Fashion and apparel merchandising is the promotion and sale of clothing and accessories, especially those articles of wear that are the prevailing trend. Read on to see if a career in fashion and apparel merchandising would be a satisfying choice for you.
There are several job opportunities in the fashion and apparel merchandising field. You may be a fashion merchandiser, fashion director, marketing director, merchandise inventory analyst, wholesale buyer, purchasing agent, retail buyer or retail salesperson.
To be involved in fashion merchandising, you must have an understanding of the design, manufacturing, buying, selling and distribution of goods with knowledge about the target consumer. This means not just knowing what's popular now, but staying ahead of the fashion curve and correctly predicting what will sell well in the near future. This entails analyzing trends and being educated in textiles, fabrics and colors, as well as production processes and market demands.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2012 that wholesale and retail buyers of all commodities other than farm products earned a median annual wage of $51,470 (www.bls.gov). The BLS does not have statistics for fashion merchandisers specifically. However, Payscale.com reported that the majority of fashion merchandisers had an annual wage between $25,869 and $68,991 in March 2014. Furthermore, Payscale.com cited that the gross national median wage for retail store managers was $46,628, while marketing managers earned $52,000 in median wages.
A degree program in fashion and apparel merchandising is interdisciplinary, since it requires knowledge of both fashion and business. Within these programs, you should anticipate taking courses in art history, fabric design, textiles, apparel production, fashion and visual merchandising, as well as courses in business, economics and marketing.
You may choose to earn an associate's degree in fashion merchandising or a bachelor's degree in fashion and apparel. You could apply to residential or online apparel merchandising programs. If you have your eye on a management position, you may wish to pursue a master's degree in merchandising as well. If you already have a marketing or business degree, you could consider earning a certificate in fashion merchandising. Certificate programs often focus on fashion theory and analysis, textiles, fashion merchandising and consumer behavior in fashion retailing. Internships are required for the majority of fashion merchandising degree programs.