7 Tips For Sourcing A Top Fashion Designer

Chris Murdock
3 min readSep 28, 2022


Retail recruiting covers a lot of ground. From buyers to eCommerce engineers to designers, it takes a lot of talent to be successful in this industry. Each department has a completely different set of role requirements and experience necessary to find the next great hire. We can’t lump all retail recruiting into one basket; recruiters must be strategic across every department.

Finding A Fashion Designer

For example, finding a designer for a company’s new line is a unique candidate sourcing situation. First and foremost, it is a big decision. After all, this person has a huge role in the overall success of the brand. There are many talented creatives in the fashion industry to choose from, but identifying the right person for your brand is critical.

Check out 7 helpful tips to consider when sourcing as a fashion recruiter in the most recent blog from @IQTalent:Click to Tweet

Not all fashion designers are created equal, nor do they have the same design experience and expertise. Within the designer cohort are specialists across all areas of design. Keep your search specific: Are you sourcing dress designers, footwear designers, sportswear designers, men’s fashion designers, or something else entirely?

Helpful Tips To Consider When Sourcing As A Fashion Recruiter

  1. Define the vision and aesthetic for this brand. Focus on the details and be specific about the direction for your company’s next line.

Pro Tip: You should not spend more than a few minutes evaluating each portfolio. If you know the aesthetic you’re looking for, you can quickly narrow the search to a selected pool of design candidates. Our IQTalent Diamond Recruiting process works especially well when recruiting fashion designers.

  1. Select candidates with strong design portfolios. To an untrained fashion recruiter, every portfolio may look impressive. But these design portfolios can be separated by many details that may (or may not) be included. These next tips will help you discern an experienced designer from a beginner.
  2. Look at the designer’s mood board. Mood boards are critical components that tell the story behind the creation of the look or garment. A strong design portfolio will showcase the mood board color swatches used to explain their inspiration for the design, and hand-drawn and computer-generated sketches.
  3. Review the sketches with a critical eye. How well are the sketches drawn? Do the technical specs include details and instructions on the design and measurements? Strong technical sketches are complex and will include details about the interior and exterior portions of the garment. A detailed portfolio will incorporate a mix of hand-drawn and computer-generated sketches. As fashion recruiters know, experienced designers will include all these details and specifications in their portfolios.
  4. Examine the research behind the design. An excellent design portfolio should include the designer’s trend research. The research will consist of fabric swatches, color palettes, and any inspirational pieces the designer used to create the overall look.
  5. Source your fashion designer candidates from unique places. Sourcing a fashion designer won’t be done on LinkedIn. Good recruiters will need to expand their search across multiple other platforms. Places like Behance, Pinterest, Cargo, Collective, Instagram, and even TikTok will host many experienced designers showcasing their work.
  6. Stay up-to-date with industry news. As a fashion recruiter, you should subscribe to fashion blogs. Check out Women’s Wear Daily, VogueBusiness.com, businessoffashion.com, and more. Follow the Fashion weeks across the globe and know the designers who are featured at each event. Develop relationships with top fashion schools and their instructors. They know their graduates and who is the next rising star!

Still not totally confident in venturing into the world of fashion to find your next great design candidates? IQTalent can help. We have a department dedicated to servicing the retail industry, fashion designers included.

This article was originally published on the IQTalent blog by Kristin Taylor.



Chris Murdock

Chris is the Co-Founder & Senior Partner at IQTalent Partners, a professional service firm focused on finding, assessing and hiring key talent for teams.