If you're hoping to have a career as a fashion designer, graphic designer or design consultant, the first step on your chosen career path will be to get a place on a much-coveted design degree course.
A good starting point is to find out about any specific entry requirements. For example, at Griffith College, applicants must submit a general art portfolio for review before their application for our BA (Hons) in Fashion Design or BA (Hons) in Design Communications is considered, while other colleges set specific guidelines or briefs to be fulfilled before applying.
We’ve put together some top tips for creating a great portfolio…
First things first, read the portfolio guidelines and make sure you have a clear understanding of what the college is looking for. Start with the project that says the most about you as a creative individual or that you're most passionate about and go from there. This will get your creative juices flowing and help inspire you with the rest of your portfolio.
Questions To Ask Yourself
Your portfolio not only shows your work but shows your personality and your creative style. Before you even start collating everything you need for it, take some time and answer these questions:
- What inspires me?
- What are my strengths?
- How can I show my passion for and knowledge of Design / Fashion Design?
Have your answers to these questions at the forefront of your mind when developing your portfolio and it'll end up 100 times better!
- Organisation: You should organise your sketchbook by project, so there's a logical order to it and it tells a story. Have a plan for each page to make it as impactful and creative as possible.
- Content: The types of content you can include are: self-initiated work, personal drawings, photographs of your work to show your creative process, drawings (observation and life), colour study, photography, collages, mixed media experimentation, fabric explorations, written notes and presentation sheets. Think of your projects as visual studies that will demonstrate your creative thinking and your skills using the various media listed.
- Layout: Have a consistent layout for your content either landscape or portrait. It keeps the focus on your work and won't give the viewer any unnecessary distractions.
- Creative Process: Show your creative process from development of the concept to the final product - we're just as interested in development sketchbooks as we are in the final piece.
- Edit: The key to any piece of work is the editing process. Make sure to edit your portfolio to only include your absolute best work.
If you need some portfolio inspo, check out the work of end of year creative exhibitions at the college you’re applying to. This will give you an idea of where the course is supposed to take you and also an idea of the type of work students are creating and the types of portfolios they create.
Here are some fashion portfolio examples from our recent fashion graduate, Sarah Murphy's final project lookbook, to give you some inspiration:
What do we want to see?
- Creativity: Seeing unique creative projects where your individuality, interests and character shine through.
- Skill: Showing great drawing or craft techniques using materials that have been rediscovered or repurposed.
- Care And Attention To Detail: Seeing creativity presented with a love of art and design.
- The Creative Process: Include notebooks and sketchbooks that show your inventiveness through the exploration, experimentation and development of an idea.
Does my portfolio show...
Yay! You've finished your portfolio! Take a break from looking at it and then see if it crosses off these points...
- How I independently generate and develop ideas
- My range of drawing and craft skills
- Examples of experimenting with ideas and materials
- My final pieces displayed to their best advantage
If the answer is yes, then you're good to go!
Inspiration for Developing Your Portfolio
Research is the most important element in a portfolio so put aside time on a regular basis to read, look at magazines, and visit art galleries and craft blogs.
Take inspiration from the world around you, regularly updating your sketchbook with drawings, photos and clippings from magazines of art and design that have inspired you. This will help towards developing material for your portfolio. Learn new skills and experiments with them; be adventurous. Try to be as unique as possible and avoid using images of clothing created by other designers.