What makes the perfect Design portfolio?

A design portfolio, like a CV, sums up your career and talent in an instant. Recruiting for fashion designers is a completely different hiring process than other head office functions; your CV, although relevant, is not the deciding factor. Your portfolio is. We have listed some top tips in order to ensure your fashion design portfolio best represents you and in the most commercial way possible.

Keep On Top Of It
It is crucial that your portfolio is updated and kept freshed. It should not be an afterthought when you are looking for a new venture. So, treat it like a hobby or simply allocate a couple of days per season to create a personal project. Pick your favourite brand or one that you have recently read about and ensure you keep it commercial and trend led.

Best Foot Forward
As beautiful as your graduate collection is, if you are a designer with 6 years experience it isn’t going to be the first thing your interviewer wants to see. Ensure you have your most recent work first and work backwards through your fashion career as you would your CV.

Show Your Workings
Please, whatever you do, do not present a book full of fashion editorial shots. Consultants and clients need to see the design process. This means trend research, mood boards, understanding of colour and texture, CADs, tech packs, sketches; all of these are crucial for your first few pages. It will give the interviewer an idea of how you work as a designer as well as express your knowledge on current trends.

What’s Your Angle?
Your message needs to be clear. Your inspiration can be as weird and wonderful as you are, however it needs to translate through to the final page and be easy to understand. If you have to explain your angle in too much detail, then it’s likely it’s too complicated and this is truly what separates the great from the good.

We love to see how talented you are. Including your own sketchwork in your portfolio informs us and the client that you can sketch on demand. This is an important skill to have particularly if you are designing for a supplier; If you were brainstorming ideas with a buyer, you would be expected to draw the designs in the meeting. By doing so, you will begin to create a viable product, getting everyone in the room excited.

Are You IT Savvy?
All of your sketches and scribbles must be backed up with strong CADs. If you feel this is an area that could be improved on, sign up to a class, watch some online tutorials or just keep playing around with Photoshop & Adobe Illustrator. Your flat drawings are needed for manufacturing; it shows clients that you understand pattern cutting to a high standard. This is where you need to think about the sample room and what the product will look like in person.

… And Tech Savvy?
Technical specifications must be clean and simple. The factory or sample room is likely to be located overseas, so there can be no room for error. You must include a size specification, how the garment is going to fit on different areas of the body, fabric references and information on trims and embellishment. Hiring someone who is tech pack savvy will save the business time and money so get up to speed if you aren’t already.

Photo Finish
Now is the time to add the beautiful editorial pictures. This adds credibility, but whatever you do, don’t go over the top, less can often be more.

Judging A Book By It's Cover
Finally, make sure that this is presented in a high quality portfolio, book or folder, ideally A4. Ensure you present your work on high quality paper and that you keep it in impeccable condition. Just as you would be, make sure it is presentable.