From staff stylist at Life and Fashion Magazine to working with Lacoste, Abercrombie and Fitch, and brands like Diesel, Salem Moussallam began cultivating his fashion sense as a teenager in his native Toronto.
Realizing his passion early on, Salem went on to work at the likes of Maison Elama, Essense, and Dressed to Kill Magazine. The stylist and model has also worked and consulted with brands on advertising campaigns and the red carpet, as well as styling stars like Lady Gaga, GiGi Hadid, Bella Thorne and Paula Abdul, to name a few.
Today, Salem makes his living as an independent stylist, where he provides his clients with personal shopping, fashion consulting, wardrobe consulting, and closet cleanouts.
Now, he shares his fashion career advice with us.
Salem, tell us why you got interested in fashion and why you decided to pursue a career in the industry.
Salem Moussallam: I have worked in fashion for a long time. I love it because there is a lot of creativity. Ultimately, I wanted to create something nice in fashion and to make luxury accessible to all.
The creativity can never stop, but we all need to pay our bills at the end of the day and so that is why I made a career of it.
Giving back creatively is exactly what you do. What are some of your favorite projects?
Salem Moussallam: I’ve had a variety of assignments, but a few that stand out are when I got to style contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race and also Vancouver actress Serinda Swan, who plays Siren #2 in the movie Tron: Legacy.
What I love most about the industry is that everyone has this ability to be who they are. It’s no longer just about the clothes, it’s about who is wearing them. In a sense, there’s more interest in who the person on the runway or magazine is – that’s part of why I love fashion.
Over the span of his career, you have been guided by one particular philosophy. Persistence. Explain.
Salem Moussallam: Yes. It might sound basic but never give up on whatever you want to do. Do not give up on your dreams, do not give up on your relationships with people, do not give up on your hard work. There is a spotlight for everyone in this world. You just need to find yours. And make sure it’s the right one. As a young person in the industry, I learned early on that the key to longevity in the fashion world is communication. It’s so important to follow up with people and make sure you are on the same page.
What’s one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned about your role in the fashion industry thus far?
Salem Moussallam: Understanding what the job truly entails.
I think the greatest lesson I learned was to really understand what my job was. If I didn’t learn how to keep organized or pay strict attention to detail, then I wouldn’t have been able to style a celebrity at the same time as styling a magazine editorial and working on many other projects.
Succeeding in the fashion industry is much more than recognizing design. Why is it so important to keep up to date with current and changing trends?
Salem Moussallam: In a space that is already competitive by nature, being able to recognize patterns of trends, gives designers and brands with a vision of the future. Trend forecasting can help validate a design idea and gives brands a good indication on which trends to act on and when.
You’re a busy guy. What do you do to stay focused?
Salem Moussallam: Fashion styling doesn’t stop on the weekends, but boxing helps me stay disciplined and it relieves stress.
I train 5 days a week. The workouts help me to have the right mindset for the day. Then I go to my office. When you have a small business, you need to be ready to work everyday. 24/7. Sometimes things can go down pretty fast if you don’t communicate or do everything properly.
Your best advice for someone starting a career in fashion?
Salem Moussallam: It all really comes down to patience. Nothing good ever happens immediately. It’s up to you to push forward everyday. No matter what. And make your ideas a reality.
Good advice from this veteran fashion stylist.