BUILD A MARKET RELEVANT PORTFOLIO AND SHOWCASE THE BEST OF YOUR WORK
Presentation is important and worth investing in it demonstrates your pride in your work. For physical portfolios ditch the old uni portfolio if it’s seen better days and avoid the use of stationary folders. Prat portfolios are a popular affordable option, easily available from a wide variety of sources including London Graphics, Cass Art and Portfolios Plus. If the idea of a long term investment appeals, Hartnack & Company offer a bespoke solution and Pina Zangaro have created beautiful screw post binders with a wide choice of covers and depths.
Avoid grainy plastic and offset your work with high-quality glass clear polyester sleeves.
Online portfolios are becoming the new norm. Wix and Square Space are just two platforms with great options and easy to follow tutorials. It is important to scale and space your work out effectively labelled by job or project and season. Make sure the images are not too small and the detail is easy to see.
Since you may also need to send specific edits, having pdf's of each job, project or season available to share is also a good idea.
WHERE TO BEGIN
As a designer your portfolio is an essential tool in your armoury.
You can work smart by collating your work throughout the season or by dedicating a weekend or two, so that you don’t have a mountain to climb when you are looking to move on.
Here’s a myth killer… your work does not need to be confined to one book or narrowed down edit! And no, no-one will be bored looking through your work. If your career is established and your visual history is relevant, it is absolutely fine to present several books and to showcase your career on your website or in a series of pdf's.
We regularly recruit for luxury brands and the designers in this sector often have a website documenting the visual journey of their career and/or a book per job providing a great insight into their work, skills and achievements.
It needs to be chronological, start with your most recent work and go backwards. Each season and trend should begin with a mood board and fabric & colour palette followed by your designs in either CAD or illustration format depending on how you work, supported by flat drawings and enhanced with fabric swatches.
Mood boards, fabric and colour palettes can be a one-page or two-page affair, keep it honed and to the point. It is really important to show key inspiration, colour and texture as this shows off your eye for what’s relevant.
Write the season against each page for context and include relevant text on your mood boards to highlight the theme. This demonstrates attention to detail and connects seasonal key information in the mind of the viewer!
Aim to show a comprehensive representation from the most recent two seasons (spring/summer and fall/winter), including any best sellers and work that was on target, but maybe didn’t get selected. For previous seasons, pull together your best bits along with any past best sellers.
MOOD, FABRIC, COLOUR
Feel free to include any look book or editorial images to support your design work keeping in mind it’s your actual drawings, whether hand sketched or created by CAD, that people want to see and which enable you to be competitive.
Your portfolio provides an opportunity to curate your work as a well constructed personal showcase. Outfitting is a great way to convey seasonal looks through the use of illustrations or CAD's.
Add fabric swatches and trims where appropriate, so that your book isn’t totally flat. A swatch next to a design brings it to life! For knitwear, include yarns and for print include any strike-offs.
Avoid fancy paper and distracting backgrounds or overly complicated presentation styles. Keep it super simple!
Your CV can be added to a CV tab on your website and you can have a loose copy to hand if your portfolio is in physical format.
Do add a couple of technical sheets to demonstrate your awareness of garment construction and skills in designing commercially viable garments which is applicable to all levels of the market.
If you have been collecting ideas in sketch books, people always love to flick through random inspiration, fabric/print/texture ideas and doodles that showcase your ability to think on your feet and capture a vision. This is a powerful tool that can be collated on your website or shown in a physical format.