Jobs in Fashion Merchandising Management: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in fashion merchandising management. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and education requirements. Schools offering Fashion Design & Merchandising degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Fashion Merchandising Manager?

Fashion is a worldwide multi-billion dollar business, offering many jobs to trained individuals with an interest in fashion and sales. On the creative side, fashion designers work in artistry, fabrics and design to create a product that can be sold to store buyers or directly to consumers. They may work alone or as part of a team. Every clothing store has purchasing experts who study fashion trends and select the styles their stores will carry. These purchasing agents negotiate deals with manufacturers and keep records of what was purchased and when it should be delivered. Within retail stores are managers who use their skills to promote those fashions in a creative manner for customers to buy. Their job duties may include overseeing staff, developing sales strategies and ensuring that customers are satisfied.

The table below will give you some quick facts about these job options.

Fashion Designers Purchasing Managers Retail Managers
Degree Required Bachelor's Bachelor's Associate's or bachelor's
Education Field of Study Fashion design or fashion merchandising Fashion merchandising management, marketing and advertising Fashion merchandising management, marketing and advertising
Key Skills Creativity, business management skills and analytical skills Creativity, business management skills and analytical skills Creativity, business management skills and analytical skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) 3%* 2% for all industries* 5% for sales managers*
Median Salary (2015) $61,382** $64,615 for all industries** $44,131 for retail managers**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

What Types of Jobs are Available in Fashion Merchandising Management?

Fashion merchandising management includes fashion design, buying, retail management, inventory management and other areas of merchandising. You may work for a department store chain or for an apparel manufacturer, planning and allocating fashion product distribution. You may also choose an entrepreneurial path, running your own retail operation or managing your own fashion business.

What Skills Will be Helpful in This Career?

A career in fashion merchandising management requires a blend of creative skills, business management skills and analytical skills. In addition to having an instinct for and knowledge of style, you'll need to understand distribution and inventory, vendor and employee relationships, and marketing. Planning for the coming seasons will always be an important part of your work, so project management skills will be crucial as well. Statistical analysis skills and training can help you to analyze market information and make decisions on buying, price points and inventory.

What Education Do I Need?

Most employers will require you to have an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree for a position in fashion merchandising management. Relevant bachelor's degree programs include fashion merchandising management, marketing and advertising. Some programs offer specialization in areas such as textile development and marketing. Most educational programs in the field offer internship opportunities, which provide opportunities to make contacts in the field and to see firsthand the application of marketing, management and fashion coursework in a merchandising environment.

What Can I Expect to Earn?

According to, the median salary for fashion designers was $61,382 in 2017. Working as a purchasing manager in that same year earned a median salary of $64,615, and a retail manager earned a median salary of $44,131. The BLS notes that competition is strong for positions in the field of fashion design as the job outlook for fashion designers is expected to grow 3% between 2014 and 2024. The number of jobs for purchasing managers of all industries is only expected to grow 2%, while the number of retail managers in all industries is expected to increase by 5% in the same decade.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Many fields related to fashion merchandising will require at least a bachelor's degree. Some of these careers could include positions as graphic designers, logisticians, or public relations specialist. Graphic designers use their art skills in producing art work for commercial purposes such as ad layouts or animated digital promotions. Logisticians collaborate with a variety of purchasers and suppliers to work out the transport of products across borders or across oceans. Finally, public relations specialist works to create favorable public images for people, products or organizations.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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