This September, a school dedicated solely to training fashion stylists will open in the UK. The London College of Style was founded by stylist Wendy Elsmore and model/stylist Kate Smith. Between the two of them, they have over 15 years of experience in the industry and have worked with tons of major fashion magazines, celebrities, and brands.
We spoke to co-founder Kate Smith about the school. Kate and her biz partner Wendy started the school because they saw a need for a quality short-term professional vocational program for fashion styling. Students interested in the industry either had to go to two or three year university programs or to short weeklong seminars held by “celebrity stylists.”
So what does the program offer? There are two courses of study. One is a 12 week program in styling. It includes classes in garment construction, body shapes, business & marketing, and editorial styling, among many others. Among the experts who have committed to teach and lecture at the school are photographers, make-up artists, costume designers, stylists, and hairdressers. Class sizes will be small, ensuring that students get a lot of individual support. The 12-week styling program is ~£3400, or roughly $5,200.
There’s also a Retailers Visual Merchandising program where companies can train their employees. The school will analyze a brand and train the company stylists in the brand identity. Kate said that several companies have already committed employees to attend this program.
But most importantly, how will the London College of Style ensure that their graduates get work? Here’s the plan: Every student will receive a contact resource book at the end of the program. And each term, industry experts will assess the caliber of each student’s work and hopefully direct them to positions that match their talents. At the bare minimum, the critique and industry contacts the students get should be invaluable.
If you’re not in London, you can register for e-learning courses. Offsite students will receive the same lectures, information, and resource books as London students. Their work will be assessed by the same experts. The e-learning course is ~£880, or $1,320.
It’s nice work if you can get it. And Kate and Wendy think there’s a lot of it out there to be had.
“There is not a photo that goes to print that doesn’t use a stylist,” says Kate. “The fashion industry can be very closed, but there’s a hell of a lot of work out there if people want to find it.”
Want to apply? According to the website: “No prior qualifications are required for this course. However, a love of fashion and style is essential. Reading, writing and numeracy skills are required as students will be expected to actively present work to the group.”