Case study

Fashion stylist — Holly

Three years after graduating Holly is working as a stylist for a high-end e-commerce company in Dubai

How did you get your job as a stylist?

I relocated to Dubai after a one-year, paid internship in London. I didn't have a confirmed job offer when I moved, but was soon offered a three-month internship with a fashion magazine publisher. I gained experience while looking for an e-commerce stylist position.

I was interested in Namshi (the largest fashion e-commerce company in the Middle East), however, they didn't have any positions. I connected with the production manager and senior stylist on LinkedIn, messaged them directly to introduce myself and asked permission to send across my CV and portfolio. Thankfully they both responded and requested to meet me.

What's a typical day like as a stylist?

A day in the studio for me is incredibly fast paced. I style around 100 bran-conscious looks per day, and we have five full day apparel shoots per week. I also select the apparel imagery for the website.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I love the fast-paced, creative studio environment. It can be stressful, especially with constant high targets, but its fun and rewarding seeing your work on the website.

What are the challenges?

The most challenging part is the high targets - there is never really a quiet period and it is important that standards are kept high.

How relevant is your degree?

My undergraduate degree in Fashion Styling, from Southampton Solent University, provided me with all the relevant skills I needed to get this job and I use these skills on a daily basis.

What are your career ambitions?

Within the next year or so I would like to be promoted to senior stylist, given more responsibility and develop my skills further.

What advice can you give to aspiring stylists?

It's important to make use of the facilities available to you at university and plan shoots outside of lectures to build your portfolio.

Connect with as many people in the industry via LinkedIn as you can and don't just apply to advertised jobs - research particular companies that interest you and contact potential line managers directly. This will show your interest in their company and make you stand out.

London is incredibly competitive, especially in the fashion industry. I believe that I wouldn't be in the position I am in now if I was living in London. If moving abroad is something you have thought about, I would highly recommend it. The experience I've gained abroad will make me stand out to potential employers when I return to the UK.

After I graduated I worked for a small hat business, because the company was small I was able to get involved in numerous parts of the business, unlike some of my friends who interned at larger companies. I gained skills in different areas and I was able to showcase these to my current employer.

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