There are many potential paths to become a fashion consultant. Some people enter the field with very little experience and others have pursued education in college that has helped them train. To be successful in this field, people must understand the ins and outs of changing fashion and how that will apply to a variety of body types, and they also need skill in self-marketing to get a business going.
One of the majors a person could pursue in college if he or she wanted to become a fashion consultant is fashion merchandising. At universities, community colleges or art and design schools, this training prepares people to understand fashion from a historical perspective, to learn how to showcase styles, and work in advanced positions in retail, like clothes buying. This last position is very much like being a fashion consultant for the entire clientele of a retail store, since it forecasts or predetermines what will look good on customers. Many people who have private consultancy businesses have entered this field from the retail environment.
Not everyone who will become a fashion consultant studies fashion merchandising. Some people study related fields like design, and others enter this career after getting degrees in business or marketing, or in disciplines such as psychology or sociology. These last two majors are particularly good for those who are not just fashion consultants but who want to be image consultants. There is usually a difference between the two fields because image consultants work not only on what people wear but how people present themselves in public with the way they speak, the way they hold themselves, and the type of manners or behaviors they exhibit.
Another avenue people might explore is working as an assistant or intern for a well-known fashion consultant in the area. This might result in getting solo jobs as experience is gained, and particularly if the consultant has a very large clientele list. On the other hand, some consultants may not want this competition, as eventually the intern or assistant could result in fewer jobs for the consultant.
As evidenced, a degree isn’t always necessary to become a fashion consultant. Sometimes a person who has worked significantly in retail will become a fashion consultant. Many upscale stores offer personal shopper services, and those interested in later working as a consultant might try to get hired as a department store shopper. However people start in this field, they must ultimately move on to creating a personal clientele for whom they work.
Starting a career in fashion consultancy usually means getting several clients. In the beginning, these can be friends who accept and take fashion advice for free, and the consultant could take before and after pictures to demonstrate on a website. Once the consultant has worked with a few clients, and set up a website, which is an inexpensive way to get noticed, marketing is a must. Having print brochures or cards that can be distributed to likely customers is useful, and networking as much as possible will be valuable too. Some useful places to market to in early days of a career include businesses that require a certain formality in office wear, and also related industries like beauty salons or spas, since these cater to individuals who recognize the power of self-improvement.