What’s the difference between a stylist and a designer? Don’t they both make people look good? Aren’t they both the same thing?
Although a stylist and a designer are in many ways similar, they are not both the same thing. They have job similarities that can lap over into each other, but overall, their jobs are vastly different in a large respect.
A costume designer looks for accessories that will enhance the creation that they’ve made. They may even design something specifically for the costume, just to ensure that it gives off the initial impression they want.
A stylist takes available accessories and uses them for the purposes they already have. They don’t create (necessarily), but they use available resources. They may offer their insights to the designer, but they primarily rely on their creative sparks and available resources.
A costume designer actually designs clothes for their clients. They take the personality of the character, entertainer, etc. and works with it to make something specifically for that individual.
A stylist takes clothing from different designers and creates a "look." Their creative abilities are in what they can do with the things they’re given. This is where their creative abilities count for a lot, and their choices can make the costume designer shine!
A person with multiple skills in both areas could certainly successfully do both jobs. On many television sets and entertainment sets, they may in fact lap over. However, in order for there to be a uniform consistency in the way each duty is performed, it’s best to have a designated stylist and a designated costume designer. This makes the overall presentation more stunning, more impressive and keeps each person’s creative work in the area that best suits them and the task they’re working with.