Considerations for Fashion Portfolios

June 3, 2009

When I first applied to fashion school, I made a portfolio. Now that I look back on it, I laugh/wince/think omg…. In 3 short years, I have come light years. Over the years, we have been asked to revise our portfolios. The last revision I did was about 8 months ago, which is the one we had to bring to our internship interviews. I thought it looked pretty good then, but now I see it as being obselete in showcasing my capabilities and experiences since my internship.

I considered a lot of aspects when developing my portfolios. For my entrance into fashion school, the focus was to highlight specific skills in specific sections to show that I met the criteria to get in.

Here are some shots of the portfolio I did about 8 months ago, roughly 3 years since my very first fashion porfolio. There are definitely things to fix and improve upon, which I’ve pointed out below each shot.

Criticism: too anal about layout, forgot to match SKU plan to flats, mood board and concept statement takes up way too much space over the actual designs

Criticism: Black background detracts from otherwise cohesive look of portfolio, I may want to think about taking the costing sheet out if I don’t plan on working in production

Criticism: the eye is drawn to forecasting illustrations instead of my own design, I’m not particularly fond of the design..

I think its really important to question what you are communicating with your portfolio. It was not enough for people to say that my layouts were great, because I wanted them to focus more on design, which was actually my fault, because I got carried out with designing the layouts. With this in mind, I decided to take a much more simple, minimal approach to page layout when revising my portfolio (which I am currently in the process of doing so). Especially after my internship, I have realized what I want people to focus on in terms of my skillset. And like it or not, a portfolio ready for Vancouver’s apparel industry will have a different focus than a portfolio aimed at making it in a bigger fashion city.

For example, if you want to focus on a well-rounded skill set to nab that job as a design/production assistant, then you probably want to meld your designs with costing sheets and SKU plans, etc. If you want to focus on textiles, then make sure you articulate that through actual fabric swatches and fabric descriptions. If you want to get a job working with a couturier of sorts, show hand work and illustrations. If your niche is merchandising, you probably need to include charts. Looking through my portfolio, I can tell that I am leaning towards a certain focus, but haven’t quite found that yet (at the time), so there are some things that seem misplaced. I can also spot major flaws and areas of possible improvement much more easily now.

As for my focus? Top secret for now, wait a few months, and you’ll see. 😉 I’ll also be working on an online portfolio as well.

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4 Responses to “Considerations for Fashion Portfolios”

  1. gilda Says:

    i’m going to be a senior in fashion design next semester, and have been developing my own portfolio too. it’s kind of interesting to see another designer’s portfolio! i just never really know how i should do mine and what is best. 🙂 good luck to us both!

  2. Annching Says:

    Hi Gilda! Same, I’m always interested in seeing other designers’ portfolios. I think “best” really depends. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Vivian Says:

    Hehehe, you make me so excited for next year! I’m going to Kwantlen for fashion design too! It’ll be my first year this September. Your portfolio looks so pro! Good Job!

  4. Annching Says:

    Hi Vivian! Oh wow, it seems like just yesterday that I applied and got in too.. how time flies…


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