Sara Wilson, Fashion Stylist, Missguided
Education Bachelors of Arts in Fashion Buying and Retail, Manchester Metropolitan University
Starting out in the fashion industry
I grew up listening to stories of how my own Mum rebelled against her upbringing and surroundings by experimenting with fashion. She was a mod, then a punk – think big pink mohair jackets, safety pin earrings and shaven hair. I loved the freedom of expression through clothing and it was something I experimented with, often badly in hindsight, during my teens. I like how it is open to interpretation, how it is constantly evolving and how incredibly fast paced things are.
I decided to pursue a career in fashion with a degree in fashion buying and retail at Manchester Metropolitan University. My degree helped me get a job within a fashion Head Office, and while my position was not directly in styling, the experience was priceless. It allowed me to get a more rounded view of the industry, see how other department’s work and gain experience.
My degree and experience combined brought me to my current job; working as a stylist for Missguided, a fresh and vibrant online fashion store. My day to day activity includes casting and booking models and make-up artists, completing creatives for social media and the website, styling photoshoots, both internal and external, co-ordinating portfolios and online photo-shoots, while researching new trends and techniques.
Having an eye for fashion is of course essential, but there are a number of other key skills that are important to my role. A stylist must be innovative, creative, an excellent team player, open-minded and have an eye-for-detail. It is also important to be able to work well under pressure and within small time-frames....and being able to stay alert and on your feet all day, even after a 4am wakeup call, can help.
Saying that, I absolutely love my job! I get to work with some of the world’s most beautiful models and watch my outfits be brought to life by them. I get to travel, and be surrounded by some of the most talented people I have ever met and play with clothes all day – what is there not to love?!
Don’t give up, make connections-intern or shadow, and make the best cups of tea and always smile when doing it. Stay curious, push your own boundaries and get involved as much as you can.
It is important to combine your degree with experience; they will both stand to you when seeking a job in the fashion industry. The degree shows an academic background and commitment but experience allows you to showcase your skills, build networks and relationships within the industry and (in the case of Styling) start a Portfolio or ‘Styling C.V’. My assistant came to us for an internship after graduating, she impressed us with her degree and passion, but after working hard and becoming an important part of the team during her time here – a job was offered to her. We didn’t want to let her go. So her internship secured here a role here.
My future in fashion
I still have a number of styling inspired goals that I am yet to tick off my list- I have a mental list of models that I HAVE to work with – I just want to keep ticking these off. Working with Grace Small and Anja Konstantinova, have allowed me to tick too incredible girls off, and who knows what is around the corner.
That’s another thing I love about my job, one day I was at walking to the studio in rainy Manchester – the next I was in L.A working with Nicole Scherzinger. You have no idea what could be just around the corner – you just need to be ready for it!