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Fashion Merchandising

The Breakdown

Do you spend hours poring over magazines such as Vogue and Elle, attempting to predict the potential comeback of the culottes? Are you sensitive to the differences between azure and periwinkle? Do you enjoy tracking the sales numbers of Yves Saint Laurent? If you want to be at the crossroads of fashion and business, then you should look into studying fashion merchandising.

If you decide to major in fashion merchandising, you’ll learn how fashion makes its way from the runway into the hands of customers across the globe. You will study how fashion and retail professionals meet customer need through market research, promotion, production and distribution. Further, you’ll learn about buying and product development. And you’ll likely increase your business acumen with classes covering topics such as financial planning and e-commerce. Finally, many programs require an internship allowing you to graduate with some real word experience.

Students who pursue fashion merchandising will need to be creative thinkers who also demonstrate practical business sense. They must balance a superior understanding of color and style with deep market knowledge and quantitative finesse. Further, fashion and retail are people-oriented industries so solid communication skills are also a must. And of course, a sixth sense for trends will prove extremely beneficial.

Nuts and Bolts

As a fashion merchandising major, you’ll learn all the ins and outs of the business with courses such as: Introduction to Fashion Marketing, The Marketing of Menswear, Introduction to Direct Marketing, Import Buying, Principles of Retailing, Financial Accounting, History of Costume, Product Development, Strategies of Selling, Fashion Inventory Management, Fashion Planning and Allocation, Global Merchandising and Principles in Apparel Design.

Decisions, Decisions…

Fashion merchandising majors are able to combine their business savvy with an eye for aesthetics. Therefore, it’s likely they would also be interested in advertising, marketing, fashion design, textile design, fabric styling, home products development, jewelry design, mass communication, entrepreneurship and international business.

What’s Next?

It’s common for most fashion merchandising majors to make a beeline for the fashion and retail industries. Of course, even within those fields, there is a range of positions available. Some fashion merchandising grads work for apparel manufacturers, textile mills or design studios. Others find positions within fashion forecasting firms, fashion magazines and retail businesses. And still others might find employment with advertising or public relations firms. The specific nature of the work could entail buying, planning and allocation, product development, retail management or selling. Lastly, possible job titles could include assistant buyer, merchandise manager, imaging assistant, fashion editor, market researcher and public relations executive.


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