With over 18 years of experience working with such celebrity clientele as Sean “Diddy” Combs, Mary J. Blige and Kimora Lee Simmons, stylist Misa Hylton has turned her passion for fashion into a lucrative career. In addition to running her image consulting company Chyna Doll Enterprises, the savvy businesswoman recently announced the launch of her plus-sized clothing line, Madison Star. Here, Hylton shares a few tips for those wishing to follow in her fashionable footsteps.
There’s nothing worse than being unprepared. While some may view the world of fashion and styling as frivolous endeavors, Hylton advises anyone coming into this business understand that there’s more to it than pretty clothes and accessories. To succeed one must understand fabrics, seasonal trends and who the major players are. “Educate yourself on the profession,” she says. “Be knowledgeable.”
We all have to start somewhere and most times that somewhere is the bottom. Working for free or for credit should be viewed as an opportunity to learn from the best. If you’re lucky enough to find a mentor in any industry, don’t squander the opportunity. “Intern or assist a fashion stylist for at least two-three years,” says Hylton. “You gain your greatest experience by being ‘hands on.’”
Don’t be fooled by the flashy photo spreads, fabulous parties and fierce runway shows, fashion is big business and that means hard work. As with any industry, you have to conduct yourself professionally to succeed. “Fashion styling is a business,” says Hylton. “Develop business acumen. Without it, you will fail.”
What good is rubbing shoulders with influential people in your field if you don’t forge meaningful connections? Hylton stresses the importance of not only knowing everyone in your industry but staying connected with them as well. That way you’re more than just a name in their Blackberry but an actual person they have confidence in. “Relationships with designers and showrooms are vital,” she says. “Develop relationships built on trust and respect.”
BE GOOD AT WHAT YOU DO:
“Your work ethic and professionalism is your business card,” says Hylton. “Great news travels fast. You will get most of your clients by referral or word-of-mouth. An efficient and resourceful stylist will always be employed.”