The purpose of this research was to examine apparel design student portfolios for entry-level positions in the apparel industry in relation to the representation of job skills. Portfolio samples were taken from a portfolio development course taught by the researcher and separated into portfolio elements based on the types of design documentation used in the apparel industry and in an apparel design curriculum. These included technical drawings, sketches, illustrations, images of full prototype garments and detail images of prototype garments. Job skills were identified in a content analysis of online employment postings for entry-level positions in the apparel industry. An online survey was created to collect responses from apparel design students and apparel design professionals. The relative importance of each job skill was ranked by participants as well as the level of abstractness or concreteness for each portfolio element. Participants were asked to rate the representation of job skills in twelve portfolio elements including portfolio layouts. Reponses were compared across groups for differences between apparel design students and apparel design professionals in the representation of job skills. The highest represented job skill was identified for each portfolio element and used to determine the type of sign; icon, index, or symbol. An icon is a direct representation of an object, person or idea that is easily understood by a viewer with little or no specialized training. An index is an abstracted representation of an object, person, or idea that requires some interpretation to be understood by the average viewer. Finally, a symbol is an indirect representation of an object, person, or idea that requires specialized knowledge to interpret. Results indicated that apparel design students rank technical knowledge of fit and construction higher than apparel design professionals in relative importance, and that apparel design professionals rank sketching/flats/drawing as higher than apparel design students. Personality characteristics and interpersonal skills were seen as most abstract by both groups, and were least represented in portfolio elements. Technical knowledge of fit and construction and sketching/flats/drawing were the two job skills most represented in portfolio elements used in this study, most likely due to the outcomes of studio courses. Icons were found to be the most common type of sign used in apparel design student portfolios, and are suggested for each job skill as a means to communicate ability without the need of specialized knowledge to interpret the sign.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2013. Major: Design. Advisors: Elizabeth Bye and Lucy Dunne. 1 computer file (PDF); ii 93 pages, appendices A-E.
Sowers, Chad Michael.
Semiotics in apparel design student portfolios: Semantic categorization and evaluation of portfolio elements.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.