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fashion design women pleated floral dresses

Illustration From The Design Portfolio Of Camille Wilkinson

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Tips Before You Hire – Hiring a fashion designer can be a full time job. So to make your life a tad bit easier we came up with a list of must do’s before you hire for your next big project.

10 THINGS TO LOOK FOR WHEN HIRING A FASHION DESIGNER

BY CAMILLE WILKINSON (C)

Creative Director, Designer, Consultant
View Designer Profile

POINT 1. From the first online (or offline) portfolio to the last portfolio you sift through, ask yourself: Which one blew you out of your socks?

POINT 2. Those portfolios that knock your socks off are where to start your follow-up.

POINT 3. What made them catch your eye, hold your breath, and call in the rest of your team to see what you see. If you know what you need, seeing what fits the bill should be easy. The plus of looking, is if you find something more, something je ne sais pas (I don’t know what), but when you see it – wow – you know it.

It might be good to know what kind of environment they best design in… It is not just a passing curiosity to know how a designer thrives best. And aside from the physical environment, what is the computer environment or OS (operating system) – along with the programs – that made their work pop. Genius may also have its source in the tools used.

POINT 4. A good design portfolio contains – like manners – a designer’s best foot forward, their best work, their best representation of all of what they can do as a designer. And like manners, it’s not a façade, it’s not a put-on, it’s in fact the super powers that they have cultivated throughout their career to the point where they are now: Now, ‘You Are Here’. So no worries, they should be able to back up what ever they have presented. That is to say, they should be able to apply all their talents and skills to whatever you may challenge them with.

POINT 5. Check and balance your initial awe of pretty pictures with sound design process practicalities. If you don’t see it in the portfolio, and you still want to investigate what the designer is capable of, let this be one question in your first line of defense upon interviewing:

QUESTION #1. Are you capable of detailing your designs in a tech pack?
You should also ask:
QUESTION #2. Are you capable of leading fit meetings for your designs?
And since you are on this track, ask this:
QUESTION #3. Are you knowledgeable of fabric types, constructions, knitting qualities, and gauges?

Yes, you need to get technical with a prospective designer, to know the perimeters of their skills. Even if you have departments who this work is delegated to, a designer must know how to communicate with them to get their designs to the next stage.

POINT 6. A designer’s portfolio should indicate their organization of ideas. All portfolios should feel like mini client presentations. Does each pretty image, also inform as being an element of the process of design, or is it random, and without thread. As long as the majority of examples of their designs are supported with aspects of the design process, then the occasional stand-alone idea is acceptable.

POINT 7. A fashion designer’s portfolio should effectively show their diversity within a market or markets they are experienced in; diversity by way of brand levels and price points. Customary reason suggests keeping to one market niche, per portfolio if a designer has market share (pun intended) in several.

Simply put, a fashion designer shouldn’t mix menswear with children’s wear, and the like. It should be kept as separate, concentrated and concise categories. This is so to keep the fatigue factor low in viewing and remembering what was seen. Neat bites, Easy digestion, Pleasurable meal.

POINT 8. A fashion design portfolio should include fabric swatches or facsimiles to bolster the design ideas and make the designs as tangible as possible. Actually, anything that supports the intrinsic understanding of a designer’s design serves the idea best.

POINT 9. A design portfolio should indicate the designer’s knowledge of how the designs are constructed. Note to self; see above point 5.

POINT 10. A fashion designer may be excellent at illustration, but a good illustration is not designing. The ‘je ne sais pas’ factor aside, it is important that they know what is intended in their own work, and be able to convey and express it clearly, to all others that will promote its production. The idea is to get it out of the portfolio, off the drawing board and on its merry way to the customer. It’s all win-win when you and the designer are on the same page.

HAPPY HUNTING.

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