A Gift Guide For Aspiring Fashion Designers

Thursday 1 December 2016

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Every year since I can remember, I am always given an endless amount of design related gifts. From my first sewing machine when I was 12, to magazine subscriptions when I was a teenager, to books and journals as a graduate. I love to receive gifts that will have a purpose now, and continue to help me in the future. This is what inspired me to create this gift guide to help out either those looking for gift ideas, or those wanting to add a few little extras to their Christmas list. I have included some obvious ideas as well as a few things that might seem a little out of the box. Whether it's for an already established designer, a student, or for someone who has always wanted to design, this gift guide will help you find the perfect gift at different price points.

gift guide for aspiring fashion designers


Probably one of the most important things in a fashion designers life; their sketchbook. They're filled with sketches, designs, samples, and literally any idea that runs through your mind will be transferred over to the sketchbook. The Fashionary sketchbooks are the perfect gift option. They are easy to use so they're ideal for those who are just starting out designing (reviewed here). They look so stylish and come in a range of colours and textures. Not only can you buy sketchbooks, you can also buy diaries, a Fashionpedia, and an essentials boxset, which includes a sketchbook, tape measure and pencils.


I already mentioned how I always got a yearly subscription for Christmas. They can be a source of inspiration, help find new designers, style tips, in addition to being some relaxation material. There are so many fashion magazines to pick from like the traditional such as Vogue, Tatler and Elle, to the magazine reporting on cutting edge news such as Dazed and Confused, i-D and Another Magazine.


As a designer, you can never have too many drawing tools. From a good set of drawing pencils to colouring pencils ranging from watercolour to pigmented, and black pigment liners or promarkers. All are used for research all the way to pattern cutting. The shops are filled with beautifully arranged sets, or you could even create your own with a mixture of tools.

gift guide for aspiring fashion designers polaroid camera


Having a camera is an essential tool for a designer. It's used to document ideas, research, pulling out colour palettes and inspiration. I'm one of those people who will always take photos on her phone and completely forget about them. If you have a Polaroid camera, you have no excuse but to put your images straight in your sketchbook or journal.


We've all got to love a fashion book for Christmas! For new designers, look out for books with terminology or an introduction to fashion designers. If they love their sewing machine, sewing guides and project books are a must. If they're like me and love to pattern cut, you can find endless amounts of pattern cutting books. Don't forget about books written by designers, or who work in the industry that will help inspire and provide a positive mental attitude to move forward in the industry.


A vital part of a designers life, and maybe more on the high-end scale for gifts, but a sewing machine doesn't have to cost too much. They start at around £50 for a basic machine perfect for students or new designers. If you want something on the higher end, computerised sewing machines start from £200. As well as a sewing machine, an overlocker is a trusted friend to a designer and start around £200.

.@helloaycan has put together a gift guide perfect for aspiring fashion designers #blogmas


A pocket journal can be so handy to note down ideas or drawings while you are on your daily travels, and away from your sketchbook.


As a designer, you can never have too much fabric. If you have no clue about fabrics or what to buy, any medium weight fabrics, such as cottons are always a safe option. You could even buy fabric you like and hopefully receive a beautifully handmade outfit in return.


Adobe Creative Cloud is an online tool package that provides you with essential applications, including Photoshop and Illustrator, which are used widely throughout design. Photoshop is for editing photos, drawings and illustrations, and Illustrator is for designing spec drawings. This works on a pay monthly or annual basis.

gift guide for aspiring fashion designers art supplies


A graphics tablet is a fun way to design on your computer. For those who already like to use a computer to design with, or those who design on paper, and like to scan and experiment further. Using the tablet helps mimic the motions of your hand, and can also translate the pressure from your fingers to the thickness of lines, or darkness of the colour.


A dress form or mannequin can be a helping hand (or body), for those who are constantly making or experimenting with fabrics to make clothes. It can help with understanding the silhouettes, and the formation of garments on the body. This again is in the higher price range, but you could also offer yourself as a human mannequin when needed.


I love to sew. When I was really little I always used to get those plastic cross-stitch sets, and every year they got a little more advanced. Now, it's all about free-hand embroidery. You could create a little sewing pack with fabric, embroidery hook, embroidery threads, needles and a few embellishment tools like sequins. Sewing is a great way to relax while creating something pretty awesome.

gift guide fashion designers


This might sound like an easy way out, but designing and making clothes is so expensive, so a little helping hand to the cost is always wanted. This could either be for a fabric shop they like, or for a design supply store. If you're based in the uk, William Gee is always a favourite.


Especially if the recipient is a fashion student, a survival pack is a definite must. You can buy these or make your own. These consist of hand needles, fabric chalk, small scissors, tape measure, black and white thread, and you can throw some chocolate in there for good measure. This is a gift that might not seem that exciting, but when the time comes, it will really matter.

It's the first day of December and if you haven't already planned your gifts, I hope this has given you some ideas on what to buy or receive. Let me know the comments below a gift you've received at Christmas that really helped you in the future.