In the fashion industry, radical change is something that happens literally with every changing season. The world of fashion is fickle and fast-paced. Fashion merchandisers must have the skills and know how to wear many hats within their industry. The most successful fashion merchandisers have the eye of a designer and the business savvy of an executive and can marry those skill sets seamlessly.
Those pursuing a career in fashion merchandising should first obtain a degree from an accredited postsecondary design school. A formal education is necessary for aspiring fashion merchandisers to develop the wide range of skills required to perform at a professional level. A good fashion merchandising expert must have style, talent, and a high degree of marketing skills to make it in the business. Right out of school fashion merchandising students typically start as a management trainee for a retail store, with the hopes of moving up into an assistant buyer position once they have some experience under their belt.
Job Opportunities in Fashion Merchandising
A variety of jobs fall under the umbrella of fashion merchandising. Everything from creating customer awareness of fashion trends to building attractive displays to feature clothing and accessories falls within an average day at work. Fashion merchandising professionals can fill positions such as merchandise managers, buyers, or wholesalers. Others may work as fashion coordinators or visual merchandisers, designing displays for apparel and accessories. With a degree in fashion merchandising one can also take on a retail management position or open boutique. Some even become fashion consultants or fashion forecasters.
Degrees in Fashion Merchandising
There are Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees offered in fashion merchandising. The curriculum aims to impart a thorough understanding of the global fashion industry as well as a strong foundation of design and creation of a variety of fashion apparel and accessories. A working knowledge of the creative processes involved in designing clothing, accessories and footwear is required to be a fashion merchandising professional.
The curriculum doesn’t stop there; fashion merchandising students must acquire strong business, marketing and management skills, as well as study the psychology of consumer behavior as it applies to their field.
Fashion merchandising students also learn about influential fashion designers and the history of fashion, display and textiles. They attend marketing seminars and buying sessions to gain valuable experience in the field. The courses also provide students with the opportunity to interact and collaborate with seasoned professionals in the fashion industry, allowing them to benefit from their years of experience in the business, and build industry contacts that will certainly be an incredible impetus to a successful career in the industry.
Dedicated students who strive to master all of the elements involved in their future profession can expect lucrative careers once they earn their degrees and get some experience in the “real world” of fashion merchandising. Creativity and an eye for style make up a huge part of the success, or lack thereof, of fashion merchandising students. There are some elements of the job that can’t be taught, and those with a natural sense of style with discerning visual sensibilities will usually rise to the top of the class.
While no student should expect to earn a magnificent salary right out of school, the entry level positions in fashion merchandising do pay fairly well, especially when compared to other fields among the artistic industries.
Study Fashion Merchandising Online
For those who don’t have the time or resources to complete a traditional course of study, online degrees in fashion merchandising are available. A simple online search should yield a variety of results to consider. The basic curriculum and skills that are developed in these courses mirror those obtained from traditional studies, but with an increased emphasis on self study. This option requires a lot of discipline, and may not be right for everybody.
Whether you choose an online program or a traditional one, you will want to make sure the institution you plan to attend is fully accredited so that your degree will be recognized by employers in the industry. The path to becoming a successful fashion merchandising professional is not easy, but with sound choices, hard work, and a little god given talent, a bright future in the fashion business can be yours.