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From the runway

Fashion student shares how to design portfolios for studying abroad

Few people know that, one of the things to consider for fashion students is to control the number of works and choose the most suitable products to put in the portfolio.

03/11/2021

 Portfolio is indispensable when students want to apply for fashion schools, especially when studying abroad. If you are curious about the specific process of making a fashion portfolio, let’s hear from TL – a student who has successfully applied for a transfer to London College of Fashion (under UAL – University of the Arts London)

Choosing schools and majors before studying abroad

I have planned to study abroad since my freshman year of university in Vietnam. The process of researching universities in the UK was probably the most time consuming. Choosing the right major is the first step. After that, I researched the universities that have the majors I like, requirements about degree, portfolio, self-introduction essay, IELTS score and tuition fees of each school.

It took me my first year to think about which major I would study further. After a long process of consulting with teachers and alumni, I decided to choose the Fashion Marketing major at London College of Fashion in the UK.

The reason is because I want to understand more deeply about the process from conceptualizing a product, to designing it and finally delivering it to customers. I personally feel that the knowledge that I have gained about fashion design at London Academy of Design and Fashion Hanoi has been extremely solid and now I want to explore new aspects of the fashion industry. 

Next step, I will need to produce a portfolio to show my work to the school admissions, so that they can evaluate my skills, creativity and talent before the interview. The portfolio is important to the final admissions decision, so so it took a lot of effort to prepare my portfolio to study abroad.

A lab at London College of Fashion.

Creating the portfolio 

To create a portfolio is a long process. You must spend at least 1 month to collect all your completed works and edit them in the most logical and creative way. There is no universal standard for a portfolio. It is a book that summarizes your body of works, the school you are applying for can understand what skills you have and how creative you are.

A design in T.L.’s portfolio

You will be required to present your portfolio in English as part of the application process. To make sure that your grammar and spelling is spot on, you should have a professional check for spelling errors. Since I had to prepare my portfolio in parallel with taking classes at my undergraduate school, the schedule was extremely tight. To ensure the best quality for both the portfolio and the work at school, I always  made specific deadlines to reach for each week so that I can keep track of the process in details.

The next difficult thing for me was restraint and control. What I mean is to limit the number of designs and control what needs to be included in the portfolio. Sometimes we are too greedy and want to share ALL the stories behind our work. Meanwhile, the admissions committee has to read through thousands of applications each year. So I need to be as precise as possible, so that the portfolio can reflect who I am, what I can do, and how I stand out from other candidates.

A project that I was the creative director and stylist on the set.

While designing the portfolio, I had to followed very closely the requirements and limits as suggested by each school. For example, the Fashion Marketing department of London College of Fashion (LCF) requires students to demonstrate skills in fashion, business, customer relationship, and a passion for fashion marketing.

Each school has different portfolio requirements, but generally a portfolio should have a maximum of 30 pages and include at least 3 works. Therefore, you need to pay attention to the appropriate number of pages for each work. I used lots of pictures instead of texts, underlining keywords and using mind maps to illustrate the projects. 

A mind-map I included in the portfolio.

After completing the portfolio, my current teachers also gave me feedback and edits. My counselors helped me with paperworks and documents needed for the application. Everyone has done their best to help me, so I carefully read all the information and requirements before pressing the submit button.

In the end, careful preparation helped me get accepted into the dream school London College of Fashion UK and now I’m only waiting for a visa to go. Hope my story can help you feel more confident when making a fashion portfolio to study abroad!

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