The truth about pulling/borrowing clothes | Alexandra Stylist | Personal Wardrobe Stylist NYC

The truth about pulling/borrowing clothes

By | August 21st, 2013 | BECOME A STYLIST, Confessions

alexandra-photo-shootFor photo shoots+red carpet events, stylists often borrow clothing from showrooms for models, celebrities, and well-known socialites to wear. Occasionally civilians get wind of this and ask me as a stylist if I can borrow clothing for them too. What most people don’t realize is it’s not as simple as “borrowing clothing”; it’s all about politics and the behind-the-scenes pecking order, which goes in the decision-making process of who gets what and when.

Let me elaborate.

Your ability to borrow clothing samples, which are mostly sample size, is based on the following factors:

The merit and weight of the project you are pulling for. An example, if you will, is a legitimate magazine online or offline, requiring a healthy readership. The more powerful the outlet or celebrity, the more power you have in pulling. If no one has heard of your celebrity or your online blog doesn’t have strong readership and an actively engaged audience, your chances of borrowing Chanel or well-known big designers are slim to none. You might be able to finagle young designers who want their work photographed, but that’s unlikely.

The relationship the stylist has with the showroom. Your reputation is everything in this business. Maybe you have borrowed from the past and returned the item(s) late, or possibly returned damaged goods or never returned goods at all. The showrooms likely won’t grant you the privilege to borrow again. If they do, they may let you pick out items but then remove certain items from your bag without telling you. Surprise!

Who else is borrowing or shooting at that time. If you’re pulling for a small magazine and Vogue wants the items you requested, guess what? Vogue is getting them, no questions asked. The showroom is going to protect the image of their client first and make sure the garments are shot by the best possible teams and outlets available. The same hierarchy exists for celebrities too. Angelina Jolie will always trump a sitcom actress.

In closing, if you’re not able to borrow, just remember that there are other options to explore and that are available to you. You can rent clothing + accessories from studio services that buy from the big stores. It’s less complicated, and everyone is happy in the end!

If you found this article helpful and want more info on how to become a fashion stylist.
Check out my first book Secrets of a Fashion Stylist which goes more into depth about borrowing clothing.

If you’re a stylist working in NYC you will find my second book which includes lots of tools like where to rent clothing and accessories, where to get racks, steamers, and stylist equipment along with all of my industry contacts from the past 15 years Vetted by a Stylist. 

Looking for a style makeover? Click here to schedule your complimentary 30 minute style assessment call dedicated to find out how you can transform your style and end closet overwhelm today

Comment (12)

kapoor Ria
December 2, 2016 at 10:47 AM
Michelle Obama has embraced fashion as a powerful form of communication over the past eight years. She has shown elegance and class and has not been shy to experiment with her looks either. Her fashion stylist/advisor has played such an important role for her over the years and it has been a joy to see all her looks. I love how you have talked about the First Lady Michelle Obama and I think everyone should be very thankful for the work that she has done during President Obamas time. Admire all her best fashion moments because they are completely worth it.
November 25, 2015 at 4:02 PM
If I am interested in doing stylist loans. I currently have an optical business and would like to loan eyewear to stylists for shoots, red carpets events, premiers, etc. Where would I start?
Celia Fernandes
March 7, 2015 at 2:42 AM
A stylist helped me with my very first photo-shoot many designers have no problem with having their items borrowed just make sure is well photographed or that you photograph their items at least once by itself so they can use the image on their website. try Not just a label.
jessica chou
February 10, 2015 at 3:34 AM
I glad I found this site. So i have been reading up on "pull letters" and my only difficulty I am having is exactly what it is to write in these pull letters. I myself am a freelance fashion stylist. I'm looking to pull from new upcoming designers and possibly some boutiques.
February 17, 2015 at 6:05 PM
Hi Jessica, Thanks so much for your comment. I have a sample pull letter in my book Secrets of a Fashion Stylist. You can get your copy here>> good luck with your shoot, alexandra
Santasha FashionNerdz
November 11, 2014 at 1:29 PM
Thank you , Your advice was very helpful.... I took notes and I will rebuild my resumes with all my current newly added information and achievements .... I'm a freelance Designer who only show in Fashion Shows so far and I have a resume built off all my work, I interested in working as a wardrobe stylist along with building my brand as well so I've been looking for information since recently being signed to a booking company.... I will look for further info. from you and thank you for your words .
September 1, 2014 at 8:38 AM
I am also wondering about April's question. I am also wondering if freelance stylists need to be represented by an agency in order to find styling work.
October 2, 2014 at 10:35 AM
Hi Jessica, Freelance stylists can find work without a agency representing them. But they have to hustle and seek out their own work and project.Hope that answers your question. alexandra
May 15, 2014 at 8:30 PM
Do you find boutiques let bloggers borrow clothes for daily outfit post?
Amanda Milan
January 13, 2014 at 6:48 PM
hello and thank you for your insight, it was most helpful! If you wouldn't mind, I am in need of a little assistance. I am a freelance fashion stylist and thankfully, I already have some jobs lined up. The problem is that I have no connections in which to pull clothing... nor do I even know where to begin to find some. Sigh... Is there anything someone like me, a fresh, no-name stylist, can do to get garments without actually having to purchase them? Aside from renting, that is... any and all advice is appreciated. I thank you in advance for your time.
May 5, 2014 at 7:27 AM
Hi Amanda, Don't be afraid to directly contact show rooms with your request to pull. If you are working on commissioned work, such as an editorial, request a pull letter from the photographer, you can also ask the magazine if they have any show rooms that they recommend/have a relationship with. For smaller or submission projects try contacting smaller designers that are just starting out as well. Contact small boutiques that may be interested in lending clothes for an editorial credit, or images from the photographer to use on social media. Also consider assisting experienced Stylists, you may find networking opportunities that way. Best of Luck!

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