Fashion Portfolio Step 2: Find Inspiration

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Step Two To Creating A Killer Fashion Portfolio

Welcome back to the fashion portfolio blog series! If you are following along with me on this 10 step process you will have read Fashion Portfolio – Step 1: Reviewing Your Current Body Of Work. You should now be clear on what you need to work on to improve your fashion portfolio. You either need to ADD to your existing body of work. Or you might need to REWORK some of your existing work to make it more suitable for a potential employer. Or you might need to start from scratch and build an additional project or collection. Remember, you need to have at least three complete projects or collections that all relate to one another.

Now comes the fun part. It is time to do some market research and get inspired! As a designer, you always want to stay relevant. You don’t want your portfolio to look dated. To do this you need to do market research. You need to know what is out there in your niche and what trends are happening.

We couldn’t cover every possible angle of how to create an amazing fashion design portfolio in just one post! This article is part of an EPIC 10 part Fashion Portfolio Blog Series. If you want to learn all the tricks to make YOUR fashion design portfolio stand out and get you hired you can check out the entire series at the bottom of this page.

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Join The Fashion Portfolio Challenge on Facebook!

Being a fashion industry veteran I have seen a lot of portfolios over the years; both good and bad. This month on the blog I will be going through my personal design process of creating a fashion design portfolio. I will share my thought process and every detail of my work from what tools I use to fabric selection. You can follow along with me here on the blog. You can also join the challenge by joining the Pick Glass Fashionable Careers Facebook group!

If you are ready to get to work and start to work on your own fashion portfolio I encourage you to join The Fashion Portfolio Challenge on our Pick Glass Fashionable Careers Facebook group. Here you can post examples of your own work and get feedback from the group!

How To Do Trend Research For Your Fashion Portfolio

There are several resources you can use to do your trend research. Here are 7 resources you can use to do market research for your upcoming fashion design portfolio.


  1. Fashion design portfolio, fashion portfolio, fashion portfolio tips, fashion careers fashion design careers, fashion career advice, fashion industry, fashion portfolio blog series, trend research fashion trend researchFashion magazines are great. I like to cut out things throughout the year that inspires me and stick them in folders by category.
  2. Fashion blogs are wonderful, too. Especially if you are following influencers for that particular area of the fashion industry.
  3. I am a big fan of Pinterest because you can make online collages of different types of things that go together. For example, I love sweater dresses. I have a Pinterest board just on sweater dresses! I also have boards by season and I have boards for mood images. To help you get inspired check out my fashion portfolio Pinterest board.
  4. Other resources include trade publications that show pictures of runway collections from the most recent fashion week. Not everything that is shown on a runway shows up in print in national magazines. These trade publications are expensive ranging anywhere from $60 up to $200. The good thing is that there are several different kinds out there from different publishers. For example, you can buy one that is showing all collections from Paris, Milan, and London. There are also publications that are category driven. For example, you can buy one that only shows shoes or denim! If you don’t have a retailer near you that sells these publications you can go to
  5. Inspiration shopping is probably hands down the best way to do your market research. Go into boutiques or department stores and look carefully at all the clothes or accessories that are currently on the floor. What are you drawn to? Look to see what silhouettes are popular in your market. What colors are popping up in multiple brands?
  6. WGSN is a global trend service company that has the most up to date trend reports each season. It is a very expensive subscription base resource. However, It is often free for students, or it may be available from your employer. To get a list of ALL the fashion trend service providers check out the PGInsider Resource Library!
  7. Finally, there are trend services books that are published each season for every market. They are extremely expensive (anywhere from $750 to $3500!) However, they are handcrafted and edited by a trend services company who only sell a few dozen of these books each season. Most companies purchase one or more of these books each season. So, if you work for a company you might have access to the latest one they have purchased. If you are a student some schools keep a copy of some of these in their library.

Guidelines For Speeding Up The Inspiration Process

Spend as much time as you can on this part of the process. Sometimes it takes a while to become inspired by an idea. It is important to get this part right because your inspiration is going to be the focus of your collection.

Pro Tips: Below are some helpful guidelines that I use to speed up the process.

I like to start with what I call a brain dump. I don’t want to start with any preconceived ideas of what I am looking for. Even if you have decided what to work on after you went through step one, that you only need to add a particular category or item to your current body of work, you don’t want to hold yourself back from finding new inspiration in an entirely different area. You might get an idea for a particular detail for your garments from a completely different source.

To do this, I cut out pictures from magazines and catalogs. I scroll through Pinterest and “pin” anything I like and make different boards. Then I print them all out. I go inspiration shopping. I either take pictures with my phone, or I do quick sketches of things that I notice.

Eventually, there comes a bit of clarity. The cream rises to the top so to speak. This doesn’t mean that you know exactly what items you are going to design or the exact colors or styles. But you should start to see almost a pattern or theme.

For those of you following along with me, you can see my Pinterest boards by following me at I created a board called Fashion Portfolios, and Concept Boards. I will be continually adding to these boards as we go through this process. Feel free to like, pin, or send me a message!

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Action Steps

  1. Read Step 1 and review your current body of work
  2. Use the above resources to do your market research
  3. Start a Pinterest page of ideas
  4. Create a folder of tear sheets and images that inspire you

Fashion Portfolio Blog Series

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If you, or someone you know, want to learn how to create a killer fashion design portfolio you can read the entire series here. Learn what it takes to build an amazing fashion portfolio that will get you noticed and get your foot in the door.

  1. How To Create A Killer Fashion Portfolio
  2. Fashion Portfolio – Step 1 – Review Your Current Body of Work
  3. Fashion Portfolio – Step 2 – Find Inspiration
  4. Fashion Portfolio – Step 3 – Get Clarity of Concept
  5. Fashion Portfolio – Step 4 – Create A Mood Board
  6. Fashion Portfolio – Step 5 – Create A Color Palette
  7. Fashion Portfolio – Step 6 – Create Your Concept Board
  8. Fashion Portfolio – Step 7 – Sketch Out Your Ideas
  9. Fashion Portfolio – Step 8 – Find Your Fabrics
  10. Fashion Portfolio – Step 9 – Add flat sketches
  11. Fashion Portfolio – Step 10 – Fashion illustrations
  12. Interview With Karen Avila – Freelance Fashion Designer & Illustrator


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Fashion design portfolio, fashion portfolio, fashion portfolio tips, fashion careers fashion design careers, fashion career advice, fashion industry, fashion portfolio blog series,