stylist Q&A

Becoming a great assistant stylist

July 11, 2015

As the old saying goes… behind every great fashion stylist is a kick-ass assistant (or something like that), and it’s true! Having a great assistant that understands what you need help with is really important for your shoot to go smoothly, with as little hair pulling as possible. Here is my Do’s and Don’ts of becoming a great assistant stylist.

Let’s start with the facts: Assistants typically make $100-$400 a day depending on the job and client. This could be for quick returns or a 14-hour day, again, depending on the job.

So what qualities make a good assistant stylist? There are the basics like being on time, managing time well, getting work done rather than chatting, and so on… but what really separates an ok assistant from a great one is their ability to anticipate the stylist’s needs. Understanding the kind of job and knowing what to do without being told is priceless.

A great assistant will:

Know where all of the merchandise is all of the time. Losing merchandise is one of the biggest no-no’s!
Be able to set up and break down the wardrobe room efficiently.
Take pictures of all talent, and write down each look
Be working to repair clothes or clean up on down time.
Always ask questions when things are unclear.
Constantly be checking in with the stylist, and making sure that all of their needs are met. This can include little things like getting food and water.
Open communication… If a problem occurs that you can’t fix, communication is key to get it fixed ASAP
Have your own kit available if needed. (rolling racks, steamer, tagging gun, felt, hangers, etc.)

With all of the things that an assistant can do right, there is also a

“What Not To Do” list

• As an assistant, you should not try and hustle yourself a job; it makes the person who hired you look bad (and you as well). Trying to steal you stylist’s clients is not cool, and nobody in the industry respects that kind of work. With that said, if you have a good relationship with you stylist, you could talk to them about referrals or ask advice on how to go about getting new clients.
Complaining. This should go without saying, but complaining while on the job is draining for everyone there. We are all going through the same 10-14 hour day with you, so keep an upbeat spirit so everyone doesn’t have to suffer as well.
Don’t take short cuts… an assistant is needed because the stylist can’t do it all by themselves. Do it the right way first, so your boss doesn’t have to redo your work
• Social media sharing: do not post photos & information from a shoot/ or fitting before it is released to the public. Big NO…NO… If you’d really like to take a picture, ask for permission first, presumably at an appropriate time- NOT while you are supposed to be working.

Don’t be loud and draw extra attention to yourself: Even after you are done with your job and are waiting around on set, it is not the time to mingle with the crew. Other people are still working and you could miss something important or make someone else slack in the process of conversation.

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