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!

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

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.

Continue reading “5 Best Free Apps to Organize Your Wardrobe”

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 sufficient 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 a 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 the 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

Reason number 1 is the chapter “Selection and use of materials”. This section is a great time-saver as it contains many helpful tips for applying various paints and brushes on  myriad types of paper (I don’t even think that there are so many of them!). Also, it explains in detail  which medium to choose for the 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 the dressed figure. In the same fashion that many authors study the construction of the human body Angel Fernandez and Gabriel Martin Roig examine the anatomy of folds and drapes, as well as the difference between drawing bias and grain cuts. These explanations are priceless!

3. Stylisation

Distinctive style, author’s manner is the main difference between a professional illustrator and an 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 a 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 a comprehensive point by point tutorials, you will not find much about the anatomy or 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  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  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. 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

Best Graphics Tablet for Fashion Illustrations

Today’s post is inspired by my new purchase and it’s not a dress or pair of shoes. It is graphics tablet Wacom Intuos5.

So if creative process is a big part of your life – read on! I will share with you my experience and tell why I think it is great tablet for fashion illustrations as well as drawing or photo processing.
Wacom Intuos5 graphics tablet


The first best thing you would notice is design.

It starts with packaging. The Intuos presented beautifully with all components elegantly arranged into a compact box. There is no messy foam and plastic wraps. First impression is definitely a good one.

Visually, the tablet would satisfy a demand of the most particular connoisseurs. Its minimalistic, slick and lovely design certainly adds inspiration to my creative process.

It comes in black which goes well with almost everything (and reminds me of LBD congeniality). Its matt soft-touch finish adds a certain degree of sophistication and has a very practical function of preventing fingerprints left on the surface.

Ultra-thin ergonomic design allows palms to rest on the top and to draw comfortably for hours. And I know that, because I can hardly keep my creative impulses without spending hours trying them out.

Seamless buttons complement polished look and make the cleaning process swipe of a deal. Rest easy those who resorted to throwing their keyboard into the dishwasher. With Intuos you just need to remember to not put your coffee cup on top.
Wacom, Intuos5, graphic tablet


When you first look at the drawing area you get an impression of a matt glass surface. When you first draw with the pen sensation is close to drawing on a grainy paper. And that feels awesome.

Active drawing zone is highlighted by little glowing corners. I must say it is very handy to have that extra space around the drawing area. I can now feel free with sweeping strokes as there is less risk running pen nib off the edges.

Device comes it 3 sizes and I would say medium (size of a small netbook) is perfect for home use and to carry around as well.

The tablet is very intuitive (as name suggests) and extremely user-friendly. I’m not a tech gal, but software that comes with the tablet made setup fun and easy.
Among the bunch of great features I really like are multi-touch input where you can rotate canvas with your fingers and ExpressKeys that you can set to most used actions (e.g. copy/pasting or switching brushes). The TouchRing is also a very useful thing to have for quick zooming.

After getting a bit used to navigating and drawing with the tablet I tend to use keyboard less and less and that brings the creative process to a totally different level!

The pen itself looks and feels like an ordinary pen. Sometimes I even get it confused with my favourite ballpoint. Amazing sensitivity, it responds to different pressure, tilt and feels very close to drawing on paper! I already mentioned that, I know.

Below is one of my illustrations using Wacom Intuos5.
Fashion girl with perfume bottle. Vector Illustration

I’ve created some vector graphics and even that was more pleasant and easy on a pen tablet. Another reason to leave your mouse alone and do things differently?


Wacom Intuos5 lacks only one feature: it cannot make you draw better. But it certainly gets you to draw more!

Where to get one

If you are trying to find best deal on Wacom Intuos5 have a look on the Amazon offers. Wacom Intuos5 Touch Medium Pen Tablet that can be found there from $339*. Make sure you get “Touch” as there is a model without that functionality. Get a wireless kit for $36 extra as well if prefer to have less cables.

For Australian residents PC Case Gear sells them for $305* or you might give Static Ice search a go to see who else is offering them locally.

If you enjoy a bit of a technical details make sure to browse through official specs.

*information is relevant to a time review was written and might’ve changed.

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