What you don’t need to include in your fashion portfolio…

Just a quick note for those of you applying for a fashion degree and putting together your portfolio.

There is one thing you don’t need to do…!

Don’t stress about drawing, making or putting together a fashion collection. You will be learning about designing and creating collections on your fashion degree. Concentrate on exploring your creativity and showing your skills and ability to come up with fresh ideas.

Good luck with putting your portfolio together and let me know how it all goes.

All the best



Have you started your fashion mood or inspiration board?

If your ultimate goal is to get into fashion design but you don’t know where to start, then you’re going to want to start creating an inspiration board (or moodboard as they are more commonly known as!).

When fashion designers start designing their next collection they all start in different ways BUT one thing that is universal is getting inspired at the start of the process. This can happen in many different ways and often from this inspiration they put together a moodboard which can be a collage of images and fabric swatches that have sparked some ideas.

Your board is a collection of things that are inspiring to you at that moment in time but as you design more collections you may find reoccurring themes and images. Your mood board could include a photograph, an image of a piece of art, a scrap of fabric etc… This board is for you and is supposed to inspire you and your designs, so there are no right or wrongs!

Sometimes your inspirational spark could come from one image and other times you might need to do a lot of research, collate a lot of things together and then sift through to create something cohesive.

Some images of Galiano’s inspiration in my John Galiano book by Colin McDowel
Nick Waplington photograph of a fabric board in the McQueen studio

Designer John Galliano and his team spent a lot of time researching at the start, before any designing took place. They then created research books, a visual storyboard that sparked the imagination of John.

Colin McDowell (in the book John Galliano) gives great insight into the way that John Galliano approaches his work. Every collection of his had a story. Galliano and his team spent a lot of time researching at the start, before any designing took place. They would visit many locations, absorb the culture, sub-cultures and see exhibitions. They then created research books, a visual storyboard. Things would start to connect and start sparking the imagination of Galliano.

Sarah Burton compiled the boards for Alexander McQueen which included a mix of past and current inspirations. The image to the right is from the new exhibition space Alexander McQueen which is dedicated to the archives of its different collections over the years.

I personally like to start collating stuff physically’ vs virtually!

If I find something that inspires or interests me online I will print it out.

There are places online like Milanote or Sampleboard that you can create mood boards.

I’m sure you know of Pinterest where you can collect together inspirational images.

Getting your inspiration or mood board started will get you on the right track for getting your portfolio in progress.

A Fashion Designers POV

Every designer is influenced and inspired by many different things.

Kerry finding inspiration

How a designer puts together their current inspirations with their life experiences, long time inspirations and beliefs into a fashion collection gives it their unique perspective.

These are some example of some strong recognizable design voices:

  • Sicilian Italian duo Dolce and Gabanna
  • Italian luxury brand Versace
  • Stella McCartney and her views on sustainability (75 percent of materials being eco-friendly in her 2020 collection)
  • Issey Miyake whose technology-driven and trade mark pleating
  • Mary Katrantzou well known for her signature digital prints

It can take a while to find your design voice, your language. It may come out in the cut of the garment, the placement of certain seams, a signature colour choice or a reference you often return to.

If you are working on your pre-degree portfolio, there is no need to worry about having found your ‘signature style’ as yet. If you are on your fashion degree, now is the time to really explore what makes you tick as a designer. There may be projects you hate, uninspiring briefs and tutors that don’t see the value in a design but this is all a chance for you to reflect and see what really does make you tick, what lights the fashion design fire in you and how you can turn that into a fashion collection.

Changing Direction

A Balmy End in San Francisco!

What’s with the radio silence?

Well, Ive been on a bit of a life rollercoaster. More twists and turns than downs! I got married, moved to New York/New Jersey from England and then a year later my husband and I moved across the USA to the Bay area in California!

I decided to take a break from my women’s fashion business when I left the UK. Now living in California I’ve been taking a new direction. It’s a bit of a career pivot for me. I’m helping other people who want to go into fashion design with their portfolios.

So with that in mind, I will be back on this blog but heading in a bit of a different direction!

My business website www.kerryobrine.co.uk is still online but is acting a bit more like a portfolio for me at the moment. You will also find me on Facebook and Instagram as well – I always appreciate new followers!

What are vertical body proportions?

Let’s talk about body proportion. What is included in the torso and what does it mean to have a long or short torso! When you start questioning what sentences like ‘proportionally longer torso than legs’ it gets you thinking, what does this all really mean?!!

In art the body is usually measured in heads. So you are measuring the body with the size of it’s own head. On average these days the body measures about 8 heads (including the head!).

The torso is the body not including limbs, neck or head. The torso (including the neck) generally measures 3 heads and the legs (including feet) measures 4 heads.

Now, if you think you proportionally have a different body to leg ratio it could be either of these possibilities:

Longer torso and shorter legs – your torso measure longer than 3 heads and your legs measure less than 4 heads.

Shorter torso and longer legs – your torso measures less than 3 heads and your legs measure more than 4 heads.

body-proportions long legs, short torso, short legs, long torso
From Left to Right: Short legs and long torso, standard body ratio of torso to legs, short torso and long legs

See the diagram: The center person is Miss Average with the 3 to 4 head, torso to leg ratio.  On the left is the longer torso and shorter legs and on the right you have the shorter torso and longer legs. All three are the same height and it is just the body ratios that change.

It doesn’t matter whether you are short or tall – you could be any of these three options.

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