As a freelance fashion stylist, you can do lots of different jobs and get to work with different kinds of people and brands. Once you create a reputable name for yourself, you could even get to work with actors, artists, TV presenters, and other public figures to help them look their best. 

The opportunities for this type of job are almost endless, but fashion is a competitive industry. It takes creativity, dedication, and experience to work your way up in a fashion role, so you want to do everything you can to get your freelancing career off to the best start. 

This guide will cover:

  • Qualifications you need to be a fashion stylist
  • How to be a freelance fashion stylist
  • How Countingup helps with financial management

Qualifications you need to be a fashion stylist

There are fashion styling courses and degrees you can complete to add to your CV. Still, the main qualification you’ll need to succeed in this field is experience and dedication. 

If you’re a seasoned veteran in fashion styling, you can skip to the next section. On the other hand, if you’re new to fashion styling, the best way to gain experience is to become an apprentice stylist. Many high-end brands offer internships to train aspiring fashion stylists. These internships can later open doors to other jobs. 

You can find internships and apprenticeship programs via a simple Google search. Have a look at different ones and pick one that best suits your needs. 

Aside from experience, you’ll obviously need a keen sense of fashion and be up to date on new trends. You also need excellent people skills to help you land clients and communicate with the different people you’ll encounter while working. After all, fashion divas have a reputation for being difficult. 

How to be a freelance fashion stylist

Follow these steps to become a freelance stylist in the fashion industry.

Step 1: Register your business

As soon as you start freelancing, you’re automatically considered as a sole trader by HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) even if you haven’t registered as one yet. Still, to set up your freelancing business, you need to tell HMRC that you will manage your own taxes going forward.

If you make more than £1000 in a tax year (6 April – 5 April), you must file a Self Assessment tax return and send it to HMRC. If your turnover is over £85,000, you must also register for VAT

Step 2: Protect yourself with insurance

Since everything falls on you when you’re freelancing, it’s good to get insurance to protect you in case something goes wrong when you work. Here are a few covers that every aspiring freelance fashion stylist should get:

  • Professional indemnity insurance: In case you get something wrong in your work or fail to deliver the expected results.
  • Public liability insurance: In case your business causes an injury or damages someone else’s property.
  • Business and office equipment insurance: In case any of your equipment is lost, stolen or damaged.
  • Personal accident insurance: In case you or anyone you’ve covered has an accident.

Step 3: Create a stunning portfolio

As a freelancer, you’ll need to brand and market yourself as companies do. One of the most important things you need is a stunning portfolio that shows off your skills. Use your fashion stylist portfolio to showcase your best work to entice potential clients and give them an easy way to contact you. 

An excellent way to demonstrate your fashion skills is to create and maintain a professional website to use as your portfolio. Add a section where you share some information about your skills and experience. You can use website builders like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace to create your website for free or at a reasonable price. 

Once your website/portfolio is set up, you can use it to market yourself and attract new clients.

Step 4: Market your services

If you already work as a fashion stylist, you can spread the word to your previous clients about your new freelancing venture. Happy clients might hire you again or let others know about your styling services.

Whether you’re an established fashion stylist or a complete newbie, social media is an excellent way to look for jobs and build a reputation for your freelance business. 

Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Instagram will be the best platforms for fashion stylists as they focus on community and visual content. Use these platforms to join groups, connect with potential clients, and share pictures of your styled looks to promote your business. You can also create outfit-of-the-day videos and share tips on how to assemble an outfit to spark peoples’ interest. You can learn more about how to market your business on social media here.

As a stylist, you must develop a client base. Networking with designers and industry professionals, and attending numerous industry events, can help you find new customers. Fashion is a notably cutthroat industry, so it’s crucial to stay on top of PR and marketing to create a reputable name for yourself –– and keep it.

Step 5: Open a business current account

As a sole trader, you don’t legally have to open a separate business account. Still, keeping separate accounts for your business and personal expenses is the best way because it:

  • Makes it easier to monitor cash flow (money moving in and out of your business)
  • Makes tax returns easier to prepare since your business and personal transactions are separate
  • Looks more professional and trustworthy

For example, the Countingup business current account has built-in accounting software that allows you to save time and stress on bookkeeping tasks. Once you get more paying clients, Countingup will be an excellent tool for sending and managing invoices efficiently.