What Is Fashion Marketing and Merchandising?

Those who work in fashion marketing and merchandising are responsible for choosing which apparel items appear on the racks at retail stores. People in this field decide which products will be hot each season and how to market those items in the competitive world of retail. Schools offering Fashion Design & Merchandising degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Industry Overview

Professionals who work in fashion marketing and merchandising examine fashion trends, help retailers stock fashion lines, coordinate sales, and promote goods. While you wouldn't actually design clothing as a marketing and merchandising professional, you'd still be responsible for helping designers by ensuring that their lines sell. Successful professionals in the field usually have a blend of business skills and textiles knowledge, as well as the ability to identify consumer behavior and desires.

Important Facts About Fashion Marketing and Merchandising

Fashion BuyerVisual MerchandiserRetail Store Owner
Median Salary (2019)* $68,314 $42,193 $49,323 (for all retail sales managers)
Required Education Varies by employer; bachelor's degree is common for larger companies No college education required; associate's degree preferred No college education required; bachelor's degree is common
Key Skills Negotiation, decision making, analysis, leadership Creativity, strong visual sense, teamwork, organizational ability Leadership, organizational ability, strong business sense
Work Environment Travel and overtime often required, frequently work on teams and with outside vendors May work early mornings, late nights, weekends, overtime May work in store or from separate office; responsible for overseeing all staff and operations

Source: *Payscale.com

Sample Jobs

The field of fashion marketing and merchandising covers a wide variety of positions. You could work as a fashion buyer, customer service representative, retail store owner, visual merchandiser, retail manager, manufacturer's representative, operations manager, marketer, advertiser, and more. The duties you'll perform will vary by job type.

Fashion Buyer

A career as a fashion buyer can be exciting - you may find yourself traveling the globe to identify new trends before deciding which lines to purchase for a retailer. Depending on the size of the store you work for, you may be responsible for purchasing many types of goods, including shoes and accessories, or you might only handle one area, such as formal wear. In this position, you would work closely with designers, suppliers, and marketers to ensure that the lines you buy would maximize profit for all parties. PayScale.com indicates that the median annual salary for fashion buyers is $68,314 as of May 2019.

Visual Merchandiser

As a visual merchandiser, you would rely on advertising and design knowledge to plan appealing store displays. Through pleasing presentations of goods, you would not only draw customers into a store, but also make their shopping experience more pleasurable. Visual merchandisers complete these tasks with the hope of motivating customers to buy and return to the store. Those in this profession make a median hourly wage of $14.9 as of May 2019, which translates into a yearly salary of $42,193, according to PayScale.com.

Retail Store Owner

If you'd like to be your own boss, you might be interested in opening a fashion retail store. In the role of a business owner, you'd be able to make decisions about which lines to stock, how to advertise, and how to display goods - all the skills a fashion marketing and merchandising professional usually has. You might also choose to employ other professionals from the field to help you make the most effective use of your resources. As reported by PayScale.com, retail sales managers earn a yearly salary of $49,323 as of May 2019.


Both associate's and bachelor's degrees are available in fashion merchandising and fashion marketing. Holding one of these degrees could help you find entry-level work in the fashion merchandising and marketing field. Many of these degree programs focus on practical, hands-on skills and offer students the chance to complete capstone projects, obtain internships, or study abroad in the fashion capitals of the world.

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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