A program such as a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising combines an overview of fashion trends and technologies with a strong understanding of business principles. Fashion merchandising majors learn both the creative and the practical sides of the fashion industry. They gain an understanding not only of the tools and technical aspects of fashion design, but also the business acumen necessary to market, display, sell and buy fashion goods and textiles. To apply to these programs, students will need a high school diploma and to complete some general education courses. An internship and a related minor are typically required during the programs.
Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising
There are several subjects related to fashion that are covered in a 4-year fashion merchandising degree program. Most degree programs append classroom lectures with laboratory or studio experience and an internship experience. Many fashion merchandising majors also choose a related minor, such as marketing, business, fashion history, criticism or management. Course topics include:
- Marketing principles
- Mass and visual merchandising
- Fashion buying
- Retail management
- Advanced textiles & surface design
Graduates have several career opportunities at fashion retailers, wholesalers and design firms. Potential positions include:
- Fashion buyer
- Fashion director or editor
- Retail manager or fashion human relations manager
- Product developer
- Textile or fashion merchandiser
- Showroom sales assistant
- Fashion designer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), buyers and purchasing agents earned a median annual wage of $62,220 as of May 2015. Job opportunities for these professionals were expected to grow by 2% from 2014-2024. Employment for fashion designers is anticipated to grow by 3% over the same period with a median salary of $63,670 as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Options
Former fashion merchandising majors do have some advanced educational opportunities available. Graduate degrees in the field include a Master of Science in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design or a Master of Science in Fashion Design and Merchandising. These provide a more in-depth understanding of the fashion industry, including the major players, designers, buyers and trends. They also often require the completion of a thesis project or research paper that further examines a particular aspect of the fashion merchandising field, such as buyer trends in a new millennium or textiles technologies.
Fashion merchandising programs teach students how to properly market material-based products and excel in a fashion retail environment. The concepts covered in this program are varied, including aspects of business, fashion history and design, and general management skills.