Studying fashion merchandising prepares students for careers in the world of fashion. Traveling to Paris, Milan, New York, Tokyo and other fashion centers for previews of upcoming season trends gives this field an exotic edge, but professionals can expect to work long and hard before arriving at such industry heights. After graduating from college, many students who majored in fashion merchandising will take jobs that impart practical, entry-level skills before moving on to more exciting, impactful positions.
Connecting Designers With Business
Fashion merchandising majors leave school with skill sets associated with analyzing and forecasting fashion trends, according to the Fashion Institute of Design and Marketing. Students learn to identify trends based on a designer’s or company’s target market. Because fashion merchandisers connect designers with businesses, the major also involves understanding how seasonal “buy plans” relate to profit goals for a business. Merchandisers learn to use industry-specific technology to research and make purchases. Finally, the major involves communication and interpersonal skills, since many potential jobs for fashion merchandizing majors relate to teamwork and creative collaboration.
Fashionably Different Paths
Although many people immediately think of clothing when it comes to fashion, apparel and accessories is just one potential avenue for potential fashion merchandising graduates. Designers also rely on fashion merchandisers to connect businesses with their home fashion designs; for example, fashion related to artistically designed furniture, window hangings or decorative objects. Some schools that have fashion merchandising majors offer specialized classes or programs that allow students to focus on apparel or home décor, according to an LIM College article, “Fashion Merchandising Major.”
Be A Fashion Buyer
Some students with a fashion merchandising degree take jobs as fashion buyers for large department stores or trendy boutiques, according to Northern Illinois University. Buyers stay abreast of trends by attending fashion shows, reading fashion magazines, and networking with designers or other buyers. Anticipating needs for the upcoming season, fashion merchandisers purchase designer lines or specific items for later sale.
Showcase Your Retailing Expertise
Other jobs for merchandising majors relates to presentation savvy in retail stores. A fashion merchandiser might create attractive displays in storefront windows to tempt pedestrians into visiting the shop. These merchandisers might work for a large retail establishment, creating display designs that other employees will replicate in satellite stores. Merchandisers could also design one-of-a-kind storefront displays for smaller dress shops or boutiques in order to showcase new products.
Shaping Celebrity Fashion
After graduating with a fashion merchandising major, students might take on jobs in styling, according to the Miami International University of Art and Design in Florida. Stylists help celebrities or other clients assemble outfits for special occasions, carefully selecting clothing and accessories that help project the client in a certain way. Some clients might want a classic, tailored look, for example, while other clients rely on stylists to choose edgy, trendy runway styles that emphasize connections with emerging designers. Fashion magazines or TV shows also rely on stylists to create consistent, appealing looks.
- Princeton Review: Major: Fashion Merchandising
- Miami International University of Art and Design: Fashion Merchandising Bachelor of Arts
- Careers in Fashion: Fashion Marketing
- Northern Illinois University: Textiles, Apparel and Merchandising
- LIM College: Fashion Merchandising
- Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising: Merchandise Marketing
- John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images