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How to Draw like a

Fashion Designer

at Parsons the New School for Design

Fashion Design

What does a fashion design major draw at Parsons the New School for Design? Is there a process? What are the steps? Majoring in fashion design at Parsons is no easy task. It takes hard work, determination, creativity, and passion. There is no way of surviving if you arent willing to work for it. Love what you do. Find the inspiration. Lets start with the term croquis. What does it mean? A croquis is a quick sketch of a figure, (typically 9-10 heads tall) with a loose drawing of the clothes that are being designed. Often a large number of croquis drawings will be created for one finished look, which is fully drawn and finished. We shall now explore this process, step by step. It is amazing what one drawing can turn into, but you must learn the basics first.


Learning croquis sketching basics


Start sketching croquis roughly

Starting sketches of croquis means making a lot of marks and taking measurements. It is alright if you think these figures look weird. They are meant to look elongated and exaggerated. After all, fashion designs need to make a statement. I have always had this fantasy of being a designer and its a dream coming true.Angela Fernandez

Keep practicing. Keep sketching. Keep measuring. Express yourself. Pretty soon these figures will become like second nature to you. Once you get the hang of drawing croquis, you will develop a style and personality. Dont be in too much of a hurry. Working on the basics will only improve your skills. My workload is IMMENSE. Im still learning to manage my time better so I dont get overwhelmed.Angela Fernandez

Fashion Design is difficult because the expectations are HIGH.Arnulfo Luigi De Ocampo

Its not so hard for me, because it comes naturally. Theres aspects that are hard, but designing comes easy.Ivy Kirk

Fashion Design is not easy. Fashion Design is not about shopping, loving clothes or having a fascination with celebrities and that whole media agenda. Fashion Design is about hard work, dedication, creativity, and passion for the behind-the-scenes. It is very demanding and rigorous, certainly not suitable for everyone. But I love it and Im having fun!Angela Fernandez

Designing itself I dont find too difficultIts just really stressful when you are forced to be designing SO MUCH in really short periods of time!Sarah Wright


Continue sketching croquis until it becomes second nature


Start learning about digital designs, outlines only

Youre probably wondering huh? What happened to croquis? The truth is that although fashion design students start to learn about how to draw croquis in the very beginning, it doesnt mean you get to start designing just yet. Learning about drawing croquis is to understand the beginning of a very large process. Now, you have to get with the times and work digitally before you can start designing. Working digitally means using the computer to learn how to create clothing for your fashion figures. The process is to help you understand the way clothing looks or even flows on its own. What do clothes look like without a person wearing them? It may sound strange, but you have to learn about what you are designing. Clothing cant turn into reality just because you imagine it to be so. There is a structure behind it to be learned. At Parsons, there is a computer program that allows you to make outlines of designs of clothing. You will start out with the basics. Clean lines, standard shapes and sizes.

The fashion world is very competitive, fashion school is competitive, the world of consumer goods is competitive. I believe this is an industry where you have to shine and prove yourself over and over again to stay relevant, desirable and acquire a consistent following. However, I think that at the end youre in competition only with yourself and no one else, it comes down to where you started and where you want to end up. Success is an individual goal.Angela Fernandez

Although there are a lot of great people at Parsons, its a VERY competitive environment, and grows more and more competitive as years go on. With that said, there are so many wonderful supportive friends that you will make here, that it does help balance out! You just need to believe in you and what youre doing, take advice but when it comes down to it, listen to you. Listen to your heart.Sarah Wright


Keep working with the computer, learn about the clothing


Patterns can be made quite easily on the computer

Now that you have started to learn and work with the basics of digital designs, now it is time to introduce pattern. Patterns are everywhere, they can even create a sense of texture. A pattern may be decorative, such as stripes, zigzags, and polka-dots. The most basic patterns are based on repetition. Its best to start off this process in basic lines before colors get introduced. Try making the patterns really simplistic at first. If you start off with a complex pattern, you might get too overwhelmed. Simple, to the point and body conscious.Angela Fernandez

The perfect balance, though I think Im more on the outrageous side, just over the edge, but still approachable.Sarah Wright

I like a mix of both. I like quirky but not ugly weird. My clothes are always pretty and feminine.Ivy Kirk

Sometimes it is hard to create a pattern without finding a real one. It helps to look at real fabrics, whether they are at a store or even on the street corner. You can even use swatches as sources of inspiration. A swatch is a small piece of a fabric that designers use for reference when designing. There is nothing wrong with creating your own unique pattern but understanding a real pattern can give you a better visualization. For me, I find it difficult knowing how to use my inspiration for my collection assignments. I find my inspiration, but I get lost in knowing how to use it.Arnulfo Luigi De Ocampo

Hmm, sometimes I get stuck or dont know how to approach a project, but luckily Im always full of ideas so I dont have too much trouble coming up with a theme, the trouble comes on how to execute.Angela Fernandez


Its fun to make your own pattern, but study real ones too


A colorful patten can make a world of difference

Back to digital pattern-making. Now that you have studied real patterns, use them for your digital designs. You can start using a variety of colors now. Its finally time to express yourself with pattern and color. My personal sense of style? You wont see me with the big sunglasses, nice big bags, or leggings (I dont even own a pair). And with all the school stuff I dont have time to dress up much. I dont have a wild hair-do, in fact I dont even own a brush! I am regular girl with jeans, boots for the rain/snow otherwise tennis shoes. Im not a tomboy, yet Im not overtly girlish and I dont think Im plain-Jane either, Im just me. You figure it out.Angela Fernandez

Concerning my personal style, I own a lot of vintage clothes. My style is a bit quirky and a bit preppy and a bit vintage, but always me.Ivy Kirk

Inspiration is key to everything. Start finding things you like. What motivates you to design? Where does your creativity lie? All fashion designers, especially the fashion design students at Parsons need a source of inspiration. Constantly designing means you need something to keep you innovative. What drives you to design? People with interesting personal style. Those who really know who they are.Ivy Kirk

My family inspires me, in particular my niece who is almost a year old and has opened my eyes to infinite possibilities and growth.Angela Fernandez

Fellow classmates, other designers, and more so than anything, friends and family and anyone who truly believes in me.Sarah Wright


Start finding inspiration for ideas and designs


Look around you, make a collage if you need to

Culture. I think its really important to understand where you live, what inspires your certain habitat and what world you want to create with emphasis on market and consumer potential.Angela Fernandez

Its just whats around you. You cant design in a bubble. This is fashion design, not fine art.Ivy Kirk

People who are full of lies and people who dont realize who they are and their downfalls will struggle a lot in this industry. It is important to give off a good first impression, and to be humble and friendly to everyone. Try to NEVER burn a bridge, you never know who is going to be working with you, in charge of you, or working under you someday.Sarah Wright

You can start drawing freely now that you have found some inspiration. Start designing by using what you learned from before. Design using croquis. Show an understanding of fabric structure, and the use of pattern and color. There are no restrictions to designing with your imagination, just a matter of putting it all together. Make sense of it all. My workload at Parsons has gotten a lot more time consuming compared to Foundation year.Sarah Wright

Foundation, I think was by far the easiest Sophomore year is really hard to adjust to, so much new stuff to learn, with fashion drawing, sewing, and more. Junior year is probably the most work. But, Senior year is the most exhausting mentally, and you have the most pressure on you.Angela Fernandez


Start designing freely, with your findings


Keep drawing and designing whatever comes to you

Keep up the drawing even if it is s