My beloved aspiring designers,
Almost every day I receive emails asking me the same question:
I give you the email of the right person. You email him your sketches. This famous designer for a big fashion brand appreciates your designs. They buy your drawings and produce the clothes so that you see it in stores and on the runway! Voilà! A dream come true!
Well my dear…. this is simply not how the fashion industry operates. As much as I hate to bring discouraging information it’s really important that you know the truth so that you can take the proper actions. So the rough answer to your question is:
You are an unknown designer with no experience and no fashion education. You send them pictures of your fashion sketches made with a cell phone. Dark and blurry the pictures rotated so that the viewer needs to turn their head 90 degrees to see it right. The designs you present have nothing to do with the upcoming trends and colors because you haven’t researched the forecast. You don’t know their customer so you present them nothing they can sell into their stores.
It hurts! It makes you angry! I know… I don’t want to be bad and rude. My goal is to make you see the reality and help you turn it around.
Let’s step back and see the reasons why they don’t care and how to get their attention:
1. WHO ARE YOU?
You can not expect a million dollars company to buy fashion sketches sent by email from unknown student designer with little to no experience in the industry. Serious business works with professionals.
WHAT TO DO?
Invest in yourself. Get a fashion design diploma. If you can’t afford a university take a course in fashion design. There are also so many resources online – videos, articles, classes. I Draw Fashion is also about to open an online Academy real soon ;)
Read fashion designing books. Apply for an unpaid internship with a local designer! Find someone who knows how to sew and ask them to teach you.
2. YOU DON’T TAKE YOURSELF SERIOUSLY
Sending samples of your work that are dark, blurry or rotated the wrong direction shows that you are not focused and serious in what you do. If you don’t take yourself seriously why would anyone else do? In order to sell any product it needs to look like it’s worth it.
WHAT TO DO?
10 steps on how to create a fashion portfolio will give you an idea how to present your work in a more professional manner. Cell phone pictures are not the way!
Scan your fashion sketches and build a portfolio that shows the diversity of your talent. Show that you know how to create not only illustrations but also design flats. Show clothes that you’ve created in real live. Demonstrate textile experiments and techniques that you’ve invented. Let them see the research you’ve done and your inspiration.
Bonus idea: work on your online portfolio. Nowadays you don’t have to create a hand crafted book to serve you as a portfolio. A professional looking Facebook page or Instagram profile can do the job. ( this means strictly fashion – no snapchat selfies there)
3. YOU DESIGN WHAT YOU LIKE
Yes, this is actually a problem. The fashion industry doesn’t care about your creative and original ideas. They don’t care about the pretty dress you drew. The industry cares about profit. And if their collection is not trendy they will have less sales. They want design ideas that are in line with the fashion forecast.
What is the fashion forecast? Someone sets number of themes for the fashion designers to be inspired of for the next season. Someone else sets certain colors too ( Pantone Fashion colors report ). Designers and brands create in their unique style but within this frame. This is how the different brands manage to supply the modern silhouette and colors in their stores.
WHAT TO DO?
Fashion Forecast reports are generally very expensive but you can still get most of the information for free if you do your research. So research the fashion forecast for next season. Explore what will be the modern cuts and shapes next summer. Learn which are the colors in stores next year.
Research is what sets designing apart from hobby drawing.
4. DESIGN FOR THEM!
Every brand has their ideal customer. The ideal customer is an imaginary customer that has certain age, profession and lifestyle.
Melinda is 16-21 years old. She lives in California and loves to spend on luxurious trendy items. She loves to be the center of attention in every party she visits. Girly colors, sparkle and lux is what she’s looking for. She loves fashionable clothes for her and her god.
Clara is 28-38 years old. Her job at a layer office demands clothes that are corporative, serious and elegant. She likes to shop smart and cares for the price-quality ratio. She prefers colors that are neutral and easy to mix and match. Textiles that are easy to maintain in her busy day.
WHAT TO DO?
Respect the fashion label – what are their signature details? A successful designer can design classic stylish outfits for Chanel and then design crazy artistic clothes for a brand like Vivien Westwood. Find who is your ideal customer! Then find a company that has the same aesthetics.
If you send a portfolio to NIKE full with night gowns don’t expect them to call you even if you’re created the most genius gowns ever.
To wrap it up:
Based on your portfolio they could hire you to design for them though. The catch here is that you will need to design new designs based on the fashion forecast that were made especially for the brand’s ideal customer.
Make sure you have a strong background. Also that you present your work professionally and seriously. Always create designs that match the fashion forecast ( textile, colors, cuts, inspiration). And finally show your work to someone who needs it and will appreciate it!
I care for you and I want you to succeed!