Is Sketching Talent a Fashion Design School Must?

by Laura Horwitz
Fashion School Review Columnist

July 14, 2008

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While you don't have to be an expert artist to succeed in fashion design, you do need to be able to accurately communicate your vision for a new clothing design. How can you do that without a fashion design sketch?

When Do You Need Sketches?
First, you'll need to submit sketches as part of your application process to almost any fashion design school. That's why it's useful to have a basic knowledge of art and design before applying.

Second, at fashion design school you'll take further courses to enhance your sketching abilities. Examinations and contests during those years often require you to submit sketches of your work.

Then, upon leaving school, potential employers will want to see a portfolio of your work. This will naturally include sketches of the clothing designs you've created. Designers with the best portfolios usually get the job.

Finally, once employed, designers need to be able to quickly sketch out new idea, explain a new trend, or even sketch something they see during a fashion show. Buyers may also want to see a sketch before they commission a final design.

How to Create a Fashion Design Sketch
To create an excellent fashion illustration, you need to understand human anatomy and proportions, color theory, rendering techniques, and even how to draw different types of fabrics. The good news, however, is that while most designers do create their initial sketch by hand, many now use Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) software to translate these sketches to the computer.

This process saves a lot of time and money since designers can swap out colors and fabrics on a virtual model with the click of a mouse instead of re-drawing or re-creating elaborate prototypes. If you're interested in trying your hand at CAD, consider a class through an online college.

But even with the aid of computers, nothing replaces that original hand-drawn sketch. It is an essential ability to succeed in fashion design and one you must learn.


About the Author
Laura Horwitz has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for five years in both London and the U.S.

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