Late last night, I read the sad headline from Dazed regarding a fraud stylist on the loose. Now, several designers - many of them smaller houses - have lost several thousand dollars worth of samples. The most depressing part of this story? It's nothing new. It comes around every few years, maybe because people become too trusting (a rather disheartening thought) or are too desperate to get into the pages of a major title.
Obviously, the lesson learned is do your homework on any stylist that reaches out to you. And it's not just about checking their Instagram account (can’t anyone sign up for one of these?); do they have a website, portfolio and a client list? The person in question in the Dazed story claimed to be a member of Business Of Fashion's BOF500 list; this isn't the case, but could have easily been checked. I'm not trying to blame the designers or their press offices; Lord knows there are so many stylists calling in samples for photo shoots all over the world at any one time, it's probably difficult to keep track of us all. But for those of us working with smaller titles, the burden still tends to fall on us to prove that we are legitimate and worthy of receiving designer loans for our magazines no matter how long we’ve been in business, rather than on any stylist who comes along professing to work for a major.
By the way, this doesn't just pertain to designers, but to personal clients as well. If you’re considering hiring a stylist for personal styling, get references and find out their work history. Remember: A stylist is not just someone who looks glamorous and likes to shop. They should have an excellent understanding of proportion, as well as fit and materials, how pieces work together and how to build a functional wardrobe. Until it becomes less easy for just anyone to fake it in fashion, check their credentials and know if who you’re hiring is the real deal.