Careers in Fashion Merchandising

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

What Career Options Are Available in Fashion Merchandising?

Fashion merchandising involves the selling, purchasing and marketing of clothing, accessories and other textiles. There are a number of ways in which you could work in this field: as a purchasing manager, retail buyer, or merchandise deployer. Purchasing managers are in charge of all the purchasing for the store or company they work for. They collaborate with other company executives to understand what kind of fashion they want sell for the upcoming season or year. Generally, retail buyers work under the supervision of purchasing managers. They may travel to various conventions and shows to look at merchandise and decide whether not to buy it. As a merchandise displayer, you would be in charge of creating attractive displays with the fashion pieces, like styling mannequins and creating window scenes. The table below outlines the general requirements for some career options in this field.

Purchasing ManagerRetail Department BuyersMerchandise Displayer
Degree Required Bachelor's degreeHigh school diploma, associate's or bachelor's degree High school diploma, associate's or bachelor's degree
Education Field of StudyFashion merchandising/designFashion merchandising/designFashion merchandising/design
Key Skills
Average Salary (2015) $114,130*$59,270*$29,790*
Job Growth (2014-2024) 1%*6%*3%*

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Might I Do as a Fashion Merchandiser?

Fashion merchandising is a large and diverse field; you may work in women's, men's or children's apparel, publishing, marketing and related markets. Some of the specific careers available to you are listed below:

  • Fashion forecasters track and forecast the latest trends in the fashion industry, using information from retailers, designers and fashion publications. You might work for designers, corporate offices or other clients. Forecasts are based on analyzing trends and past sales, identifying the target market and keeping track of popular culture and other influences.
  • As merchandiser or product developer, you will likely act as a link between manufacturer and customer, communicating the customer's needs and research sales performance to the design and marketing departments.
  • Fashion show producers and event planners organize and produce fashion shows or other special events for designers, manufacturers and retailers. In such a position, you must be deal with handling budgets, scheduling venues and booking models.
  • Fashion editors create and maintain the content and creative direction of a publication.
  • Retail department buyers work for both large and small retail stores to track popular fashion trends. In this role, you will use careful analysis of past sales, current buying patterns and budget considerations to plan, order and sometimes display merchandise for sale.
  • Visual display merchandisers must understand buying psychology and creatively display new merchandise to its best advantage in retail settings.

How Can I Qualify for the Job?

Most design centers as well as retailers and manufacturers prefer to hire candidates with an Associate of Science or Bachelor of Science degree in Fashion Merchandising from an accredited institution.

Among the subjects you'll study will be fashion design and other art courses, mathematics (including business math), principles of marketing and merchandising, business and finance, retail management, textile design and structure, English and computer technology. Many programs require you to complete an internship with a cooperating company to gain practical experience in merchandising.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), other helpful skills for buyers and managers include good analytical and math skills, communication and sales skills and the ability to use computers, the Internet and related software (www.bls.gov).

What Kind of Income Can I Earn?

The BLS reports that in 2015, wholesale and retail (non-farm) purchasing managers earned a median income of $108,120, with a range of $79,860 to $139,080 for the middle 50%. California, Texas, and Illinois were the states with the highest employment in the field, while Delaware offered the highest median salary at $137,140 in 2015.

What's the Outlook for This Occupation?

According to the BLS, openings for purchasing managers will remain about the same between 2014 and 2024, with a projected growth rate of about 1%. This is largely due to the centralization of many buying operations as well as the increased use of online ordering and inventory management as companies attempt to continue to control costs to maximize profits. Competition for designer and buyer jobs is quite strong but for those candidates with both creative and business training, openings should be average to good.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With a bachelor's degree, you could also pursue a career as an advertising, promotions, and marketing manager. This involves designing and planning various campaigns to promote products and services and capture public attention. These professionals may create advertisements on TV or in magazines and release press releases to share information about new products. Another option is a career as a wholesale sales representative. These professionals do not sell directly to consumers but instead conduct sales deals with other businesses who want to buy their products in bulk. A bachelor's degree may be required, depending on the type of sales industry you work within.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Independence University

    Independence University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Independence University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • American InterContinental University

    American InterContinental University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American InterContinental University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. Next »