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Basics of Fashion Designing
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Designing Principles

These basics of fashion designing, are a must for every individual wanting to be a budding designer.

The relative length of two parts of a garment is termed as proportion. The degree and method of subordinating some part of a design to other is shown as proportion.

Balance is the equal distribution of weights. (Actual or virtual) Symmetry between the left and right halves of the body in a garment is termed as the symmetrical balance. The purpose of balance is to bring a satisfying relationship between all the design parts.

Asymmetrical designsRhythm is the repeated use of lines or shapes to create a pattern. Rhythm is achieved through:
Symmetrical designs
Asymmetrical designs

Emphasis creates a centre of interest by focusing the viewer`s attention on a specific area of the garment. It is basically the use of subordination in various parts in order to emphasize and highlight certain parts.

Unity means that all elements of a design work together to produce a successful visual effect. Also known as harmony, achieved when the fundamental elements of design have been used to express a single concept.

Fundamentals of Designing

The fundamentals of designing are very important to know the concepts of designing. The elements of designing are the factors that are essential to create the perfect outfit and they are given below.

A line can be thought of as points so close together that they lose their individual identity and form a new entity. Lines act as border between ideas, concepts or steps in a sequence. Since lines can be straight, curved, or irregularly shaped, one can also think of a line as the track of a point in motion depicting various forms. Vertical lines can stop eye movement implying mass and give volume to a structure. They also equate to power and strength. Horizontal lines symbolize rest and relaxation. Diagonal lines being dynamic and action-oriented, they portray dimensions and directions.

A shape is defined as an area that stands out from the space next to or around it due to a defined or implied boundary, or because of differences of value, colour, or texture. It is formed when a line encloses an area. These lined enclosures create an illusionary focus termed as shapes. Shapes can vary endlessly and can suggest physical form and direct eye movement based on the directional movement of lines. Shapes define figure, create ground relationships and relate forms and figures.

It is defined as the surface characteristics of a material that can be experienced through the sense of touch or the illusion of touch. In visual images, actual textures can be used, such as cloth, boxes, small objects, and natural items.

Value is the relative degree of lightness and darkness in a design element. Line, colour, texture, and shape all need value contrast in order to be seen. Value is used to describe objects, shapes, and space.

Colour is the most important part of designing. The primary colours are red, yellow and blue. They are called primary because they are not mixtures of the other colours. Mixing any two primary colours results in a secondary colour. The colour wheel is created when the primary and secondary colours are placed in a circle. Colours directly across from each other on the colour wheel are called complementary colours. Complementary colours used together provide extreme contrast.

Basic Silhouettes

A line - silhouetteA silhouette refers to the outer shape of the garment. In this section, various types of silhouettes are incorporated as the Indian silhouette. Thus, the basic Indian silhouettes are as follows:

The most common silhouette that has the hem larger in proportion to the chest and waist measurement, thus giving the classic `A` appearance.

This has a straight cylindrical shape to the garment achieved by giving same measurements to the chest, waist and hem. The effect is best achieved when overall the garment has a close fit. This silhouette works very well for the younger customers.

tent - silhouetteThis silhouette is achieved by flaring the garment from under the armhole. It is important for the garment to be close fitted at the bust.

Empire line
This refers to a panel dividing the garment horizontally into two panels below the bust.

This kind of silhouette does not have a symmetrical form. It can be achieved by varying the true colours, panels, hemlines etc.


Ornamentation of fabric with the help of prints and stripes inherent on fabric or with the help of superficial adherence has evolved over the ages. This generally forms the grooming up of the art of design. Different kinds of prints and patterns are used to evolve a design pattern. Following are the different kinds of motifs.

Ethnic MotifEthnic
Prints such as the bandhej, batik, paisleys, chitons, French provincials and other country prints evolving from folklores and influenced with traditional customs are termed as ethnic prints.

This motif is also known as the natural motifs, which are basically depiction of inspirations derived from the nature such as flowers, animals, landscapes and similar inspirations.

This motif uses geometrical figures such as dots, stripes both horizontal and vertical with other geometrical motifs and the combinations are termed as geometrical patterns.

Abstract MotifsAbstract
Uses of abstract to depict the unknown have always caught the fancy of the people and are often used for design based ornamentation.

This motif is an abstract floral pattern that has a stylized depiction of floras. A very common motif used for textile.

Plaids and Checks
Use of a combination of linear lines for creating equal sized checks and unequal sized checks known as plaids, has been a common motif for design development.


checked motifsColour is the most important part of designing. The basic colours for the various seasons are given below:

The neutrals are the classics, which work best with almost any colour and season.

Summer Colours
The summer radiance refers to a bright, intense and energetic colour palette.

Earthy Colours
The earthy colours give a rustic feel, they are associated with natural fabrics like jute, linen and cottons and also in terms of leather, wood, bone and shells for accessories.

Pastel Colours
The placid pastels refer to the light and soft colours.

Monsoon Colours
The monsoon moods are reflected in deep and dark shades of browns, blues, greens and yellows, which are reminiscent of a rain forest.

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