Although uncommon, it is possible to find an online Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Fashion degree program. These programs allow students to view lectures through video streaming, and they can download course materials as their schedules permit, within set time periods. Students can interact with instructors and classmates through e-mail, chat rooms and online message boards.
These programs call for about two years of full-time study. Students must have a bachelor's degree and may be required to present a portfolio of their undergraduate work prior to admission. In addition to fashion marketing, the curriculum usually covers many aspects of the fashion industry, such as design, retail management and the history of fashion, along with current trends. Students learn what goes into developing a product line and study the components of visual merchandising.
Many programs offer the opportunity to choose a concentration in marketing or merchandising. In some of these programs, students can work with advisors to create a curriculum that helps them meet their career goals.
Master of Fine Arts in Fashion
The Master of Fine Arts in Fashion is a comprehensive program that offers students the opportunity to concentrate in areas such as design, textiles, knitwear or merchandising. Merchandising majors develop skills used in buying, retail management, product development and marketing. In addition to human resource management, students are trained in product sourcing, forecasting trends, business planning and visual merchandising.
Prerequisites typically include a bachelor's degree from an accredited school, letters of recommendation and a representative portfolio of undergraduate work.
Information and Requirements
Usually consisting of about 60 credit hours, the program can take over two years to complete. The courses are delivered entirely online. Students use discussion rooms, e-mail, telephone and fax to communicate with instructors. Web-based conferencing systems are often used for class participation.
Technical requirements include a computer with DSL or cable Internet access and Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 browser or Safari 4.0 browser or higher. Mozilla Firefox 3.5 or higher is also recommended. Windows XP or Mac OS X are usually required as well. Suitable video and sound cards are typically mandatory along with a DVD-ROM.
List of Common Fashion Marketing Courses
The curriculum allows students to focus on marketing while at the same time offering exposure to different elements of the fashion industry, including design and retail management. Students learn to coordinate the various elements that are used in developing successful business practices in the fashion industry.
Following today's emphasis on environmental and social awareness, students learn to design with a consideration for human and corporate responsibility. Keeping these principles in mind, students develop an effective merchandising and marketing plan.
Dynamics of Fashion
This is an overview of the fashion industry, covering such topics as product development, buying, sourcing, marketing and merchandising. Emphasis is placed on how each component is dependent on and relies upon the others.
Principles of Merchandising
Students learn about the operation of the merchandising department of a retail operation from the point of view of the buyer. Retail concepts and applicable mathematics are explored in financial planning for each retail season, product assortment, inventory calculations and negotiations with vendors.
Marketing and Promotion
Various aspects of marketing are considered in this overview course. Topics emphasized are sales promotion, market development, social networking, direct response and word-of-mouth marketing and promotion.
Trends and Product Development
Students learn trend gathering techniques and data analysis. They learn how to apply this information to the development of new products. Phases of the course include sourcing, research, merchandising, costing and marketing.
Career Information for Graduates
Typical occupations entered by graduates with a concentration in marketing include advertising managers, promotions managers, marketing managers and sales managers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), opportunities for advertising, promotions and marketing managers are expected to increase by 9% from 2014-2024. Over the same period, opportunities for sales managers are expected to increase by 5%. As of 2015, the BLS reported the median annual salary of marketing managers to be $128,750, while sales managers had a median salary of $113,860.
Continuing Education Information
Advancement in the field is usually accomplished by way of continuing education courses in various aspects of marketing. Individuals can attend courses offered at local colleges. Topics might include product management, international marketing, telemarketing, interactive marketing or market research. Often, employers subsidize such programs. Employers may also offer in-house management training programs.
Professional certificates in marketing are available online. Programs leading to a certificate require a bachelor's degree and include courses in strategic marketing, marketing planning, concepts and techniques of marketing and public relations.
The Association for Consumer Research, the American Marketing Association or the Association for International Product Management offer memberships and provides the opportunity for individuals to attend seminars, workshops and conferences that offer access to industry-related journals and magazines. While not legally necessary, some organizations also offer voluntary certification as a marketing professional. Certification often attests to the competence of the individual in the field of marketing.
Overall, online MFA in Fashion programs are highly multidisciplinary, combining fashion design studies with business management and retail marketing coursework. Graduates are prepared executive positions within the fashion industry, and they can also seek professional certifications in marketing to enhance their resumes.