What makes the perfect Design portfolio?

The fashion industry is a tough competitive market, so it’s important to make your portfolio as impressive as you can to make you stand out from the crowd, and express your personality through your work, to achieve your dream job.
This is it, the make or break moment, when the interviewer opens up your Design portfolio. 
Recruiting for fashion designers is a completely different ball game to all the other head office functions. Your CV although relevant is not the deal breaker. Your portfolio is. 

That is why Freedom have listed some top tips in order to help you make sure your fashion design portfolio best represents you in the most commercial way.

Keep on top of it!

We get it, we are all busy and when you have been working a 12 hour day sometimes the last thing on your mind when you get home is the development of your portfolio. However it is crucial that it is updated and kept fresh. It should not be an after thought when you are looking for a new venture. Treat like a hobby or simply allocate a couple of days per season in order 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. Work backwards through your fashion career as you could your CV.

Show your workings!

Please, whatever you do, do not present a book full of fashion editorial shots. We need to see the process. This means, trend research, mood boards, understanding of colour and texture, CADs, tech packs, sketches. The works!

Trend research, mood boards, understanding of colour and texture - 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 expressing your knowledge of the current season. You must take us through every step. The research that is done during the initial stages is just as important as the final designs. Remember, fashion is a tangible business. We all love to touch and feel things. Include real fabric samples, colour swatches and reels of cotton. It adds another element to your portfolio and one that is memorable.


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, it is too complicated. Time to take it back a step. This is honestly what separates out the great from the good.


We love to see how talented you are. Including your own sketch work in your portfolio informs us and the recruiter that you can sketch on demand.
If you are at a buyer meeting, bouncing ideas about regarding a potential few designs you assist in development of the designs there and then by drawing what is being discussed. It begins to create a viable product and will get everyone in the room excited.

Are you IT Savy?

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 us that you get pattern cutting! This is where you need to think about the sample room and what the product will look like in the hand when it is on the hanger.

And Tech Savy?

Tech packs! Technical specifications that are clean and simple. The factory or sample room are likely to be 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 savy will save the business time and money so get up to speed if you aren’t already!

Photo Finish

Now you can add your beautiful editorial shots. This adds credibility, you can include look books, celebrities wearing your designs or the shot of the website. But whatever you do, don’t go over board at this stage!

Judging a book by its cover.

Finally, make sure that this is presented in a good portfolio book or folder, ideally A4. That is presented on high quality paper and that you haven’t got any grubby finger prints all over it. Just as you would be, make sure it is presentable.