Dressing nicely, always working around celebrities, surrounded by both fame and luxurious, deluxe clothing and accessories, stylist is a prestigious title in Showbiz and the dream job of many young people. But behind the nimbus, joy and pride, what do stylists who have a foothold and have become famous have to say about their profession?
1. Stylist is not a career for people who “don’t need to study, only need aptitude”
When outsiders said that “being a stylist only requires a little talent and good taste, but no formal education”, stylist Kye Nguyen – Nguyen Tuan Kiet laughed and “corrected” right away: “If you have a talent, forte, or hobby, it is true that you can do it without any formal education, but if you are not properly trained in fashion and design, you will have to self-study a lot. Skills and aesthetic sense can be enhanced through the process of work, self-study, including learning from predecessors and learning in an international environment. So, without a formal education, you must rely on self-study skills, which is more challenging because stylist is an art. Self-study, self-discipline, no text book, and instructors have never been easy in today’s massive sea of information and technology.”
With the same opinion, stylist Tran Dat, who currently operates the D2 Styling firm, stated: “If you believe that stylists are generally gifted and have inherent wealth, as well as the skill to dress up, making it easier to work in the luxurious environment of Showbiz, you are only partially accurate. I am a typical example of a fashion outsider who graduated from Civil Engineering and used to be a graphic designer (graphic design), but fell in love with the stylist profession, then attached and regarded it as a right-hand career for almost 8 years now. Any profession can start off owing to interests, skills, and no formal training, but in order to maintain and grow yourself with it, to have a place and position, you must always enhance your knowledge every day, while also learning and referring to seniors and colleagues.”
Tran Hoai Trang, a stylist and also a fashion icon, shared that she always believes that she must be beautiful first to be able to beautify others, and that a stylist always needs to know in the shooting context when and which angle has the best light, as well as which color and style of makeup best suits the outfit. Stylists are not expected to know how to handle a camera or a brush (though if they do, that’s fantastic), but they do need expertise to express the precise objectives to the team. Understanding the structure of costumes and tailoring will also help you handle problems swiftly and create a variety of outfit and accessories combinations.
True stylists are the ones who work hard on their own without a notebook, without going to school regularly, and grades are never a problem for them. For them, the prestige and name stated in a tiny sentence in a fashion photo are the result of recognized efforts, and viewers will find it themselves after admiring “so gorgeous.”
2. Courage; if you lack it, you should choose another profession rather than becoming a stylist
Stylist is a simple job; all you need is a passion of fashion and the ability to mix and match! That is a completely incorrect concept. The factors listed above are only a few of the many that are required for this profession. You must be properly trained not only in fashion knowledge, but also in a wide range of other knowledge and skills such as photography, Photoshop, AI, and so on. Without understanding of color, layout, and office tools such as Word and Powerpoint, it is quite impossible to design a concept for a basic photoshoot. Even if you are already skilled in these areas, a stylist must be a strong communicator in order to link all members of the team. In the basic photoshoot, the stylist serves as both the director and the producer. The courage here is obvious and simple: if you aren’t very excellent, if you don’t have a lot of knowledge and skills in related fields, your voice in the team isn’t persuasive enough to convince others to follow the style guidance you provide. But to achieve the bravery of an all-around good person is a tough journey.
Kye Nguyen – Nguyen Tuan Kiet added: Professionals supporting stylist work such as photography, make-up, fashion design, marketing, and communication must be closely coordinated, so if you are a professional stylist, if you want to have a good position and income, you will consider your job as a really serious business, and you must strictly manage all stages, including being the producer, to implement your projects. If you are not courageous enough, you will either give up or just treade water at work.
When questioned, all stylists responded with a joyful but serious tone: “If you don’t have the courage of an Art Director, a true team leader, then you should pick another career; don’t choose Stylist because this profession will not choose you either”!
3. Top jobs with high pressure
Stylist is a new industry that has emerged in Vietnam in recent years, and while it is still in its beginnings in the field of fashion, Stylists are the individuals who contribute to the overall growth of the fashion industry. If you truly believe that the stylist profession is simply about having fun, being gently dressed day after day, and being in contact with the showbiz world every day, then you have clearly never understood stylist.
Tran Dat started to join the professional stylist industry from 2012-2013, and he often joked about the early years of his career, when he was confused and doubted about himself because the starting point was not a person with the conditions to interact with haute couture products or previous fashion knowledge.
Before becoming a CEO of a firm that provides professional stylist services, Dat stated that he worked hard to overcome prejudices and pressures, such as the notion that being a stylist requires being a fashionista first and being a person who dresses fashionably and luxuriously every day. “I altered my viewpoint that a stylist must be someone who knows how to utilize fashion well, using their own sense and aesthetic taste to dress effectively, and then consulting many people. Oscar de la Renta’s quote “Being well dressed hasn’t much to do with having good clothes. It’s a question of good balance and good common sense”, has always served as my guiding light.”
Many professional and pretisgous stylists agree: showbiz is an environment that requires sophistication, thoroughness, and being ready at all times. Several stylists have experienced exhausted or even had a stroke because of the overwhelming pressure.
“Shooting sessions lasting many days, starting work at 2-3 a.m. or participating in movie projects lasting months, the number of costumes is up to several hundred for more than a hundred actors at the same time, but then “the wrong costume, the costume is not beautiful,” the “negative comments” when the movie was released made many stylists feel depressed and disappointed. Of course, after many years of working in this profession, joy will compensate for the pressure whenever a product is released and appreciated by a huge number of people, and each new project brings new pressures. It’s normal to feel pressure once you’ve gotten used to it, and even more pressure is on how to raise the identity of the stylist industry in Vietnam while also providing the most professional services to customers everywhere, always reminding myself to use the knowledge I have to apply to fashion but with a new creative perspective, thereby exploring different limits of myself with the profession. If we are not put under pressure, we will never improve.” Tran Dat affirmed.
From a different perspective and from other starting points, Tran Hoai Trang, a bachelor of public relations and communication, feels quite fortunate that “the stylist career chooses her” because the knowledge in her major helps Trang a lot when analyzing tastes and trends for customers, creating good viral advertising concepts, and she also places stylists at the top of the most stressful jobs. “It’s exceptional for a career to be under pressure from so many sides: time pressure, constant innovation pressure, pressure from customers, celebrities, the team, and oneself, which always requires you to perform better. As a comprehensive creative profession, if you do it for passion, you will always find joy. In addition to the pressure and hard work, the compensation and reward is working in a professional environment, meeting famous people, staying in luxurious and beautiful places, it can be said to be trendy, and the profession’s future extends far beyond the next few years because wanting a good image is a very real and necessary need. Not only is personal stylist a growing profession, but commercial stylist is even more indispensable since the stylist is a crucial link in the team that produces a complete advertising product. Stylist is the foremost and firm foundation for you to fully thrive to become an art director in the future. So, if you’re under pressures, it’s well worth it”, Trang emphasized.
And, although having worked with stylists for many years, we unintentionally have better insight after writing this article for ILLUME, that stylists, despite always having a lot of bright nimbus, are never an easy job with good pay.
Vo Ha, Mac Ha