Book review. Fashion Portfolio: Design and Presentation by Anna Kiper

Anna Kiper. Fashion Portfolio: Design and Presentation. Book Front Cover Whether you are a student applying for a fashion course, an aspiring post-graduate hoping to get employment, or an established professional seeking for new carrier opportunities you know that the quality portfolio is essential to work your way up as a fashion designer.
There is a book that will help you with just that: to create an impressive fashion portfolio – Fashion Portfolio: Design & Presentation by Anna Kiper.

About the book

Fashion Portfolio: Design & Presentation is a large format book that takes the reader through the complete process of creating a fashion portfolio from concept to presentation.
The book is written in clear and explicit language lavishly complemented by beautiful photographs and illustrations.

Fashion portfolio book by Anna Kiper, collage

The structure guides the reader through all the major steps of fashion portfolio creation. It delves into the fundamentals of each of subjects and touches almost all aspects of design. This is a kind of book that shows the reader ways to think, how to develop a collection and how to create a portfolio.

Through the pages Anna Kiper helps the reader to build a vision of the design process. She gives the necessary creative framework, highlights hidden reefs and offers valuable advice on how to organize and control creative process, making your efforts effective.
The book explains the process of creating collection in a contextual manner, calling for consistent and logical approach entangled with certain idea, mood and theme.

It gives the reader a glimpse into designer’s mind, demonstrating the way ideas revolve and are coming together into collages, mood boards, sketches, garments and, finally, into a complete collection.

But the greatest thing is that Fashion Portfolio doesn’t set anything as right or wrong, it leaves all doors open for you showing that inspiration could be found in very unusual places. It induces to ideas, not sets the path.

Look inside

The book begins with a brilliantly written chapter of fashion history and focuses on the major facts and silhouettes of the past decades. Just in few words the author outlines predominant fabrics, colours and designers, along with the key figures, iconic illustrators, photographers, and popular movies and TV’s revealing how fashion has been influenced and shaped.

First chapter also covers subject of forecasting fashion trends and touches the intrinsically important for every designer topic of specifying marketing niche and defining a customer.

Later on the book shows main components of the design process from the inspiration sources to conceptualization. All of that is given in-depth treatment with extensive visual references.

My favourite aspect of this book is the idea that “creativity comes in many forms – with no right or wrong”. It is brilliantly illustrated with examples of the many ways inspiration could be found.

Fashion portfolio: design and presentation by Anna Kiper, page 147

The Presentation Techniques part of the book opens with usual for this topic colour introduction and evolves into very useful guide of different methods and approaches of design presentation.

After Anna Kiper’s brilliant bestseller Fashion Illustration: Inspiration and Technique we would not expect less grandeur in this chapter. Though the format of the book specifies the boundaries and limitations this is still a comprehensive guide on range of topics from choosing the right media to page composition and stylisations. Special pages are devoted to photomontage and work with innovative digital technologies.

The final chapter is all about Specialisations in fashion industry. Providing reader with heaps of useful information it deals with particular fashion niches such as Knitwear, Activewear, Lingerie, Evening Wear, Menswear, Children’s wear and Accessories.

Fashion portfolio: design and presentation by Anna Kiper, page 143

The bottom line is that Fashion Portfolio: Design and Presentation by Anna Kiper is worth every page it is printed on. It is exceptional in every way and is sure to serve as a superb reference for both design process and portfolio presentation.

About the author

Anna Kiper is a New York City-based designer, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design who has worked for some of the very well-known companies. She is also the author of fantastic Fashion Illustration: Inspiration and Technique book that I review before.

With wealth of experience and deep understanding of the subject of fashion Anna Kiper arranged information in an easy to comprehend form. By going through the Fashion Portfolio you will see that it is written by person who really knows how creative people think and learn.

At a glance

This book is for: Fashion students, educators, fashion designers and those with interest in fashion.

The best about it: Helps to establish fundamental understanding of the entire design process in very logical and inspirational way.

Wish there were: More pages! This is a kind of book you want to keep reading.

Where to get one:

  • Amazon
  • Pavilion Books
  • or check your local library if you prefer to get a quick read. They might have a copy to borrow. Look inside the book: at Issuu

Who Owns Australian Popular Fashion Brands

Australians love to shop and market responds accordingly bursting with great variety of brands and labels to satisfy every demand.

As I have mentioned before many fashion brands are part of a bigger groups and holdings. With generous investments and high-class management often provided by big companies it is easier for small brands to survive market competition and improve overall performance.

Australia is no exception from this rule. If we have a closer look on fashion market we will notice that numerous brands are operated by a handful of companies. 34 of the most popular Australian fashion brands are owned or controlled by only 8 companies.

The question who owns whom is quite popular and the answer to it costs a lot[1].

Want to know who owns Millers fashion or Autograph brand? Have a look on the table below and you will find that these brands along with city chic, crossroads, Katies and iconic Australian brand Rivers belong to the largest retailer of women’s fashion in Australia – Specialty Fashion Group.

Who Owns Australian Popular Fashion Brands

Other popular fast-fashion clothing retail chain Cotton On operates Cotton On Body, Cotton On Kids, Rubi Shoes, T-bar and Factorie and has Supre brand as its subsidiary.

Such middle market clothing and accessories brands as Mimco, Trenery and Witchery are part of Country Road Group.

Websters holdings are managing classic brands Jigsaw, David Lawrence and Marcs.

Few other interesting facts:

  • Most of large companies in the table above are Australian and privately owned.
  • Myer, Australian department store chain, owns 65% of famous Australian women’s fashion label sass & bide.
  • Dion Lee label is acquired by The Cue Clothing Co., though it remains independent from Cue and Veronika Maine.
  • South African company Woolworths Holdings Limited is the ultimate parent entity of Country Road Group and owns 88% of its shares.

  1. The American Business Information Company Dun and Bradstreet in associations with GAP Books publish annual directories in which provided the relationship between companies worldwide showing who is the ultimate parent company and who are their subsidiaries. Each compendium sells for more than £ 600 pounds and gives excessive information about global market.

5 Best Free Apps to Organize Your Wardrobe

“I have nothing to wear!”
Every woman

While looking for a way to organize and logically structure my own wardrobe I came across different approaches. It was quite a mix from colour priority method where all your items are put in a line of rainbow colours (or Pantone palette) to “grab and go” style where items hanged together formed a ready to wear outfit.

The problem is neither of these methods is optimized for viewing. To put an outfit together you need to pull everything out in order to see what you have, that takes too much time sometimes.

For me organized wardrobe is not only of a tidy appearance, but also allows to create looks easy and fast, to keep track of items I have, and to see if my new purchase will match any of it.

The solution comes from Google play – the wardrobe organizer apps.

I really like the concept of having the entire wardrobe on a palm of my hand. I downloaded and tried most of closet sorting apps. Here is my pick of the best 5.

Android Wardrobe organizer App Stylish GirlStylish Girl

Stylish girl is my # 1 choice of closet organisers.

This app not only brings the entire closet into your smartphone but also helps you to create looks, to find style inspiration, to plan shopping and share it with your friends via social networks!

Fashion App Stylish Girl ScreenshotFashion App Stylish Girl ScreenshotFashion App Stylish Girl Screenshot

The awesome

Extensive tags and filters make it easy to search through categories; well thought-out shopping section lets you set various filters and search fashion deals in particular brands. In “Outfit” section it is easy to check if the new item will fit your style. This feature along can help to keep away from costly mistakes of impulse buying. Well, at least we hope so.

Needs improvement

Limited main categories. There are only 4 of them: tops, bottoms, shoes, accessories. Despite every kind splits into more detailed sections this is not very convenient as your dresses, tops and outerwear turns out to be on the same “shelf”. Can we live with this until it is made better in the new version? Yes.

Android Wardrobe organizer App StyliciousStylicious

“Stylicious is not just an app or a game, we are solving real problems here,” said FABU Inc president Dimitar Pavle Popovski in press-release of Stylicious application.

Fashion App Stylicious ScreenshotFashion App Stylicious ScreenshotFashion App Stylicious Screenshot

The awesome

I couldn’t help noticing that this app is very similar to Stylish girl. Similarly, it has handy filters to sort clothes and accessories and shopping section to find fashion bargains. The so called “Trending” block keeps the user abreast of the global fashion and gives infinite source of shopping ideas while built-in calendar helps to track their own “style history”.

Needs improvement

In most of the aspects the app is great, but has the same problem as most of its competitors – limited categories.

Android Wardrobe organizer App MixMeMixMe

MixMe is more a virtual fitting room than the closet organizer. Still, a great concept!

Fashion App MixMe ScreenshotFashion App MixMe ScreenshotFashion App MixMe Screenshot

The awesome

The most exciting thing about MixMe is that once you have created your clothes database you can mix and match clothes without actually trying them on. It is so much easier than doing the same in front of the mirror! You can also use items from the shopping section and see how they fit your style. Just swipe through all the photos when you need to quickly create an outfit!

Needs improvement

For whatever reason the app elongates photos, making the subject on them looks more slender, just like the “magic” mirrors in some fitting rooms that reflects you 2 sizes smaller. Handy for some figures? May be.

App has only 3 sliders – head, upper body and lower body which is really no that useful as there is no way to snap shoes and jewellery independently from clothes. Also, I would want to search through your wardrobe and save looks. Let’s hope developers will make all necessary improvements and we will have absolutely gorgeous app!

Android Wardrobe organizer App GleamGleam

Gleam puts “inspiration, utility and functionality together in an empathic, compelling experience”.

Fashion App GleamFashion App Gleam ScreenshotFashion App Gleam Screenshot

The awesome

Very nice-looking and inspiring application. It allows you to create, organize and shop your digital dream wardrobe.

Being geared toward shopping Gleam is nicely structured and has sufficient filters to make shopping easier. You can search, like and add items into the ideal closet as well as shop them and share with friends.

The most useful feature for me turns out to be an automatic filtering system of likes and clothes choices. It comes useful to self-assess your style preferences from a different perspective.

Needs improvement

The only missing feature of Gleam I could think of is inability to add your own clothes directly from the phone. From all the other angles the app is brilliant.

Android Wardrobe organizer App DressappDressapp

Dressapp is another closet management application that does all what good closet organizer should do.

Fashion App DressappWardrobe organizer Dressaspp screenshotWardrobe organizer Dressaspp Screenshot

The awesome

It categorizes and sorts clothes, helps to coordinate looks, allows to plug outfits into built-in calendar for future use. Like the other apps it displays all your closet items simultaneously, so you can have full view of all your options. Handy note section in every item enables you to store your ideas about certain piece, or just record how well it worked for the occasion.

Needs improvement

In spite of the nice graphic interface I found it takes a bit of time to get used to.

In Dressapp as in most other apps all clothes is divided into 4 types: tops, bottoms, shoes and accessories. Personally, I would also like to see more categories, e.g. dresses, jackets and coats, lingerie and beachwear. Dear Developers, please get women’s advice too when designing an app!

Is there anything for men?

Although all the applications above can be handy for men too, it is always nice to have something designed specifically for you. Moreover not every man will be happy of a girly style app with heels and pink skirt icons. Or so I am told.

Android Wardrobe organizer App Mod ManMod Man

FABU Inc (developer of Stylicious) offers app designed especially for men! Mod Man possesses all the features women’s version of app has but in sleek modern skin.

It features Closet Organizer (to sort your clothes), Lookbook (to create outfits), Shopping section, Style Inspiration, Travel planner and more.

Top 5 Fashion Illustration Books

I know it can be very frustrating to have a fantastic idea and not be able to put it on a paper equally brilliant.
In this post I suggest some good fashion illustration books that will help to put your idea where you thoughts are.

Best books on Fashion Illustration OpenFashionIllustrationBooks

  • Fashion Illustration Techniques: A Super Reference Book for Beginners by Zeshu Takamura
  • ZeshuTakamuraFashionDesignTechniquesBookCover If you need fast results and have no time to comprehend body anatomy in details go for Fashion Illustration Techniques: A Super Reference Book for Beginners by Zeshu Takamura. With a bit of practice you will be able to draw a decent fashion figure in a week.
    In this book Zeshu Takamura introduces original figure drawing technique which is considerably different from the European art traditions. There is no complicated anatomy, just step by step guide: easy to follow and to produce invariably good results.

    Apart from featuring sufficiently great amount of model poses the book also covers almost all subjects an amateur fashion artist or designer will need. It includes textile rendering techniques, chapters of depicting fashion flats (technical drawings) and clothing, explicit “drawing from the photo” tutorials as well as loads of tips and tricks to give a sketch more professional look.

    At a glance
    Body measurement system 8 heads
    Illustrating men No
    Illustrating children No
    Colouring and fabric rendering techniques Yes
    Exploring media Yes
    Drawing fashion flats (technical drawings) Yes
    Figure stylization No
    Drawing from a photograph Yes
    Drawing accessories Yes

  • Drawing for Fashion Designers by Angel Fernandez and Gabriel Martin Roig
  • AngelFernandezDrawingForFashionDesignersBookCover This brilliantly illustrated compendium hits broad range of topics from drawing a croquis to developing a collection. It describes how to gather and organize sources of inspiration, to alter a portfolio and illustrations to industry standards, or to perform market research and meet the expectations of target group and much more. Though some subjects are covered in brief with not many details I still recommend this book for a number of good reasons.

    1. Media

    The reason number 1 is the chapter “Selection and use of materials”. This section is a great time-saver as it contains many helpful tips of applying various paints and brushes on a myriad types of paper (I don’t even think that there are so many of them!). Also it explains clearly which medium to choose for desired result. Whether we’d like to resemble a printed illustration with clean outlines and opaque colours or wish a gentle transparent look for the drawing.

    2. Folds and drapes

    This book is one of the few that pays great attention to depicting dressed figure. In the way many authors study the construction of human body, Angel Fernandez and Gabriel Martin Roig, on other hand, examine the anatomy of folds and drapes, as well as difference between drawing bias and grain cut. These explanations are priceless!

    3. Stylization

    Distinctive style, author’s manner is the main difference between professional illustrator and inexperienced one. However, not many books include a guide on how to develop it. Drawing for Fashion Designers reveals main principles that can help to develop unique style and express the design idea in full.

    At a glance
    Body measurement system 8, 9, 10 heads
    Illustrating men No
    Illustrating children No
    Colouring and fabric rendering techniques Yes
    Exploring media Yes
    Drawing fashion flats (technical drawings) Yes
    Figure stylization Yes
    Drawing from a photograph No
    Drawing accessories Yes

  • Fashion illustration. Inspiration and Technique by Anna Kiper
  • I absolutely love this book!
    AnnaKiperFashionIllustrationBookCover This book is brilliant. It does not have comprehensive point by point tutorials, you will not find much about the anatomy or about the use of painting materials, but it is good!

    Filled with colourful and vivid drawings the book unfolds the subject of fashion illustration in exiting and artsy way.

    I recommend it for everyone who enjoys drawing fashion illustrations. You will have fun, and even more if you have prior experience in drawing.

    So if you are after brushing up the drawing skills – Anna Kiper’s Fashion Illustration: Inspiration and Technique is definitely worth to read.

    If I may draw a parallel between fashion illustration and cook books I’d say that while Zeshu Takamura’s Fashion design Techniques is like step by step recipe book, Anna Kiper’s Fashion Illustration is more like compendium of colourful food photography and decorating table ideas. Being very laconic it features abundance of stunning illustrations, so it really doesn’t matter that there are so little words, it leaves more space for designs.

    This is surely a kind of book you would want to go through few times scrutinizing details and apprehending the way drawings were made.

    At a glance
    Body measurement system 10 heads
    Illustrating men Yes
    Illustrating children Yes
    Colouring and fabric rendering techniques Yes
    Exploring media Yes
    Drawing fashion flats (technical drawings) Yes
    Figure stylization Yes
    Drawing from a photograph No
    Drawing accessories Yes

  • Fashion Illustration School. A Complete Handbook for Aspiring Designers and Illustrators by Carol A. Nunnelly
  • CarolNunnellyFashionIllustrationSchoolBookCover The book focuses on the traditional drawing topics from the figure basics to drawing flats.

    Carol A. Nunnelly deploys a great variety of poses and positioning within her book. She also introduces the body mapping concept of drawing garments on figure which I found extremely helpful.
    However, the book could be much better if the chapter of texture rendering were a bit more carefully arranged. Now it looks oversimplified.

    At a glance
    Body measurement system 9 heads
    Illustrating men Yes
    Illustrating children No
    Colouring and fabric rendering techniques Yes
    Exploring media Yes
    Drawing fashion flats (technical drawings) Yes
    Figure stylization Yes
    Drawing from a photograph No
    Drawing accessories Yes

  • Figure Drawing for Fashion Design by Elisabetta Drudi and Tisiana Paci
  • ElizabettaDrudiFigureDrawingBookCover If Fashion Design Techniques by Zeshu Takamura is a step by step recipe book, Anna Kiper’s Fashion illustration. Inspiration and Technique is an inspiration book, Figure Drawing for Fashion Design is definitely a reference book.

    It can be very helpful both for novice and seasoned illustrators, and all of those in between.

    This comprehensive course on drawing fashion figures lays good foundation to work with and provides the most sufficient way to draw a large variety of fashion elements: from any part of the human’s body to clothing and accessories. It is really helpful as reference while depicting various poses and body movements.

    Though teaching the basics is accompanied with extensive detailing which may seems to be superfluous for ordinary fashion sketch, I’m sure extra knowledge won’t hurt. At least you would know where to find it where you need it later on.

    I have the first edition of the book dated 2001. Some reviews complain it was systematized and lacks clearness jumping from one subject to another. Apparently, this was one of the reasons for the second version to see shop shelves in 2010. Now it is believed to be greatly expanded and updated. Also it seems to be more structured and logical then first one. I think there is nothing wrong with older version if that’s what you can get.

    At a glance
    Body measurement system 8, 9, 10 heads
    Illustrating men No
    Illustrating children No
    Colouring and fabric rendering techniques No
    Exploring media No
    Drawing fashion flats (technical drawings) Yes
    Figure stylization Yes
    Drawing from a photograph No
    Drawing accessories Yes

    At the end I’d also like to mention Figure Poses for Fashion Illustrators. 250 Templates for Professional Results by Sha Tahmasebi.

    The title reflects it all. There are 250 royalty free templates featuring different poses in the book as well as some basic information on the subject of drawing. All poses are duplicated on CD as .tif and .jpeg images.

    Free Fashion Figure Templates from Purfe

    While reading these books and trying different techniques I made some croquis of 9 head models.

    They are free to download and can be used for individual purposes or as reference to your own illustrations (Attribution-NonCommercial License). Looking forward to see your designs!

    Download Fashion Figure Template Download Fashion Figure Template Download Fashion Figure Template
    Front pose Hand on hip pose Diagonal pose

    Connecting Dots. The Importance of Intermediary in an Outfit

    One of the most frequent problems in creating contrast in an outfit is putting together garments with no obvious connections. Items with opposite characteristics placed next to each other often produce excessive contrast which can not only be bold and unflattering but also disintegrate the outfit’s composition. For example, neon-green chiffon skirt and lemon yellow bulky jumper quite seldom will be a part of a balanced look on their own.

    When an outfit consists of unrelated and disjoint colours, textures or patterns, to unify them it’s essential to make a “bridge”, create an intermediary. Its purpose is to strengthen the connection between garments and create complete story. It’s predictable that to be effective this “bridge” item requires similarity with the elements which are meant to be linked.

    Where to use?

    Areas of intermediary’s use are usually identical with fields of contrast. Thus, if we use two unrelated colours to create a contrast it will be logical to balance it out by another element of colour. The same is true to patterns or textures. Let’s go into details for each of them.


    Colour is the most usual area for applying an intermediary.

  • Colour temperature. It is popular opinion mentioned on many style blogs that warm and cold hues should not be used together. While I agree this is good general rule to avoid imbalance, the dots can still be connected.

    The harmony of two different colour temperatures could be created with an intermediate that will tie the opposites.

    A brief example can be seen in the sketch below. The top and the skirt are from different colour families – cold and warm. Together they look discordant and even conflicting. It is obvious that a link is needed. By bringing in shoes that support the pattern of the top and skirt’s hue the puzzle is solved and outfit regains its lost harmony.

    Dress shirt in cold hues paired with warm red skirt.

    Shoes as an intermediary for blouse and skirt

  • Hue. In the case of hue the contrast is usually created by complementary colours. They are opposite on the colour wheel, therefore have nothing in common. Placed next to each other they produce maximum vibrancy and contrast.
    colour wheel showing complementary colours

    Adding the intermediary softens the contrast and creates a perceptual bridge between two colours. For example red and green could be linked by brown-red or brown-green as they are the exactly colours that will come out if red and green are mixed.

    Complementary red and green linked by brown-green

    Red skirt and green blouse could be linked by brown-green clutch

  • Colour brightness. Too much difference in brightness can cause undesirable dramatic contrast. Employing in-between shades can help soften the look.

    In the picture below the top and the skirt on the left create sharp dramatic contrast which overbalances girl’s gentle complexion. Following the same trail that helped us to unite hues before, we rely on the intermediary item. Here we introduce a jacket which adds third tonal characteristic and brings the look closer to perfection.

    Jacket in in-between shades acts as intermediary for contrasting top and skirt

    Sharp contrast of top and skirt is softened with in-between-tone jacket


    This is the second area where the intermediary could be used.

    Selecting in-between patterns requires a bit more sartorial funds as patterns consist of many different elements meant to be coordinated. In one of my previous posts I have explained the levels of pattern mixing. Therefore, I will only touch on the topic of setting an intermediate.

    To improve the look’s aesthetic “bridge” patterns should resemble those already in use. Similarity could be either in style of lines, chromatic characteristics, or other levels of pattern coherence.

    For example, if we combine geometric print with intricate abstract design linking pattern might remotely resemble both of them.

    Jacket as a "bridge" for differently patterned garments

    Striped dress shirt and floral skirt share nothing in colour scheme; their style of lines is also different. As intermediary, the plaid jacket incorporates skirt’s rich red-brown colour and shirt’s geometry


    As I have mentioned before there are no common rules for texture mixing. However, the transition textures are expected to have similar attributes to those already in use.

    Shape and volume

    Shapes and volumes seldom require an intermediary. This means, as long as common sense is taking into account, it is difficult to make mistakes in this area.

    Final touch

    As you have already noticed the process of “linking” parts of an outfit is not a subject for sweeping generalizations. It is not easy to set strict rules and provide common instructions to follow. All I can do is to outline the problem and set trend of thoughts. The rest is entirely up to you.

    I’m sure, if a person knows about relations between elements described in this article they will tend to pay a little more attention to the sophisticated ritual of dressing. That will certainly produce noticeable and pleasant changes.

    See also:
    Cherry on the top or contrast principle
    The Timeless Principles of Pattern Mixing
    Basic Principles of an Outfit Layout: Focal Point

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