Fashion Sketch vs. Fashion Illustration vs. Flats

What is the difference between a fashion sketch and a fashion illustration? As part of the society working and creating in the fashion industry you will encounter both terms quite often and it is likely to get confused which one is which. Let’s talk about how to differentiate them!

Every fashion designer draws fashion sketches. They don’t necessarily make fashion illustrations as well.

Fashion Sketch

Fashion Sketch: how many buttons are on this shirt

Chances are you are already drawing fashion sketches by definition. The purpose of the fashion sketch is to show the design details. The fashion sketch is all about the technical details, not the art. Even though it can look beautiful with colors, shading & amazing model wearing the clothes –  this is not the purpose of it. Its purpose is to show correctly the darts and seams of the garment. Also to show the color combination and suggest styling (hair, accessories, shows).Often times designers would use fashion templates to save time and draw directly over them. They can make simple pencil drawings or detailed rendered sketches over them.


Design Flats

The  design flat comes to show that there is a tiny logo inside every button.

Don’t confuse the fashion sketch with the flat technical drawing. Fashion sketches serve as a base/ guidelines for the Flats. The classical flat is digitally drawn (usually in Adobe Illustrator). In general flats is what says that you are a designer who is familiar with the business – they might incorporate fabric swatches, color swatches, close-ups of the logos…..The purpose here is to communicate the design idea precisely.  How do they look? Usually just clean black outlines with minimal shading. There is no figure. Nothing interesting going on.  Technical drawings show the clothes as if they were laid flat on a table.



Fashion Illustrations

Fashion illustration shows that when you open the buttons this shirt looks so sexy!

Now fashion illustration is the fun, artistic sister of the former two. The fashion illustration doesn’t care about technical details. All it wants is to make you desire the clothes! It talks the emotional language. It creates mood, a fantasy! That’s why often times used in promotional ads and magazines.

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