Top 3 Fashion Portfolio Books: How to Create Perfect Fashion Portfolio

Top 3 Fashion Portfolio Books. How to create perfect fashion portfolio
Fashion portfolio is like resume. It demonstrates your skills, experience and talent in a visual way. If you are an established professional your work says it all for you, but for a novice in fashion industry creating a great fashion portfolio is crucial for gaining a prominent spot.

I have picked the best 3 books that will inspire and guide you through process of creating excellent fashion portfolio.

I must say that each of these books will give you fundamental information on all aspects of creating successful fashion portfolio from getting an inspiration to choosing a layout and cover for your fashion portfolio. They are the best in the industry.

Topics common for all books

Yes Introduction into industry, fashion markets and fashion cycles.
Yes Fashion over time: fashion history and trends.
Yes Creative research: from finding an inspiration to ways to organise different sources of creative materials and work out the main idea of a collection.
Yes Development and sampling. Methods to work with colour, shape and texture in order to articulate main concept of a collection. 3D, 2D sampling to define the main idea.
Yes Garment design and range planning. Refining silhouette, proportions, colour and texture of garments to crystallize the idea behind a collection.

There are important differences in the details and I am going to highlight them in this post.

How to Create Your Final Collection by Mark Atkinson

How to create your final collection by Mark Atkinson

As it comes from the title, the book focuses on creation and presentation of end-of-year collection. Hence its style is methodical and very clear. It is well balanced with lots of examples and visual material for more exhaustive topic coverage.
The way information structured in the book is much like creative process itself: from broad themes through refining and selection to a final point.
Much the same Mark Atkinson does in his book – from wide and general topics of fashion markets and cycles, trends and fashion periods through the study of creativity he guides the reader to define project steps.

What makes How to Create Your Final Collection by Mark Atkinson different?
• The chapter ‘Styling and presentation’ where author discusses catwalk styling, editorial styling, lookbook presentation.
• Very useful practical advices on how to make most out of your collection and leverage it, Chapter 7 ‘Diffusing your final collection’.
• Practical tips and description of approaches on range planning.
• Case studies.
• CD with even more case studies.

Fashion Portfolio by Anna Kiper

Fashion Portfolio by Anna Kiper

This is a wonderful book and I did a separate in-depth review of it earlier so I’ll keep it short here.
Fashion Portfolio is undoubtedly one of the best books on the topic. It covers all basic subjects one will need to create a collection.
It is very visually centred which is great if you are a visual person. However, it doesn’t mean that it lacks textual information! Blocks of text are highly informative and precise. There are no unnecessary words, all is sharp and clear. Needless to mention beautiful illustrations that adorns almost every page.

What makes Fashion Portfolio by Anna Kiper different?
• The section ‘Storytelling in design’. Concept of a design as a narrative is a quite new approach. Using a case study Anna Kiper explores the topic showing interesting possibilities of storytelling in design.
• The section ‘Design approaches’ displays interesting classification of designers by their signature style like The sculptures, The Sensualists and so on.
• Styling and presentation of fashion portfolio. The chapter outlines different methods and approaches of design presentation: from choosing the right media to page composition and stylisations. Special pages are devoted to photomontage and digital manipulations as well as traditional media.
• The chapter ‘Specialisations’ provides reader with heaps of useful information. It explores particular fashion niches such as Knitwear, Activewear, Lingerie, Evening Wear, Menswear, Children’s wear and Accessories.

Fashion Design Course: principles, practice and techniques by Steven Faerm

Fashion Design by Steven Faerm

This book is an exemplary example of how to squeeze tremendous amount of information into less than 200 pages without compromising on quality. This becomes possible partly due to an elaborate page layout that helps to comprehend great amount of information Steven Faerm puts on each paragraph. On other hand, thoroughly selected illustrations intensify the text and help to make the most out of every single page.
Fashion Design Course is straight to the point and concise, but what makes it unique is its practical approach. Steven Faerm fills the books with assignments, exercises, questions and practical considerations that aim to enhance creativity and aid the development of fashion collection.

What makes Fashion Design Course by Steven Faerm different?
• Assignments. Among exercises and assignments, one may expect to get while studying in college, this chapter provides practical tools for independent research and shows ways for gathering fashion information.
• Chapter ‘The professional world’ which focuses on getting a job within industry. It offers useful tips on resume writing and fashion portfolio presentation along with actual portfolio examples.
• Quite comprehensive glossary on wide range of fabrics, fibres and common fabric-related terms.
• Interview transcripts of industry professionals which give the first-hand information on fashion industry world.

Bottom line
As I have mentioned in the beginning of this post all of three books are great and they will gently guide you through creative process without preaching or directing, they will give all the necessary information you may need to create a great fashion portfolio. These are the best books.
But remember they are general guidance only! Every country and every fashion institution has its own standards. Therefore, before starting the work on your collection don’t forget to make yourself familiar with those.
Good luck on your fashion adventure!




You may also like to read about:
Top 5 Fashion Illustration Books
Fashion Portfolio: Design and Presentation by Anna Kiper
How to Improve Your Fashion Illustrations



Wearable Tech, New Perspectives in Fashion

It is at the borders that some of the most interesting problems reside.
Eric R. Kandel, In Search of Memory*

The presentation of a smart bracelet, MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory) by Opening Ceremony and Intel on New York Fashion Week this year has demonstrated how deep technology is penetrating fashion world.


Wearables are a commonplace now and this event just confirmed our world’s obsession with both tech and fashion.

“It’s as intelligent as it is well-designed” — OC creative director Humberto Leon commented about smart bracelet MICA.

Fashion and biology. New fabrics

Remember that much-talked-of Lady Gaga’s meat dress? As shocking is it is, the idea of using animals for clothing is known for centuries (leather, silk and wool) while being condemned by animal rights groups along the way.

There is a new trend, however, that definitely looks more interesting and more ethical in some respect. The fabric made from bacteria.

Scientists from Biofabricate use bacteria and yeast to grow new fabric-like materials.

Biofabrication comprises highly disruptive technologies enabling design and manufacture to intersect with the building blocks of life.

Here is small video giving the idea of the company’s recent achievements:

A dress from green tea or a top from wine? Donna Franklin and Gary Cass made dresses out of beer and wine bacteria while using colourful fungi as dyers.

No doubt fungi could be very colourful indeed! I myself always fascinated by their colours and textures.

Colourful fungi are used as dye in new type of fabrics

Colourful fungi are used as dye in new type of fabrics

Will we be able to grow a wardrobe for ourselves soon? 3D-growing sounds like a fascinating idea – a unique organic dress grown just for you, no seams, no stitching, natural fabric, compostable.

Fashion and energy. Wearable solar station

Invention of flexible solar cells that could be woven into fabric opens great possibilities in off-grid situations.

Project leader of Wearable Solar Christiaan Holland was driven by his love of music festivals and aspiration to stay connected with his friends during events. At Wearable Solar he and his team put these ideas into life, designing fashionable clothes form solar powered fabrics.

We also see huge possibility for using solar fabrics for tourist wear and gear. Bushwalkers and travellers sometimes have to stay in a wild with no power source; it will be pretty cool to not worry about laptop and camera charge levels. A nice solar powered wind shell or tent will be a perfect solution!

Fashion and medicine. Taking care of your health

This is probably the field where fashion and tech have had the longest and most fruitful relationship over the past few years.

Smart bracelets, wrist bands and watches with biosensors that measure heart beat rate, blood pressure and calorie burn are as usual as ordinary jewellery.

The co-founder of biosensing technology company Valencell believes that ear is the best place to collect vital signs. The LG and Jabra are also following the same route.

Though LG’s Heart Rate Headphones was not released in Australia, Jabra offers a wireless in-ear fitness headphone that gives more accurate than wrist sensors data along with DDP sound.

Tech footwear

The second much developed field of tech and fashion union is footwear.

Here the collaboration mainly moves along two paths.

  • First leads to increasing in comfort and improvements in performance of the footwear. Think of smart technologies and fabrics Nike uses in their sports footwear.

  • Moticon is in this category as well. It is the world’s first fully integrated sensor insole. Wireless technology allows the foot pressure and motion parameters to be monitored easily which has direct benefits in rehabilitation and sports.

  • The second path adds speed to ordinary footwear.
  • It starts with skates, we knew.

    ACTON R RocketSkates™ , a Kickstarter’s project introduces battery-powered skates or the world’s first smart wearable transportation as stated on the web site.

    I see it as sophisticated combination of Heelys or roller skates and Segway.

    The RocketSkates™ use motion sensors and doesn’t require a remote to operate!

    Looking forward the heels-friendly version.

    Time for changes?

    It is obvious, that wearable technology is a hot commodity. Fashion and technology becoming strongly fused with every new development coming out. It is not just about looks anymore, but elegant performance and precise control as well.

    The key element of marrying fashion and science is and will be still to find an optimal balance between fashion itself and technology it incorporates. Make wearable tech fashionable, stylish and desirable.

    Is the time came finally for a new discipline which will integrate fashion and technology?



    *Eric Kandel is a neuroscientist who won Nobel Prize for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in brain cells.

    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.
    Continue reading »

    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




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