the advent of the Internet, the fashion industry got plagued with plagiarism and Bollywood celebrities started distancing themselves from these fashion labels. The drawback to the withdrawal was that the celebrities unknowingly wore the same dress at the red carpet events, causing a major embarrassment.

To end the fiasco, celebrities started working with fashion stylist to maintain their uniqueness in front of the camera and started creating a revolution in the fashion and entertainment industry. A fashion stylist curates the look of a celebrity based on their personality and popularity. For example; Ranveer Singh absurd choice of clothes for events, airport and press conferences are selected keeping in mind his larger than life charisma. One of the first and well-known fashion stylist in Bollywood is Anaita Shroff Adjania. From being the assistant fashion editor with Elle magazine to styling Deepika Padukone (exclusively), every Bollywood and fashion celebrity wants to be styled by her. Other notable names are –

  •         Rhea Kapoor, who styles Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and co-own the well-known fashion brand, ‘Rheason’, with her.
  •         Tanya Ghavri, her clientele includes a long list of A-list celebrities such as Kareena Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez, Katrina Kaif, Karishma Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.
  •         Ami Patel, former creative director of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, her one of the most notable client is Priyanka Chopra.
  •         Nitasha Gaurav, a London college of fashion alumnus, she is responsible for styling Ranveer Singh, Amitabh Bacchan and Sushant Singh Rajput.

Top celebrity Indian stylists to learn more about their work

Decoding the rising trend of hiring fashion stylist in India.

With the boom in influencer culture and the sudden rise in internet usage amongst the Indians, platforms such as Instagram, Youtube and TikTok created new genre of celebrities. Amassing followers and viewers in millions, international brands started recognizing them as a PR tool to connect with the Indian crowd. Hence, companies as big as Marvel partnered with them to promote their brand. To stay in competition with other internet celebs and influencers worldwide, Indian counterparts started working on their looks and attires. To make a remarkable impact, they began connecting with fashion stylists to get a wardrobe makeover. The stylists would also arrange collaborations between popular and upcoming brands and influencers and they would later promote it on their social platforms and events.

Corporate world is not far off from embracing the fashion culture. CEOs, COOs and the directors of various corporations are hiring wardrobe stylist to create a lasting impression on their clients and business rivals.  A fashion stylist often works exclusively for corporate clients as the pay packages and perks are lucrative than that of working for a celebrity.

The following link from will give a similar perspective about the rise of fashion influencers and the role of social media in shaping a brand.

How to become a fashion stylist?

Before you enroll for a course or start with your internship you must ask yourself this question, “Am I passionate about this?” If your answer is yes then there are different ways to enter the world of fashion stylist in India. Though no formal education is required to become a fashion stylist, most of the top stylist got enrolled in a fashion school in India or took a diploma course in fashion and styling from a foreign university. To make you understand it better, I’ll list down the various methods which will assist you to start your career in this field –

 Method 1

  • Complete your bachelor in mass media from any reputed college in India.
  • Apply for jobs or internships in fashion magazines or websites or with a fashion stylist.
  • Simultaneously create your own fashion blog and keep yourself up to date with popular fashion trends.
  • Once you start handling projects, make contacts in the industry.
  • Be active on all relevant social media platforms and showcase your work on them.
  • Avoid plagiarism and do intense research before every project you handle.

Method 2

  • After completing your graduation or post graduation (irrespective of the stream), you can take a certificate course from a reputed domestic or international fashion school.
  • If you are determined to start on your own as a stylist, start building your portfolio as you are completing your course. Start blogging, showcase your work on Instagram, try to collaborate with min-celebrities across all social media platforms.
  • Test your skills by freelancing as an assistant for a stylist to showcase your work. Word of mouth can do magic for your career.
  • Whenever the opportunity  arises, present your portfolio to production houses and brands to get a big break in the world of fashion stylist. (Always remember that brands are looking for something unique and fresh, therefore do not shy away from presenting your work and don’t fear rejection as you’ll get to learn something new everyday).

Fashion stylist courses in Mumbai

If you reside in Mumbai or relocating to start your career as a fashion stylist, there are several institutes who offer courses for fashion stylist in Mumbai. The institutes in Mumbai starts the course by beginning with core basics of understanding fashion and styling to wardrobe and image consulting and international fashion studies. These are the  top two institutes offering fashion and styling courses in Mumbai –  

  • Fad Academy Mumbai – Their undergraduate course is of 2-3 years, postgraduate course of 1 year, a professional course of 1 year, short courses of 2-3 weeks, covering topics such as fashion communication and business, luxury brand management, fashion retail, fashion photography and fashion styling among others. Check out the website of Fad Academy Mumbai for more information and you can make an appointment to visit their campus and learn more about the courses offered.
  • Pearl Academy Mumbai – Pearl Academy in Mumbai offers courses in 4 programmes; Undergraduate, Post graduate, Professional certificate and Pearl Edge. From fashion and creative styling in Undergraduate programme, Fashion and Business (Marketing and Merchandising) in Post graduate programme, to Fashion Buying and Merchandising in Professional certificate, and Fashion and Lifestyle blogging in Pearl Edge, to name a few. Pearl Academy Mumbai contact number is 022- 40585400. Connect with them to enroll in their wide variety of programmes and begin your career in fashion styling.

Fashion Stylist Salary:

How much does a Fashion Stylist Earn in India?

Salary of a fashion stylist can range from INR 10,000 to INR 60,000 depending upon the experience and portfolio. Salary of a stylist also varies from project to project. A high end brand will pay you more than a new brand. A fashion stylist also takes multiple individual clients like corporate elites, celebrities and models and bill them according to the event and effort taken. Apart from lucrative pay package, there are several perks that comes with the job and one of them is travelling around the globe with your client, exploring the city to get a good bargain and finally, you are paid to do something you love immensely; shopping. Do not expect a salary while interning and more than often your ideas are presented by your mentor as their own. Grab any opportunity that you think is good for your portfolio and strive hard to complete your task on time. Don’t forget to publicise yourself by asking your clients for referrals.I’ll end this article with a kickass quote from Rachel Zoe –

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”

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