Presenting your work

Fashion designers are in the business of visual communication, and effective presentation of work is all important. Your brain may be teeming with innovative ideas and you may produce the most original designs, but none of this will matter if you are unable to communicate your vision. In the fashion business, first impressions really do count. When you show your work, you need to ensure that your presentation looks as professional as possible—organized, well mounted, and clean, as well as accurate, clear, and creatively appropriate.

Your illustrations can be mounted on foam boards or on card (the boards are sturdier but can be bulky to transport), both of which can be bought from art supply stores. Boards are available in various sizes and your choice will be influenced by factors such as personal preference, your audience (if you are presenting to a large group the board must be big enough for them to see), the trend of the moment (which could equally be for very large boards or pocket-sized presentations), or the size of your illustrations or portfolio. With experience you will find the size that suits you best, but start by using a 20- x 30-in. board, and be prepared to try out different options. Avoid using a combination of different sizes, which can make your portfolio seem messy.

It is worth emphasizing that the work you present should be clean. Carrying a portfolio around, it's easy to get finger marks on the boards and for card edges to become tattered. Make sure that your presentation is always fresh. Even recycled ideas can have a market if they look as if they have just been produced.

A sturdy portfolio is essential. A selection in different sizes can be useful; you can store work in some and keep others for showing presentations. Make sure that your portfolios are relatively easy to carry, even when laden with work. For protective storage, plastic envelopes are invaluable. If used in presentation, plastic will reduce the picture's color slightly and give it a glossy sheen. Sometimes this can enhance the illustration, but if your artwork looks better matte, don't present it this way.

You will also need to choose carefully your style of illustration as well as your approach to the presentation as a whole, to ensure that

▼ Transporting projects

A sturdy portfolio is the safest and most efficient means of transporting work. Build up a collection of different sizes to house all your illustrations.

▲ Displaying work

Mount work on board or card, or use a plastic folder.

Factors such as the size of your Illustrations and portfolio will influence your choice of size and color.

Fashion Portfolio Ideas

work is shown off to best effect. If your designs are very delicate you might want to use an ephemeral style of drawing to capture them on paper, perhaps accompanied by flat working drawings. The delicate feel of your designs would then also influence aspects such as the use of color, the choice of fabrics, the style of photography, the poses of the figures, and the arrangement of all these components on the board. In this way, all the elements of a presentation will be working together to promote your ideas.

Beware of trying too hard with finished sheets. You can always use a color photocopier to tidy up an exciting but possibly scruffy example of work from your sketchbook, which was produced in a flurry of creativity. Sketchbooks offer a good glimpse into the soul of your work. You may not always want to reveal this to a client, but sometimes It may help to convince them of the creative journey that has produced the finished ideas.

Ideas in sketchbooks often have a liveliness that can be lost In finalized work. If presenting your sketchbooks, make sure that there are no sharp objects (such as staples) to take the viewer by surprise.

A Simplicity

You don't have to Include fabric swatches or working drawings on your board— sometimes It's best just to let the Illustration speak for Itself.

Working drawings allow a more artistic depiction of the garments, while a colored background can be effective (this one sets off the rich, sober design palette of the garments). Be careful, however, that the color does not overwhelm the Illustrations.

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Practicalities of presentation

Embellishing work with unnecessary extras can show a lack of confidence in the main concept, so whether you feel your designs call for an understated presentation or for a more elaborate themed approach, you must be sure that you don't include anything that does not contribute to the impact of the designs. You want someone seeing your illustrations for the first time to be struck by the quality of your design statement—not by the decoration surrounding it. A simple presentation has more chance of being successful, and will not offend anyone's tastes, although a more creative presentation style can create a strong impact (see Unit 24, pages 134-137). Decoration such as edgings must never overwhelm the illustrations, and colored backgrounds should be used only if they complement the design palette. Include items such as working drawings and swatches if they add to the clarity of the presentation, and remember that your work should appear clean and tidy.

Do not use spray mount to stick your images to the board, as this can cause respiratory damage. Dry-mounting images is a safer technique that involves placing a sheet of adhesive backing onto an illustration and then heating in order to adhere the image to the board. However, this is a laborious process and it is simpler and quicker to use an adhesive stick or double-sided mounts.

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