How To Create A Killer Fashion Portfolio
If you work in, or desire to work in, the fashion industry as a designer you need a fashion portfolio to get a job. A fashion portfolio is an ever-changing collection of your body of work, It reflects your accomplishments, skills, experience, and design aesthetic. It highlights and showcases samples of some of your best work, along with life experiences, values, and achievements.
A memorable fashion portfolio can set you apart from other applicants. A fashion portfolio is often times the final factor in selecting which candidate to hire. It provides tangible proof of your skill set and abilities and demonstrates to the employer that you are qualified for the job or that you have the right aesthetic for that brand.
In this article, I am going to explain what type of fashion portfolio you will need. I will also explain what you need to include in your fashion portfolio to help you stand out amongst your peers and get the job.
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.
Join The Fashion Design Portfolio Challenge!
Being a fashion industry veteran I have seen a lot of fashion portfolios over the years; both good and bad. This month I will be going through my personal design process of creating a fashion portfolio. I will share my thought process and every detail of my work from what tools I use to fabric selection. I hope that some of you will follow along with me, and give comments. Join the Pick Glass Fashionable Careers Facebook Group to follow along and get some great tips. You can post examples of your work and get feedback from the group!
What Type Of Fashion Portfolio Do You Need?
Wait. What? There’s more than one type of fashion portfolio?! Yes. And you will need to determine what type of portfolio is best suited for your needs at any given stage of your career path. Below are the four types of fashion portfolios along with explanations of their purpose and when you might use them.
- Student Portfolio—Demonstrates knowledge attained in a given class or throughout your school career. This portfolio can be helpful when you are applying for scholarships, grants, or even other colleges.
- Project Portfolio—Shows the efforts or steps taken to complete a specific project or independent study. (Think graduate collection or launch of new brand) This might also be used by freelancers who want to demonstrate examples of projects they have worked on.
- Professional Portfolio—Demonstrates your skill set, aesthetic (via examples of your work from previous employment), accomplishments and expertise. This portfolio is versatile and can be arranged for a specific position. (Woven vs. knit, or activewear vs. swimwear) This fashion portfolio is often used by freelancers who might swap out examples of their work to fit the needs and demographics of the company they are pitching to.
- Online portfolio – Enables your credentials to be more easily accessible via the internet. This should not take the place of a hard copy portfolio, but be created in addition to one. Keeping an updated online portfolio is an excellent way to reach potential employers via social media such as LinkedIn. This portfolio should be a well-curated example of your body of work. It should demonstrate your personal brand, aesthetic, and level of experience.
What Should I Include In My Fashion Portfolio?
As you begin to create your fashion portfolio, there are several different items that you should consider if applicable:
- Letters of reference
- Resume or CV
- Lists of accomplishments (grants, scholarships or competitions you won)
- Samples of work (e.g., graduate collect, items produced during internship, class projects, items produced from your previous jobs, marketing photos with any products you helped design or produce, any media or publicity you have received.)
- Mood boards, design concepts
- Computer Aided Design (CAD), flat sketches, illustrations, and Photographs
For a professional fashion designer, your interview portfolio (the one you take with you on your interview) should include at least three complete design projects or collections. Each project needs to show a complete thought process. This may include a mood board/ color palette, concept pages, swatches, flat sketching, and fashion sketches of the collection. (I will go into detail of each part of your portfolio in later posts in this series.)
Organizing Your Work For Students
When you are fresh out of school your experience and body of work will be limited. However, the same rules apply. Your fashion portfolio needs to be neatly organized and should flow.
A good rule is to start with your resume. Next, showcase any accomplishments or special projects you worked on. Next, is your most recent or most relevant work for the job in which you are applying. Lastly is your design ideas. This will actually be the most looked at section of your portfolio. Your designs need to show your complete design process from concept through to final designs.
Organizing Your Work As A Professional
As you begin working in your chosen field of interest you will hopefully have the opportunity to work on several different types of products or brands. It is important to continue to add examples of your work to your portfolio as you go forward in your career. You never know what new opportunities may come your way, and having a fashion portfolio ready to show is crucial. Your body of work will become quite large, and that is a good thing! As you gain more experience and stronger skills you can go through and discard older, less relevant work that no longer demonstrates your level of experience.
Once your fashion portfolio builds past the point of a single presentation you will want to start categorizing or segmenting your work. For example, you can save all of the examples of a particular category together, such as swimwear. This way, when a swimwear job pops up you simply have to go through all of your swimwear boards and decide which one are most applicable to that particular company you will be interviewing with.
Build An Online Fashion Portfolio
First impressions have gone digital! Today, when you submit your application online to a job posting most likely the recruiting person or company will first look you up online before ever making contact with you. This means they will do an online search for you on LinkedIn, Google, FaceBook, etc. It is important to have an online presence with at least a few examples of your work. You may decide to host your own personal portfolio website. I recommend a template hosting company like wix.com. There are many others. Just be sure that you include the link to your portfolio website on your other online platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram. If you don’t want to go that route you can simply upload some examples to your LinkedIn profile.
Fashion Portfolio Blog Series
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.
- How To Create A Killer Fashion Portfolio
- Fashion Portfolio – Step 1 – Review Your Current Body of Work
- Fashion Portfolio – Step 2 – Find Inspiration
- Fashion Portfolio – Step 3 – Get Clarity of Concept
- Fashion Portfolio – Step 4 – Create A Mood Board
- Fashion Portfolio – Step 5 – Create A Color Palette
- Fashion Portfolio – Step 6 – Create Your Concept Board
- Fashion Portfolio – Step 7 – Sketch Out Your Ideas
- Fashion Portfolio – Step 8 – Find Your Fabrics
- Fashion Portfolio – Step 9 – Add flat sketches
- Fashion Portfolio – Step 10 – Fashion illustrations
- Interview With Karen Avila – Freelance Fashion Designer & Illustrator