With the wrap up on another year of students finishing up university/college. I've been getting a few emails about what should go into portfolios and what should be left out.
With portfolios it's best to put only your strongest images in, even if that means less. Also I would tailor images to the company you are applying for. So as well as putting previous work in, I would also produce images in your portfolio especially for the company
If the brand you are going for produces lots of colour make sure your portfolio reflects that, the same as if it you're going for a high street brand then make sure you're aware of current trends.
It's far better to go through ten strong images rather than twenty bland ones.
I usually have a hard copy portfolio and a portfolio on my Ipad, (there are many Apps out there which provide a lay out for this). I usually take both with me as I think CAD work looks better on the Ipad and can be zoomed in to look at the detail, but I think a lot of employees like looking at something physical in their hands. So you can pick out, say your best for printing then have the story or the bulk of that design in your Ipad should they wish to look at it.
Also with picking images, pick ones in which you can talk about, you don't just want a finished product in your portfolio you want, you want sketches of ideas, or CAD work behind your product.
In my physical portfolio I have the following:
At the start an overview, so this will be 10-12 of my best images including sketches, a trend board, an inspiration board, CAD drawings of lingerie and if possible on the corresponding page the finished garment so they see what it look likes start to finish, a press piece and a couple of pieces tailored directly to that company.
Then on the following pages everything is date/season ordered and in categories so lingerie/swimwear/kidswear and also extra categories such as Press and also a Technical section. The technical section section would include hand grading, computer grading, tech pack layouts and spec sheets. At the start of my career this would more important than now as having been in the industry so long it's a given that I should know all that stuff, but when I was first starting out I needed to portray that I knew and understand that side of the industry. Now the technical side would include specialised sections such as knowledge in the bigger cup section, and grading of complicated lingerie designs, basically anything that includes specialised knowledge that not everyone would have.
So if i was going for a lingerie job the portfolio would go: Overview, lingerie CAD designs/final product/trends/sketches in date order, Press thenTechnical. Then I would have a couple of other work I'd done outside of lingerie and swimwear and kidwears, because even though I'm not going for a swimwear job I can showcase that I'm versatile in different areas.
There are different ways to do present your portfolio, when I was traveling there was no way I had room to carry around a portfolio and Ipads weren't a thing then, so I had a sketch book. In the back were photos stuck in of my designs and any press I'd had from my first job. Then the front i used for sketching as I went along, I showed this sketchbook and secured my first job in Thailand designing swimwear, and because I'd sketched as I went along, not just do a load for a portfolio, they were all different and showcased different styles of sketching I had. The after I had run Vanjo because they were so many designs over the years I had a hard back book made up from Photobox, and wrote captions about each piece, so if they lingered on one piece in the portfolio I was able to produce this book so they could get a more detailed look.
I think the hardest thing is showing your ability as well as your personality in your portfolio, when going through each page ask yourself does this do my designing any justice or am I just bulking out the portfolio? Remember you're only as strong as your weakest piece.
Also don't be too hard on yourself, if you think your portfolio isn't up to standard, below is a piece in which I use to have in mine, before I could do CAD drawings, all i can see now though are that the text is not straight at all, however there is still something I like about the naivety of this piece.
*A video of all portfolios can be found on my Instagram account in the stories and highlights.