A fashion designer's life is full of fabric, color, clothing trends and excitement. It's also full of talented competition. That's why it's important for a designer to have a knock-out portfolio to show off to prospective employers. A portfolio is a designer's collection of clothing sketches. It's essential to have, even mandatory during job applications with some fashion houses, and putting her very best on display can only help an aspiring designer.
Your portfolio needs to display your talent and skill, but you should be able to balance your own unique take on clothes with your understanding of what style is currently trending. During school, budding designers keep their sketches in a portfolio with an eye to landing an internship, and you may be asked to present these during a job interview as well. However, your professional portfolio must be much more polished and refined. Going to an interview with a student-grade portfolio might get you attention, but not the kind you want.
Getting the Bones
Your portfolio case is almost as important as its contents. Buy a sturdy, attractive case that has a clear, page-sized sleeve for your designer's identification label, which has your name and contact information, as well as copies of your resume. The inner sleeves should be of archival-grade plastic made of polypropylene or acetate, recommends Fairchild Books. These keep your pages from yellowing or deteriorating with age, which non-archival grade plastic won't do. Inserts that divide sketches from one another should be black and should also be archival-grade.
Creating a Story
Fashion designs are usually grouped together to create a visual "story." Stories are a designer's way of showing through her clothing designs what inspires her. The story begins with one or two mood pages, which can be collages of photos, drawings, fabrics -- anything that inspired the collection of clothing designs. The mood pages might be followed by swatches of the fabrics you envision being used in your designs. Next come the designs themselves, illustrated in both flat drawings and two-dimensional drawings.
Fashion isn't just about proving you can draw. Today's fashion industry also relies on computer technology to generate clothing designs, and your portfolio needs to demonstrate your skills in this as well. Bring a flash drive that you can leave with your potential employer that contains digital images of your work. Depending on with whom you are applying, you may need to supply photographs of clothes you've sewn together to showcase your grasp of clothing construction.
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