How to Make 5 Popular Styles of Fashion Collage

Fashion collages are all the rage on social media, especially on image-sharing sites like Pinterest and Instagram where the chic and artistic go for inspiration. Search one of these sites and you will find almost any iteration of fashion collage based on your style preferences—orange sweaters, or mod monochromatic, or hypebeast streetwear—but they're about more than just putting together an OOTD (outfit of the day).

Fashion collages are about apparel, sure, but they are also about collecting what inspires fashion design, putting together the aesthetics that inform personal style, and assembling evocative visuals to outwardly communicate the ideas in your head. That's where we come in, consider PicMonkey your digital tailor and atelier assistant, ready to hand you the tools you need to arrange a gorgeous fashion collage. We've chose five trendy styles and we have tips for how to make them right here in PicMonkey.

Surreal fashion collage: Pile on the dreamlike layers

Using surrealist principles in your fashion collage gives you the freedom to combine visual elements that together provoke a certain feeling—like lushness and femininity.

When you think of surreal do you think of the melting clocks of Salvador Dalí, of Magritte's self portrait, or maybe your weird recurring dream about elephant ballet? There's nothing like seeing objects out of context to force the viewer to reconsider their assumptions, which is why the work of surrealist artists sought to combine the irrationality of imagination with the reality of the lucid world—to unsettle, but in a good way. This genre of fashion collage is all about refocusing perspective to tickle the imagination.

Creating a surreal fashion collage in PicMonkey:

  • Crop your photo using the Image palette to leave only the hands (or head or eyes, etc), then use the Background Remover tool on the image to remove the rest of the photo.

  • Create a big wow factor by applying textures to graphics. Open a graphic on your canvas (like the basic oval shape, for instance), and with it selected go to Textures tab (the woven diamond icon) and select Gradient (or whatever you like). Adjust and apply.

  • Also try our photo-realistic graphics like Paint Strokes (find them in the Design category) and layer the photo-real elements with illustrated floral graphics and paint graphics.

Magazine-style fashion collage: Combine words & pictures to tell a story

Once upon a time every teenage girl and boy had a cut-and-paste collage hung somewhere in their bedroom.

Consisting of cobbled together magazine title-case words, celebrity or model photos ripped from the pages, decal stickers, and cut-out photos of friends, these precocious works of art were a form of youthful expression telling a story about a specific time and place. Guess what? They're still en vogue, and you can assemble one digitally to tell your current tale of heartbreak, hope, or home decor goals (depending on where you are in life).

Creating a magazine-style fashion collage in PicMonkey:

  • Compile photos to include in the design, or search our library of millions of royalty-free stock photos to find whatcha want.

  • Layer, crop, chop, skew, resize, and rotate to get a truly glued-together look.

  • Add text on top of solid-color shape graphics to make your words stand out, and don't be afraid to combine two or more font pairings.

  • Achieve the glitchy retro layered look (like the arms in the above design) by copy/pasting an image or graphic three or four times, then applying a texture or solid color to the duplicated layers.

Half-sketch half-photo fashion collage: Get a graphic-novelesque look

Never again be left wishing that you'd worn something else—just find a cute cartoon dress and layer it over a photo.

The playfulness of this style of half-photo and half-sketch collage is apparent and lends itself well to fun and flirty designs that don't take themselves too seriously. You can literally wear anything you want when you layer a clothing graphic on a photo, and you can appear to be anywhere you like when you create a wallpaper background using textures, photos, or more graphics.

Creating a sketch-on-photo fashion collage in PicMonkey:

  • The key design tools to use for achieving this look are, once again, that magical Background Remover tool and the simple-but-mighty eraser.

  • Remove the background of a photo to leave only the subject.

  • Select a clothing graphic and size it to fit, change the colors, or apply a texture to it.

  • To make your clothing graphic appear to be layered under the subject's sweater, use the eraser from the Image palette to remove the part of the dress that covers the cardigan.

  • Add a graphic-novelesque background by stretching a solid shape graphic and erasing part of it so it blends with the photo. Send it backwards, under the subject, using the arrows atop the Layers palette.

  • You can add character to your background by apply a texture or layering on more graphics like we did here.

Shape and color collage: Bring basics together beautifully

There's a reason that shapes and colors are some of the first things children learn, they are the fundamental building blocks of our world, and the cornerstone of design.

With infinite combinations, shapes and colors can combine to bring anything you can imagine to visual life. The fashion industry is all about shapes and colors—the a-line dress, the classic white oxford shirt, the boxy blazer, Valentino red—refined products of, most likely, experimenting with color and shape. Just like kids learn through playing with crayons and blocks, creating a fashion collage with shape graphics and color palettes can help your imagination get to where it wants to go—while enjoying the creative journey along the way.

Creating a color and shape fashion collage in PicMonkey:

  • The sky is the limit here, so start simple and experiment until you see your vision start to materialize through shape and color combinations.

  • Open a blank canvas and add simple graphics. Change their color and size, flip them or rotate.

  • Check out the animated GIF graphics to add a little motion to your design.

  • Want quick color palette inspiration? Try our color palette generator—choose a photo and the tool extracts the main colors from it to tell you the hex codes.

Monoline drawing fashion collage: Highlight the dramatic angles

Accentuate angles and add an illustrative flourish to your design when you combine monoline graphics and photos.

Monoline drawing is a minimalist, single-line sketching method that is both brisk and deliberate at the same time. The growing popularity of simple monoline drawing is perhaps in reaction to increasingly complicated technology. For this reason, it's appealing to the fashion and art worlds because it forces design ideas to reduce to their most basic lines—the bend of an elbow, the curve of a shoulder. The delicate lines of our Monoline People graphics applied to a photo elegantly accentuate the design.

Creating a monoline drawing fashion collage in PicMonkey:

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Sarah Gonzales

Sarah Gonzales is the content marketing manager at PicMonkey. Before this she worked at Intiut, and before that started a non-profit, and before that had a radio show, and before that worked at Ms. magazine, and before that went to UC Berkeley, and before ALL of that grew up in Alaska.