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Clarke - New Style Roles
Philip Clarke, PhD student

Philip Clarke - New Style Roles: Defining and redefining the fashion stylist

The role of the fashion stylist has, from a position of relative anonymity, become increasingly acknowledged in recent years. Stylists are achieving celebrity status and are becoming recognised by the same markers of status and success as other high-profile creative roles within the fashion industry. However, despite this increased public recognition and academic interest the role has received very little published coverage. It could be suggested that within the industry itself the fashion stylist’s position in the image-making process continues to be considered secondary to that of the photographer, designer or other creative roles. 

My project will be conducted within a sociological theoretical framework and will draw on sociological and fashion studies sources. I intend to build on previous data collection by conducting further magazine research, looking at the crediting of stylists in fashion publications but also exploring how other creative roles have been credited. Research will be broadened, incorporating a study of past issues of a wide range of magazines. I have started interviewing fashion stylists and those who work closely with them to gain a clearer understanding of the process and practice of styling and of the hierarchy within fashion image-making, particularly in relation to the photographer. In order to further strengthen the theoretical position, literature research will initially centre on sociological study of professional roles within fashion, photography and related creative professions and broaden to incorporate approaches to the study of social mobility applied to other professional roles.