Major Resource Kit

Fashion Merchandising

The Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies addresses the design, development, analysis, delivery and use of products and services. An industry-oriented approach is emphasized. Its programs prepare students for dynamic careers in apparel design and fashion merchandising. All students gain skills in verbal, written and visual presentation, computer networking, product development, business communication and project management. The Department offers industry-standard software in all majors. Extensive contracts and partnerships with business and industry enhance student opportunities, and international linkages and winter session travel/study programs enhance classroom instruction. Off-campus coursework is available through special arrangements with the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

The Fashion Merchandising major studies the planning, production, promotion and distribution of products in fashion industries to meet consumer demand. Students learn to define and analyze target markets, design and use visual communication, and plan and promote fashion products. Positions include fashion directors, merchandise buyers, corporate merchandise planners, and marketing directors. The Apparel Design major studies the conceptualization, design and pre-production of products for apparel-related industries. Students learn to translate inspiration into design, use technology to conceptualize and develop apparel design, and prepare promotional presentations. Positions include apparel designer, design development coordinators, and computer-aided design system managers.

Students interested in these business-oriented fields should contact the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, 211 Alison West, (302) 831-8714.

The Fashion Industry

The fashion industry is huge. Each year, over $250 billion is spent on fashion (including accessories) in the United States and over $20 billion in revenue is generated annually. Over 4 million people are employed in this industry which includes the following areas: design, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, retailing, advertising, communications, publishing and consulting. Fashion industry employers are located just about everywhere but most are concentrated in New York City (with over 5,000 showrooms), California (Los Angeles and San Francisco), Miami, London, Paris, and Italy. Large employers are based in cities such as Dallas (Neiman Marcus, Fossil), Ohio (Limited Brands), and Beaverton, OR (Nike). While some production still occurs in the United States and Europe, the majority is now done overseas (China, India, Mexico, South America). To compete in the fashion industry job market today, job seekers must have strong computer/technical skills (Excel, Photoshop, Illustrator, Quark Xpress) and understand the global economy, including manufacturing and textile technology.

Sample Job Titles

Bachelor's Degree/Entry Level
Further Education/Experience Often Required

Check the Dictionary of Occupational Titles under section 141 for additional related careers.

Enhancing Employability

Some Employers of Fashion Majors

Other Sources of Information

Resources for Finding Employment

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