The Fashion Designer’s Portfolio

My latest article for Fashion United talks about that book of dreams all fashion students agonize over. After 15+ years and counting, mine can still pose me some challenges in this ever-changing industry…The all-important fashion portfolio…

I begin most of my Final Portfolio classes by telling the students a personal story. When I graduated from Saint Martins I sent a small handmade book, sewn together, containing six pages of my portfolio for the attention of Mr Dries Van Noten at his studio in Antwerp. In the weeks that followed I tried not to sit in my East London student flat and fret about why I hadn’t heard back from him. Eventually I scraped a fare to Italy, got a job with Moschino and my career began. Six months later, a letter with a Belgian postmark was forwarded to my Milan address. Dries Van Noten wanted to meet with me. I telephoned, a flight was arranged, and I was promptly on it with my portfolio stowed safely in the overhead bin. I had grown in confidence since college; I was legit now with a proper job, being paid for my design work, and Dries Van Noten had offered to fly me over for a meeting…

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  1. 🙂 Shows that you have done the right thing – your portfolio got you an interview, even if the outcome was maybe not what you had expected. But to get a chance – that’s what counts and that’s what sets you apart.
    Great job! 🙂 xo

  2. I remember that story and, even if you didn’t get the job, it gave me an even greater appreciation for Dries Van Noten.

  3. Jackie, I remember you mentioning this story – and I love how you developed it into a teaching moment. When I read it, again, I wanted to yell “she’s still there that creative creature — it’s in her heart, she is not so polished as you think.” Still it was a wonder experience, bittersweet, but a growth moment and your sharing makes it all the better. XO

    • It does seem to strike the students when I tell that story. They enjoy it. I hope the moral of the story is still valid in this corporate CAD-centric industry that they are launching themselves into today.

  4. Beautiful Jackie M,

    Just adore you, friend. And the way you write and teach and do the beautiful things you do.

    Thank you for sharing this – and so very much of you. XOXO

  5. Thank you, Allison, as always. We can only do us, right? For better or worse. Let’s hope it’s better. Hope your week is going beautifully. xo

  6. A strong portfolio is a key step to employment as a Fashion Designer. It is important to make your portfolio professional and concise but also of a high enough standard to give you the advantage in interviews.

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