David has reviewed and critiqued hundreds of fashion designers’ portfolios throughout his design career. As a design instructor at various fashion institutes, and when teaching “Fashion Portfolio” classes, he has guided students and fashion designers to conceptualize, create, improve and update their portfolios.


Illustrations By Bil Donovan


As an expression of a designer’s creative vision, the portfolio is of unparalleled importance. A portfolio should represent a designer’s style, skills work and experience.  It should communicate his or her aesthetic sensibility and emotional story, doing so in a way that is current and relevant. Ultimately, it should – it must – impress. 


A portfolio is a collection of work that shows:

•    Interest, style and taste of the designer.
•    Research abilities from historic or current fashion to lifestyle trends.
•    Conceptual abilities.
•    Design style and sensibilities, from silhouettes, color, fabric and prints.
•    Knowledge of fashion history and clothing construction.
•    Exploration, experimentation on fabrics and forms.
•    Design and technical skills: illustration, flat sketches, computer skills.


The objectives of the Fashion Portfolio Coaching process are to:

•    Develop a portfolio that is creative, focused, professional and tells a story.
•    Facilitate the “soul searching” process of discovering one’s interests, inspirations, taste and style preferences.
•    Guide historic and creative research from primary, secondary, to pop culture, current fashion and lifestyle trends.
•    Empower and strengthen conceptual abilities.
•    Assist in development and implementation of design concept and inspiration into compelling collections.
•    Facilitate editing of the portfolio’s content and flow.
•    Enhance communication with effective layout and overall portfolio aesthetic and presentation.
•    Refine presentation of customization and digitalization to meet the changing demands of the fashion industry or a competitive career search.