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- 1 What is Fashion Merchandising?
- 2 Top Fashion Merchandising Degrees
- 3 Educational Requirements in Merchandising
- 4 Employment in Fashion Merchandising
- 5 Fashion Merchandising Jobs & Industry Growth
- 6 Fashion Art Schools Near You
What is Fashion Merchandising?
Fashion merchandising involves developing an understanding of the fashion industry, including anticipating consumer demand and identifying growing trends in order to take advantage of market conditions and to release products in order to take advantage of such demand. Individuals working in the field will use a variety of research models in order to extrapolate information for use in the decision making process.
Marketing, business, merchandising and analytical skills are all utilized by individuals when attempting to track market forces. Individuals in this field may find themselves specializing in a particular area of fashion merchandising or focusing on a specific market group.
Top Fashion Merchandising Degrees
A number of degree programs exist for those seeking to enter the fashion merchandising field or progress in the field with additional educational opportunities. Programs range from certificate programs through bachelor degrees in fashion merchandising. Whether you elect to learn in a classroom or online, degrees in merchandising can help you reach our career goals. A summary of each degree type is listed below:
Certificate Programs in Fashion Merchandising
Certificate programs in fashion merchandising are offered via several accredited colleges and universities found on this resource page. Certificate programs will come in two distinct types: graduate and undergraduate. The undergraduate certificate program is an entry-level program focused on providing students with core skills and key concepts to navigate merchandising from the ground up.
Graduate certificate programs, on the other hand, are upper-level courses designed for working professionals and qualifying students to upskill, add key knowledge, advance their career, or prepare for a job transition. To learn more about certificate options, simply select the button below or sort by schools on this page to find the perfect college program for you.
Associate Degrees in Fashion Merchandising
The associate degree in fashion merchandising can be conferred as an Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) as a function of the coursework and school’s accreditation parameters. Specializations in the associate degree track can include: Merchandising and Marketing, Fashion Marketing, Merchandise Product Development.
The 2-year associate’s degree will provide students with liberal arts classes such as math, sociology, and psychology to help students think differently about the world around them. Core classes in the associate degree program can include classes such as: sales management, consumer behavior, event promotion, advertising, merchandise management, business management, financial management, apparel production, retail operations, visual merchandising, and brand marketing.
Bachelor Degrees in Fashion Merchandising
The bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising is a four-year program for full-time students and longer for part-time students as a function of course load and completion. Bachelor degrees can be conferred as Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Arts (BA), or Bachelor of Science (BS) dependent upon the curricular design of the program.
A bachelor’s degree provides students with additional liberal arts classes and core courses to help them fill-in their skill set, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Students will take core classes in graphic design, business management, theory of design, manufacturing, leadership, economics, retail management, marketing, textiles fundamentals, forecasting, retailing basics, sales promotion, image manipulation, digital illustration, digital imaging, procurement, contemporary design, and visual imaging.
The overarching goals of the bachelor’s degree program in fashion merchandising is to prepare students by providing them tools to become effective communicators, merchandising professionals, marketing experts, technologically proficient, and effective visual merchandisers.
Educational Requirements in Merchandising
A degree in fashion merchandising prepares an individual with the skills necessary to track market trends, identify new fashions, approximate costs and evaluate demand for various products in the fashion industry. Fashion merchandising is a growing field; certificate and degree programs have become more commonplace and often explore the business side of fashion. A fashion merchandising program will impart multiple skills ranging from the artistic to business.
Individuals enrolled in a fashion merchandising program will be exposed to various fashions, trends, and design principles. Utilizing case studies, students will learn about how trends may impact the market, and how new fashions may be introduced into a given area.
Students will also learn about manufacturing pipelines, how to develop and maintaining relationships with various suppliers and manufacturers, as well as understanding the process for production and the costs associated for orders of varying size. In addition, business courses will be taken, providing understanding of basic economic principles and managerial methods. A curriculum in fashion merchandising may include:
- Import and Export
- Production Methods
Employment in Fashion Merchandising
As it is a burgeoning field there is no standard degree for entry level positions, and talent carries a significant amount of weight. Positions requiring cost-benefit analyses on production, and equivalent statistical reporting may require higher levels of education or several years of experience.
A fashion merchandiser must constantly be on the lookout for developing trends, and must be able to examine previous fashion trends to predict product purchases for stores, or production runs for designers.
Individuals in this field should be able to distinguish themselves by demonstrating industry knowledge and accurately understanding the forces that are in effect when considering marketing solutions and production options.
Some possible career paths include:
- Fashion Advertising Agent
- Event Planner
- Store Buyer
- Promotion Specialist
Fashion Merchandising Jobs & Industry Growth
Job growth in fashion merchandising is expected to grow significantly faster than average over the next decade. This is due to burgeoning markets locally, nationally, and internationally. The desire for professionals who understand fashion production and can identify trends in the market is expected to increase as the ability to deliver goods to previously untapped markets increases. This is coupled with an increased interest in fashion by the middle class which will increase the demand for varying fashions in the future.
The average salary for someone with a degree in fashion merchandise is $60,700 per year, but can vary wildly based on career path, experience, and employer. The outlook for the industry over the next ten years is steady with an expected 7,200 fashion merchandisers expected to join the ranks of the profession.
List of Fashion Industry Associations
- American Apparel and Footwear Association
- Fashion Center
- California Fashion Association
- Fashion Group International
- Council of Fashion Designers of America
- Fashion Footwear Association of New York
- AAFA Global
- American Apparel Producers' Network
- Fashion Group International
- International Textile and Apparel Association
- NRF: National Retail Federation
- Council of Fashion Designers of America
- Business of Fashion
- Costume Society of America
- Association of Sewing and Design Professionals
Fashion Art Schools Near You
The team at MatchCollege is always looking for ways to help students and working professionals find important information about higher education. We have sorted fashion art programs by size, degree type, area of concentration, state, and school type. For visual learners, we have included an alphabetical list of the top ranked fashion art schools in the country for additional research purposes.