Information About Fashion Merchandising Programs

Fashion merchandising is designed for individuals who enjoy keeping up-to-date with the latest fashion trends, and wish to become knowledgeable about fabrics and textiles. Those who participate in fashion merchandising programs are typically very interested in current fashion, as well as creating their own fashion trends. If friends are always asking, “Where did you get that great _____? I’ve never seen anything like it!” then this type of program may a perfect fit.

Not only will students in these programs learn about the materials with which clothes and accessories are created, but they will also be introduced to the manufacturing, buying, promoting, and selling processes. Another important skill students may gain is the ability to fashion forecast, which involves being able to predict which fashions will sell well in stores, as well as analyzing other stores, magazines, and competitor prices to see which fashions are selling.

Being able to work independently is a valuable skill to possess, but fashion merchandisers must also be able to work with a team. The input of others is valuable in this field, as one individual may see an issue others have missed. Merchandisers must also coordinate with financial departments, buyers, product development teams, and manufacturers in their line of work.

While in this program, students should also receive a history of the fashion world. Often, trends return may years later, reemerging with a new twist, or just in the same way they were worn in the beginning. One such example is leggings, which were popular in the 1960s and 70s, and resurfaced again in the 2000s. Understanding the history of fashion will also be useful when dealing with vintage items and being able to discuss certain topics with other fashion-forward individuals.

Those who wish to follow this career path should also be prepared to develop exceptional math and accounting skills. These skills will be necessary in the processes of design, production, and cost planning. Knowledge of certain formulas should also be understood in order to calculate markup, cost of goods sold, and return on investment. These individuals are also often in charge of analyzing sales numbers, managing a budget, planning sales, setting pricing, and deciding when to liquidate inventory.

Students should also be studying different brands and retailers throughout the course of these programs. Understanding exactly where particular interests may assist in the job search after graduation. Studying certain companies may also be helpful, as some companies’ products encompass all available trends and items, while others focus on a handful of products.