For Toronto stylist Salem Moussallam, choosing a career in fashion was never a question. From a young age, he knew he had an eye for design, and ultimately decided to pursue his passion in the creative industry.
Along the journey of becoming an independent stylist, Salem was constantly asked the same kind of questions. How did you do it? Who have you styled? What is involved? Did you know someone who worked in the fashion industry?
Now, with over a decade of experience working with some of the biggest editorial, fashion and celebrity brands and personalities in the business, Salem Moussallam can answer those questions with confidence.
“I have wanted to work in the fashion industry since I was a young boy in Toronto, and so I started out as a model,” he explains. As for why he chose fashion? “There is a lot of creativity. The creativity never stops and I wanted to be a part of that.”
On the runway, he worked for major fashion brands such as Lacoste, Abercrombie and Fitch, Diesel and Manolo Blahnik. His modelling career would eventually branch out to incorporate wardrobe fittings, personal styling, closet organization and more.
Today, Salem runs his own business and enjoys every minute of it.
He says although having a creative edge is a large part of becoming successful in fashion, hard work and communication are also key. “You see, when you have a small business, you need to be ready to work every day. 24/7. Sometimes, things can go down pretty fast if you don’t communicate or do everything properly.”
In fact, a typical day as a fashion stylist goes pretty much as an outsider would envision it.
Salem Moussallam: “One day, I can spend 8 to 12 hours handling wardrobe fittings for events. In fact, in the case of a fashion show, it can be several days doing this. Another day I can be shopping in boutiques on behalf of a client.”
He has dressed celebrities such as Serinda Swan, Bella Thorne, GiGi Hadid, Paula Abdul, Carmen Carrera, Gia Gunn and Lady Gaga, to name a few.
Salem has worked on major photoshoots, as well, for fashion magazines such as Life and Fashion Magazine, Dressed to Kill Magazine and Spade Magazine.
“For a photoshoot, I might be working with an editor, a photographer and the models well before the session to ensure that all the clothing items selected are approved, fitted perfectly and drape exactly how they’re supposed to so the photographer can get the shots and the editor will be satisfied (and hopefully excited!)”
Wanting to stay ahead of fashion trends, Salem added trend forecasting to his wheelhouse. It’s a field that revolves around predicting the future of fashion – predicting upcoming fashion trends—colours, styling techniques, and fabric textures that will spark consumer demand.
However, nowadays, there’s an added element to trend forecasting. Influencers.
“In addition to what we see on runways, in retail storefronts or on celebrities, today, new fashion styles are also being influenced by social media,” says Salem.
Take a look at Hollywood stars like the Kardashians, GiGi Hadid and others. With millions of followers, these influencers are now serious contributors as to what we wear.
Salem Moussallam concurs: “Thanks to social media and numerous influencers, a lot of trends in fashion come from people online. They help shape what we see in the industry.”
Outside of keeping up with the latest trends and helping style his clients, Salem says boxing helps keep him focused and doing his best work.
“I train 5 days a week. The workouts help me to have the right mindset for the day. Then I go to my office.”
As for what Salem Moussallam is looking forward to in the future? For one, he’s ready for COVID to be in the rearview mirror and to have the opportunity to style his clients for major events once again.
“I’m going to focus on continuing to be unique and adding my own influence to styles. It’s what allows me to stand out from the crowd.”