Creating a garment flat in Adobe Illustrator is the most foundational skill a fashion designer needs to know. A garment flat is a basic digital sketch that displays a garment as if it were laid "flat". It's used to communicate your design idea technically - whether that's to a pattern-maker, technical designer, merchandiser, or manufacturer. Garment flats are also a must-have in any tech pack or fashion design portfolio.


We toyed with it on Vogue.co.uk during my decade as editor of the site from 2005 to 2015, with a shoppable version of the Fashion Illustrated Gallery (founded by William Ling; stocking the work of all the prominent modern illustrators including Downton and Ling’s wife Tanya), running alongside an illustrated blog by Downton himself written from the Fumoir - but it didn’t get huge traction. In contrast, today illustration generates great engagement, even recently making it into the realms of the still-controversial space of branded content with a campaign of illustrated fashion fairytales that ran across Vogue, GQ and Tatler which surpassed all commercial targets for a month-long campaign within the first 24 hours.
Stella McCartney went fresh from graduation at Central Saint Martins to chief designer at Chloé in 1997. Le Style Stella – a raunchy mix of rock ‘n’ roll and girly glamour – established Chloé as the best selling label in Paris and its designer as a card-carrying member of the fashion aristocracy. In 2000, McCartney left Chloé and signed a deal with the Gucci Group to launch her successful signature label.
Valentino Garavani, better known as Valentino, was born in northern Italy in 1932. From childhood, he was interested in fashion, and he pursued apprenticeships and training from family and local designers. By his late teens, he was ready for Paris. His parents helped him to move there, and when he arrived, he began to study art and design in preparation for his chosen career.
I don’t know what style category I fit into. I seem to have casual, sexy, girly, punk and tomboy. I even like the sporty style. It actually depends on my mood but most of the time, I like romantic clothes with lace, chic stuff, and if I don’t feel like dressing up, I just want casual or tomboy. Usually with crop tops and high waisted jeans. What….am I???
Known for his stunning couture designs and his sophisticated women’s tuxedo jackets (known as le smoking), Saint Laurent was destined to carve out his own identity, but his career was not without its challenges. After a poorly received collection at Dior, which featured hobble skirts and other unusual designs, he was sent into mandatory military service. The stress of being in the army (although he lasted only 20 days) took a tremendous toll on the sensitive designer. He suffered from teasing and hazing by his fellow soldiers, and he soon plunged into a nervous breakdown; he was sent to a mental hospital for treatment.
When you do stylize your figure, after having learned basic anatomy, you’ll want to do so in order to bring more focus to a particular element of design. For instance, fashion figures are often long-legged and much taller than the average human. In average human proportions, a figure is six to seven heads tall, whereas a fashion figure is eight or even nine heads tall, with most of that additional length being taken up in the legs. This is often used to bring the viewer’s attention to the length of a dress or give the artist more space in which to create folds, movement, or texture within the fabric itself.
The work of Mary Winkler (aka Acrylicana) is vivid and whimsical. It's often child-like in theme, depicting sweets, fanciful creatures and rainbows as well as exploring the world of fashion and garment in illustrated form. Done in a variety of media, including digital, acrylic, watercolour and ink, Mary's work is pop art, graphic and, for lack of a better word, sparkly. Her work is painted on canvas, a variety of papers or printed by way of giclee ink jet or silk screen (usually onto fabric for pouches/bags). Mary studied Illustration at College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan.
When you do stylize your figure, after having learned basic anatomy, you’ll want to do so in order to bring more focus to a particular element of design. For instance, fashion figures are often long-legged and much taller than the average human. In average human proportions, a figure is six to seven heads tall, whereas a fashion figure is eight or even nine heads tall, with most of that additional length being taken up in the legs. This is often used to bring the viewer’s attention to the length of a dress or give the artist more space in which to create folds, movement, or texture within the fabric itself.
Collage loose supplemental items together and glue them onto good paper. Often your investigative pieces, like interesting textures or structures, will involve a lot of small samples and clippings. Ideally, the person who reviews your portfolio should just be able to flip through it, so collage all of the smaller pieces on letter-sized sheets of paper to make them more readily accessible. Group items by type, or arrange them in a way that makes sense. Provide labels like "color work" or "experimental glazing methods" as needed, and add small explanatory lines or paragraphs if it is necessary for you to show the reader what you were doing.
Stella McCartney went fresh from graduation at Central Saint Martins to chief designer at Chloé in 1997. Le Style Stella – a raunchy mix of rock ‘n’ roll and girly glamour – established Chloé as the best selling label in Paris and its designer as a card-carrying member of the fashion aristocracy. In 2000, McCartney left Chloé and signed a deal with the Gucci Group to launch her successful signature label.
Much like showing the texture, weight, and limits of movement within a textile, being able to render various objects so the viewer understands what they’re comprised of not only helps communicate concept design and storytelling within a fashion illustration, but also allows the viewer to better connect with what’s been drawn as being analogous to a real-world object or familiar material.
Undoubtedly it's harder to project our own identity onto a famous supermodel draped across a staircase, or align one’s own reality with the digitally enhanced, perceived perfection of a fashion shoot. An illustration is more translatable - it allows for a different daydream. And in a world where reality is often all too stark, and fashion can be somewhat daunting, it's not surprising that our artistic tastes are erring on the side of a little escapism.

A picture tells a thousand stories and considering the noise that surrounds the launch of every issue of Vogue - endless hashtags and chatter about the cover model, photographer and pose, it seems inconceivable that covers in the past featured fashion illustrations elaborating far more detailed stories. The romance of images by John Ward and Carl Erickson, surrealism of Dali and Benito, and art deco of Bernard Boutet de Monvel, Georges Barbier and Harriet Meserole spun tales of arctic explorers; tennis players; bridal marches; world travellers; golfers; race drivers, actresses, mothers and lovers. In the days before photography became fashion’s key documenter, fashion illustration was just as emotive and colourful - if not more so - as the images burned onto our retinas more recently by Penn, Bailey, Day, Meisel and Mert & Marcus. Call to mind the images created by Rene Gruau as Dior’s artistic director in 1947 - there is no doubt as to the part illustration used to play in fashion storytelling.
In 1966 Paco Rabanne opened his own outlet at the age of 32, where he earned international repute for his metal-linked plastic-disc dresses, sun goggles and jewelry made of plastic in primary colors. Paco Rabanne’s dresses made of small plastic tiles linked together by chains, stole the show in Paris. His first collection, titled “12 Unwearable Dresses in Contemporary Materials,” sums up his philosophy that “the only new frontier left in fashion is the finding of new materials.” Throughout his career, Rabanne experimented with everything from plastic and aluminum to fiberglass and paper to create futuristic, eccentric, yet highly influential garments.
1. Create a good croquis. A croquis is the basic drawing of a model pose that you can trace over and over again while sketching your fashion ideas. You can find croquis to use online or in books, or you can create your own. I created my first croquis years ago by tracing a pose on a vintage pattern. Typically, croquis are exaggerated tall model forms. But what if you want to design for someone else, say a child or a plus sized woman? Make your own! Here’s how I do it…1. Print a photo that has a good pose and body form that you want to design for. I chose a couple photo with my husband because sometimes I enjoy designing “his and her” looks. 2. Using window light, trace the basic body shape on a new piece of paper. 3. Use your new croquis, by tracing over it with a fresh sheet of paper, to sketch your own new designs over and over again. Fun, right?!2. Don’t stress, just practice. Instead of stressing over getting the perfect sketches, just start where you are and practice. Before I shared any of my sketches (even with my friends) I was sketching for a whole year in secret notebooks. Each time a notebook was full I would rip out my favorite designs and start a new one, throwing the rest out. Nothing can replace quality practice time. It’s the only way to grow and develop. You’ll gain confidence as you go!

“It’s changing, and it’s becoming a much more friendly industry for women particularly,” says Susannah Garrod, who studied fine art at Central Saint Martins and now counts Vogue, Jimmy Choo, Emilia Wickstead and Jessica McCormack as clients as well as contributing to the Fashion Illustration Gallery stable run by William Ling. “Instagram allowed me to record more personal, rather than client-based work - which in turn generated more work ... as a 'jobbing' illustrator it’s been rewarding to be commissioned for work in my own right rather than creating illustrations strictly dictated by the client. These days fashion illustration is appreciated by a more social savvy audience as an art form rather than a 'paint by numbers' necessity to record. People are looking for something different if they commission a fashion illustrator rather than a photographer - it’s no longer the 'poor relation' but an intimate way of interpreting fashion which stands the test of time as a commentary on the industry as a whole.”
The balance line should be a straight vertical line, even if you want the model to pose in a leaning position. For example, if you want the the model to be posed with her hips tilted slightly to her left, draw a straight balance line in the middle of the page. You want this line to extend from the top of the model's head to the ground that she is standing on.
When Christian Dior launched his “New Look” collection in 1947 he radically changed the direction of mid-century fashion, bringing the world a new idea of luxury from post-war Paris. Bustier bodices, bell-shaped skirts, rounded shoulders and cinched waists made Dior’s work different and irreverent. Dior took the world by storm, never producing an unpopular collection during his administratcion as the head of Dior brand.
As a rule, world’s famous fashion designers have their place in the fashion industry for a long time. Each of them has a luxury fashion house with their admirers, as well as characteristic iconic images, seen in all collections. Coco Chanel with her tweed suit or Valentino with his striking red dresses, the best fashion designers clothing are credited only those who created his own distinctive style, which entered the history of fashion. Here 10 people awarded with the title of “best.”

Come up with an organizing principle. Whatever you do, you should probably try to keep different parts of one project together as much as possible. So, for example, if you explored organic structures like feathers and leaves for one project and tribal or folk art for another, try to keep the various parts of those projects together. Ultimately, you need an organizational principle because you'll have to choose how you want to present those projects.[2]
To get attractive design, the feel, handle and texture of fabrics is most essential. Fashion is a visual medium; so touch becomes increasingly important to express luxury looks at the fashion market. Textile technologists have made great improvements in the sensual aspects of fabric like how it feels, looking and behaves, in addition to treatments that can affect the look and feel of garments after they are made, for example, washes and abrasions.
Gather materials. Choose a hard lead pencil (H pencils are best) that makes light, sketchy marks that are easy to erase. Marks made with these pencils also don't indent the paper, which is helpful when you want to add color to the image. A good quality eraser and thick paper are also important materials to have if you want your sketch to look professional.

It’s also an aggression-free means of emotional expression in a world which can all too easily descend into trolling bile, and worse. “The collaboration with Gucci increased my following by 30k almost overnight and yet I didn’t receive one negative comment,” says Downie. Even when her work has generated controversy, she doesn’t enter verbal (or text) discussion. “I just paint the answer.”
In 1966 Paco Rabanne opened his own outlet at the age of 32, where he earned international repute for his metal-linked plastic-disc dresses, sun goggles and jewelry made of plastic in primary colors. Paco Rabanne’s dresses made of small plastic tiles linked together by chains, stole the show in Paris. His first collection, titled “12 Unwearable Dresses in Contemporary Materials,” sums up his philosophy that “the only new frontier left in fashion is the finding of new materials.” Throughout his career, Rabanne experimented with everything from plastic and aluminum to fiberglass and paper to create futuristic, eccentric, yet highly influential garments.

Preparing the Reference Photograph 6m Drawing Our Vector Portrait in Illustrator 11m Shaping the Vector Portrait with Line Work 12m Establishing Line Work for the Hair 13m Adding Definition to Our Vector Portrait 11m Finalizing the Definition to Our Vector Portrait 8m Applying Dark Contours to Our Vector Portrait 10m Constructing the Model's Jacket 10m Implementing a Shine and Shadow Effect on the Jacket 12m Coloring the Model's Eyes, Hair, and Lips 8m Polishing the Illustration 9m Creating Splatters to the Illustration 9m Finishing the Splatters on the Illustration 9m Transforming the Splatters Using Texture Effects 10m Applying Mixed Media Elements to the Illustration 10m Adding the Tattoo and Scorpion Silhouette 9m Organizing Abstract Vector Shapes to Composition 10m


In the 80’s, Ralph Lauren really became a force to be reckoned with, as his signature polo shirts for men, with their ubiquitous polo pony and rider, became coveted items for many different demographics. Available in every color of the rainbow, they lined his coffers and allowed him to put more money into his glamorous women’s wear lines; he especially enjoyed producing couture pieces and overseeing glossy runway shows.
Preparing the Reference Photograph 6m Drawing Our Vector Portrait in Illustrator 11m Shaping the Vector Portrait with Line Work 12m Establishing Line Work for the Hair 13m Adding Definition to Our Vector Portrait 11m Finalizing the Definition to Our Vector Portrait 8m Applying Dark Contours to Our Vector Portrait 10m Constructing the Model's Jacket 10m Implementing a Shine and Shadow Effect on the Jacket 12m Coloring the Model's Eyes, Hair, and Lips 8m Polishing the Illustration 9m Creating Splatters to the Illustration 9m Finishing the Splatters on the Illustration 9m Transforming the Splatters Using Texture Effects 10m Applying Mixed Media Elements to the Illustration 10m Adding the Tattoo and Scorpion Silhouette 9m Organizing Abstract Vector Shapes to Composition 10m
In the 60’s, Valentino made a decision that would enhance his reputation; he sent Jacqueline Kennedy, the American First Lady and fashion icon, a series of his pieces to look over. She was enchanted with his designs, and even chose to wear one of his dresses when she married her second husband, Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis: her influence led to greater fame and fortune in North America.
Tom Ford studied design at the before he worked for Perry Ellis andCathy Hardwick. Tom was hired in 1990 to oversee Gucci’s women’s wear collections, and had a breakthrough four years later when he was appointed creative director. The Gucci makeover masterminded by Ford was the biggest fashion success story of the late 90s. His sultry rock-star velvet hip-slung trousers, leather stilettos, and Halston-esque dresses were blockbusters. After Gucci’s buyout of Yves Saint Laurent in 1999, Ford also became creative director of YSL Rive Gauche. In 2005, Ford launched the Tom Ford brand.
One of the most acclaimed fashion designers in the world, Karl Lagerfeld was born in Hamburg, Germany. As a teenager, Lagerfeld worked at Balmain for four years before moving to Jean Patou where he became artistic director at 21. His prolific portfolio now encompasses Chanel and Fendi along with his own house. Known for his bold designs and constant reinvention, he’s been hailed Vogue magazine as the “unparalleled interpreter of the mood of the moment.” King Karl, the one-man multinational fashion phenomenon.

The bohemian fashion style- always referred to commonly as the ‘boho’ look- can easily be described as a style that focuses mainly on wild and intricate patterns and exotic textures. They get most of their inspiration from gypsys and hippies, creating a standout finish with plenty of tie dye, geometrics, chains, fringes, and other eye-catching designs.
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