Identity Formation and Self-Reflection Strategies in the Development of Apparel Design ePortfolios

  • Received : 2016.09.30
  • Accepted : 2016.12.08
  • Published : 2016.12.30


Visual literacy, a key element of a design portfolio, is achieved by communicating a consistent visual aesthetic with respect to design elements, design principles and individual style. Yet, students often feel challenged in articulating their personal aesthetic or design philosophy in order to create a unifying design identity within a body of artifacts. This paper shares some best practices on overcoming this challenge through students' engagement in self-reflection and identity formation processes. The implemented innovative strategy in a senior-level portfolio development course for apparel designers involved four different phases: 1) one-on-one meetings to self-reflect on previous design work, 2) selection and revision of artifacts, 3) peer-review and critiques of revised portfolio artifacts, and 4) development of a final ePortfolio to showcase a unified design identity. It was evident that recording students' initial self-reflection in the form of a metacognitive oral report encouraged and motivated identity development in their portfolio. Further, students expressed their satisfaction in the ability to participate in the selection process of artifacts by self-reflecting about what they wanted to highlight about themselves and why. Overall, student outcomes from this strategy exceeded expectations and the portfolios developed were successful in creating a cohesive design identity.


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