A portfolio is a collection of work that proves fashion designers have capability and experience. Designers seriously interested in a career in fashion must have a fashion portfolio to showcase their designs and creativity. Portfolios should contain everything from sketches and illustrations to photographs and labels. Not only do many companies strongly consider fashion portfolios during the job interview process, many design schools such as London College of Fashion and Fashion Institute of Technology also require potential students to have a portfolio to be considered for acceptance into the school.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 9 by 12 professional portfolio
- 9 by 12 portfolio paper (at least 12 pages)
- 9 by 12 protective sheet covers (at least 12)
Choose a fashion market that you would like to focus on. For instance, if you are applying to design for a wedding gown company, you will want to build your portfolio to focus on bridal designs. If you are applying to a sports apparel company, focus your portfolio on sportswear. If you are applying to a design school, you can include a variety of styles in your portfolio.
Save all of your work (sketches, photos, notes, awards and illustrations) and begin to organise in folders at least six months to one year before putting together a portfolio to apply for school. Throughout school, continue to save your work in folders to potentially add to your portfolio that you will use for applying for jobs.
Lay all of your work on a table and separate your best work from the rest. You should have at least five quality projects plus sketches or enough work to fill 12 pages.
Begin creating a layout for the pages of your portfolio according to project. For each project include an initial sketch, illustration and/or computer-aided design and a photo of the final piece. You may need to use scissors to cut out your work to fit on each page. Use creativity to make a layout that complements your taste. A creative layout will also showcase your design skills.
Glue your designs to your portfolio paper, once your layout is set.
Add labels with a title and description of each project.
Add protective sheet covers for a more professional appearance.
Print out a cover letter and copy of your resume to accompany your portfolio when you go on school or job interviews. Your portfolio does not replace your resume.
Tips and warnings
- If you have a website or digital portfolio, add a website address to your print portfolio and information on how to access your digital portfolio.
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- Fashion Institute of Technology: Portfolio Requirements
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- University of the Arts London: London College of Fashion: Portfolio Advice
- AIGA: "Presenting Your Portfolio"; Steff Geissbuhler, Chermayeff & Geismar Inc.
- Designer Direction: A Guide to Creating a Fashion Portfolio