How Photoshop and Illustrator are used in the Fashion Industry



Adobe is one of the most innovative software companies, and many designers and photographers rely on their products for work and hobbies.

How Photoshop and Illustrator are used in the Fashion Industry

For graphic designers, Illustrator is their go-to product and has been since it was first released back in 1987 for Apple Macintosh computers before following that with a PC version a couple of years later.

 Of course, Photoshop followed that, and then, later on, applications for web design arrived. Today Adobe has over 50 different apps on the market, and the majority will remain a mystery to most people.

 The two apps that really stand out and that have stood the test of time are Illustrator and Photoshop, and one area that they are used heavily in is the fashion industry.

 What areas are they used in, and is it all good, or does software sometimes encroach too far? 

How Photoshop and Illustrator are used in the Fashion Industry

For fashion design students

Illustrator and Photoshop are probably the two most common pieces of software that are used in the fashion industry, especially when it comes to design. They can be used for many purposes, and Adobe Education Exchange hosts courses for fashion students using Photoshop on their site.

 Between the two programs, students can create mood boards, sketches for fashion design, create textile designs and produce typography and graphics. They can also make modifications simply and quickly, unlike in the past.

Being able to quickly change colors on a design or to repeat a pattern automatically takes the trudge out of the design work and allows the student to concentrate on the creative side of their work.

 It is also vital that students learn this software because when they graduate and look for employment, they will find that Photoshop and Illustrator knowledge is expected. 

How Photoshop and Illustrator are used in the Fashion Industry

For glossy fashion magazines

For a long time, the traditional fashion magazine has been said to be in decline. While it is true that the physical product doesn’t sell as many copies as they did in the past, there is still a market there. There are many top-selling magazines, including Glamour, Nylon, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, and of course, Elle.

Elle still sells over 40 international versions of their magazine, and these cover 60 countries around the world. Although websites for fashion magazines have a large market and appeal to a younger generation, the paper magazine still remains popular.

 The reason that newspapers and other print products are declining quicker than fashion magazines is the photoshoots and the gloss. For anyone interested in fashion, the double-spread or high-quality shoots in these magazines cannot be replicated as well online.

 Photographers play a huge part in the fashion industry, and there are some fabulous photography courses you can take online if you were interested in this as a hobby or career. Meanwhile, Photoshop and other Adobe products keep on helping these magazines hit the shelves, but are they used too much sometimes? 

How Photoshop and Illustrator are used in the Fashion Industry

For extreme manipulation

One area that the fashion industry, magazines, and Photoshop have found themselves in hot water over is manipulation. While this is no fault of the software developers, their software has some powerful tools that allow editors to adjust photos. Many people, including the models themselves, have said that this editing and manipulation goes too far sometimes.

While Photoshop is ideal for removing blemishes, spots, shadows, and other minor faults, it has also been used to make models look thinner, and this has led to a backlash from body-positive groups as well as charities concerned with eating disorders.

 Interestingly, it isn’t only health professionals that are concerned, as many celebrities have spoken out against extreme Photoshop manipulation and how unrealistic the results are compared to how the model really looks.

How Photoshop and Illustrator are used in the Fashion Industry

For advertising

Of course, Illustrator is used in graphic design for magazines and advertising too. Combined with Photoshop, it is almost all that anyone needs to produce a professional, quality fashion advert, as long as they have the experience and the talent.

 Of course, this software, with its manipulation features, is also able to abuse certain regulations, and this has happened more than once.

 Back in 2012, CoverGirl found itself in hot water over a mascara advert that had been tampered with by using Photoshop. The NAD or National Advertising Division investigated and ended the circulation of this advert due to Photoshop being used to exaggerate how effective the mascara was.

 While the company had put a tiny disclaimer at the bottom of the advert, the NAD felt the photoshopped work was misleading and would lead to consumers believing the mascara had powers it just couldn’t match. 

How Photoshop and Illustrator are used in the Fashion Industry

For hangtags and label design

Illustrator and Photoshop combine very well to produce labeling in the fashion industry. Hang tags are used by manufacturers to convey information to a consumer, and they can be used on clothing or other items. Depending on what product hang tags are used on, they might display the materials used, or they could have washing and care instructions.

The interesting thing about hang tags is that they are also a form of advertising. When you walk into a fashion retail outlet and look towards the clothes racks, these little tags are the last line in advertising. It is too late for you to see an advert or poster, but these tags are right there in the shop.

 By using good design, color, and Photoshop & Illustrator, a designer can make a small but effective way to attract potential customers to the garments or products.

 If you are studying fashion or have an interest in marketing your own clothing brand, then an online label maker can produce custom hang tags from your design or theirs. Hang tags also carry legal information that is required in the US, such as country of origin. 

How Photoshop and Illustrator are used in the Fashion Industry

For website design

Photography is a major part of the fashion industry, and many photographers would work on a freelance basis. While some magazines may have an in-house photographer, they are more likely to commission outsider professionals.

 Fashion photographers will use Photoshop to crop, adjust levels, colorize, add effects and filters, and remove blemishes. They also use the software for optimizing photos and resizing them for websites.

 A freelance fashion photographer needs a portfolio to get themselves noticed. While there are great website builders for photographers without any coding knowledge, they need to make their work look its best; Photoshop helps with this.

 There are some fantastic portfolios online from fashion photographers and others who work in different fields, and Photoshop has certainly been used to help prepare the work for the internet. 

How Photoshop and Illustrator are used in the Fashion Industry


The fashion industry uses Photoshop and Illustrator from the very beginning when would-be-designers are practicing at home, through to university and art or fashion schools, and then again once employed.

 The evidence of this software is apparent in glossy magazines, packaging including bags and boxes, in hangtags and another labeling, advertising, posters, and photo manipulation.

 While it is becoming increasingly unpopular to use Photoshop for extreme manipulation of models and body-positive images are becoming more fashionable, the app will continue to be used to remove blemishes, alter color balances and levels.

 Of course, one of the biggest areas that PS and AI are used are in the actual design of the clothes. Without this software, the fashion industry would still be using pen and paper.


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