Portfolio making is an extremely crucial step when you’re stepping into the real world as a fashion designer. Not only should it be professional and to the point, but it should also be of high enough quality that instantly gives you the upper hand when applying for a job. While this can be a daunting task, it is not impossible to create a strong portfolio. We’ve got you covered with a list of tips that will help you nail every interview!
Read the portfolio requirements
Whether you’re applying to a fashion school or a well-established company, make sure you read the requirements carefully and follow them. Many people end up adding more than required or not enough. If your interviewer only wants to see 3 design ideas and 1 sketchbook, but you feel like you want to show them some other project work too, bring it along and ask them if they’d like to see. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t; however, you will have your bases covered by meeting the portfolio requirements!
Display it right
Arrange your work in reverse chronological order, i.e. the most recent work at the front, followed by previous creations. Respect your interviewer’s time and edit your portfolio so it is concise, neat, and holds their interest. Restrict the size to A3 or A4, making it easy to look at as well as carry around. Do not leave any blank pages in your portfolio and keep it up to date, so your future employer/faculty know where you’ve come from and where you want to go in the future. Also, avoid including any printed material or actual garments.
Have a separate digital version too
In today’s day and age, you can never overlook the importance of a digital version of your portfolio. Obviously, this will be slightly different than your hardcopy, as some things can’t be represented the same in both formats (e.g. videos or fabric swatches). Create a mini version, approximately 4MB, to send out as a preview. Keep it flexible in case you need to add or remove pages later. Don’t ever send a large 100 MB portfolio to someone unless they have specifically asked for it!
Know your strengths
If you aren’t good at something, try and avoid including it in your portfolio. For instance, if you’re not good with illustration, use a template figure and repeat it instead of including badly drawn sketches. If you have problems with your presentation, have a graphic designer friend help you with layouts. If you’re not very good with your writing, make sure your written work is proofread. Nobody is perfect and it’s okay to ask friends for help in certain areas so the final presentation does turn out perfect! Of course, all the key components and main work should be your own.
Research and development
Show your process! Include the research that went into a particular design, the development over time, the experimentation with different patterns and textiles, the fittings, and more. This could be in a sketchbook or attached to the project separately. This will help your potential employer see how you work, how you plan your projects, and how you arrive at a conclusion.
Don’t limit your content to fashion
Most schools and companies want to know you as a person and if you will fit into their organization. Mention any other skills and interests you might have. Make your research work interesting by showing references from society and culture too, so your interviewer knows you have a broad understanding of the world and are aware of various topics.