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Fashion Merchandising by Apparel Search - Terms of Interest to the Fashion Industry

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In this section you will learn about Fashion Merchandising and what it takes to become a fashion merchandiser.

Do you often impress your friends with your trendy accessories and chic shoes? If yes, maybe you should consider a career in fashion.  More specifically, maybe your are destined to become a fashion merchandiser.  Apparel companies are almost always in search of talented fashion designers and merchandisers. 

Are you ready to "educate" yourself regarding clothing and textiles?  Invest some time in earning a degree in fashion merchandising.

Typically a fashion merchandising program is designed to prepare students to enter fashion merchandising positions in the apparel and textile industry.  These positions include various aspects of design, manufacturing, purchasing, distribution, quality control, and the promotion of fashion related products.  A degree in fashion merchandising provides students with product knowledge of textiles and apparel as well as an understanding of socioeconomic influences and business skills relevant to merchandising fashion.  After a member of the apparel industry has an educational background in fashion merchandising, they have opened the door to various career paths.  They will have the knowledge to be professionally involved with fashion coordinating, fashion promoting, fashion advertising, fashion display, fashion copyrighting, fashion photography, fashion buying, and store managing.

We suggest that you apply yourself with the goal of obtaining a full degree. However, if you do not have the time, money, or energy, we suggest that you at least take a few courses.  It is important to take classes or training so that you’ll learn about fibers, fabrics, and at least a little in regard to garment manufacturing At a fashion school you will have an opportunity to study various areas of fashion including the cultures that help shape the way people dress.  As a fashion merchandising student, you will learn about fabrics, trend forecasting, fashion history, buying skills and more. 

During your research, you will find several educational facilities that offer a degree in fashion merchandising.  When selecting the school that is right for you, it is a good idea to meet with a the schools guidance counselor before enrollment.  In your meeting, you can ask questions about the school as well as the educators.  For example, find out if the professors have had direct experience in the field of fashion merchandising.  In addition, you can ask if the college has a career center to assist you with employment or possible internships in fashion merchandising after you graduate.  You can ask other relevant questions before making your final decision in regard to which school is best for you.

Each school may have different requirements for you to obtain a degree in fashion merchandising.  Here is an example of the course summary from one highly established school, " Fashion merchandising is a two-year career program leading to an associate in applied science degree.  The fashion merchandising curriculum provides all phases of fashion merchandising, not only in business aspects, but also in aesthetic and creative sides of fashion, such as window display, fashion basics and textiles. Students will study fashion history and trends as well as their influence on our lives. In addition, they will survey the development of style leading up to contemporary design. Students will also take courses in English composition, computer information systems, sociology, and introductory psychology."  Again, this is only an example.  Course requirements will vary year by year and by school.  Many schools offer field trips so that you can meet with fashion industry professionals outside of the classroom environment.  This is a very beneficial method of learning and you should take part when this opportunity becomes available to you.  Visiting an actually fashion industry environment, will help improve you understanding of what will be expected of you when you enter the workforce as a designer or merchandiser.  Viewing employees in their true business surroundings is a very good experience for people interested in a fashion career.

Although courses are highly recommended, you also need to be a creative thinker with an eye for designer and color.  Also, you have to be prepared for hard work.  It is not just fun shopping... You will have hard analytical activities and market research if you wish to become a successful fashion merchandiser in a professional setting.

The fashion industry is a fast paced and ever-changing environment.   At the heart of this industry is retailing, which may be considered one of the most challenging area of the fashion business.  Successful merchandisers must understand all aspects of color, design, fashion trends, buying patterns, demographics etc.  It is the merchandiser who is responsible for identifying the wants of the consumer and for planning, buying, and selling merchandise to ensure profit and to contribute to the growth of the business.  Although fashion industry executives make key decisions that effect the market, ultimately fashion is consumer-driven.  Therefore as a fashion merchandiser, it is important to have a strong sense of style, but also have an understanding that consumer taste varies.  It is important to develop fashion for the target market, not simply designs that you personally find appealing. 

Merchandising is an exciting area of the fashion industry with abundant opportunities for those who commit themselves to their career goals.  If you choose to become a fashion merchandising graduate, you may find entry-level opportunities as a retail manager trainee, merchandise coordinator, showroom sales representative, visual merchandiser, product development trainee, fashion boutique owner, event planner, fashion forecaster, merchandise planner, fashion journalist, etc.

Fashion design and merchandising can be a very exciting and rewarding career path.  If you enjoy the latest fashions and have a keen interest in fabric and style, give fashion merchandising a try.  We think that you will find this to be a rewarding career.

Links of interest:
Fashion Job Search
Fashion Industry Network

Written by ML at Apparel Search July 16th, 2007

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