Students interested in fashion production can find Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in fashion design and production or in apparel product design and merchandising. These programs can instruct students in the business of fashion from initial consumer research to retail placement and brand promotion. Most students complete a fashion industry internship for hands-on, real-world experience and develop a portfolio to highlight their garment design skills. Program admission requires a high school education or its equivalent.
Bachelor's Degree in Fashion Production
A bachelor's degree program in fashion production includes courses that utilize knowledge in fashion history, art and math. Students also take a range of business courses to help them understand the demands of a variety of fashion industry careers. A typical bachelor's degree curriculum consists of the following courses:
- Apparel product development
- Clothing construction
- Fashion illustration
- Presentation and merchandising
- Fashion promotion
Popular Career Options
A bachelor's degree in fashion production can lead to middle- or upper-management careers in fashion production and design, as well as business-oriented positions. Graduates may find employment as:
- Fashion designers
- Computer-aided pattern makers
- Retail buyers
- Apparel product development engineers
- Fashion and apparel merchandisers
Salary Information and Employment Outlook
The median annual salary for fashion designers as of May 2015 was $63,670, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS additionally reports that pattern makers earned a median yearly salary of $43,900 at that time, while wholesale and retail buyers brought in a median salary of $52,940 annually. PayScale.com listed median annual wages of $69,709 for general product development engineers and $50,393 for fashion merchandisers in January 2016.
The BLS predicts a 3% percent increase in jobs for fashion designers from 2014-2024. During the same period, employment of pattern makers is expected to decline 2%, and opportunities for buyers and purchasing agents are projected to increase by 2%, the BLS states.
Continuing Education Information
Although the BLS notes that most fashion designers and purchasing managers hold a bachelor's degree, some graduates may wish to pursue advanced education in order to rise to top management occupations or open an independent business (www.bls.gov). Graduate certificates in fashion or retail merchandising usually require taking five or six courses in topics such as consumer behavior, fashion theory, retailing and merchandising management. Students wishing to earn a master's degree may choose fashion, textiles, retail merchandising or another relevant discipline, such as marketing or business administration, to advance their understanding of the industry.
A bachelor's degree program in fashion production teaches students the business side of the fashion industry to prepare them for their career. Graduates can earn a master's degree, graduate certificate or work as fashion designers, buyers and merchandisers.