What Is Fashion Marketing and Merchandising?

Many wonder about the difference between fashion marketing and fashion merchandising, and these two subjects really are unique. Fashion marketing and merchandising can each lead to various careers in the industry, but vary in scope. Schools offering Fashion Design & Merchandising degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Difference Between Fashion Merchandising and Fashion Marketing

The biggest difference between fashion marketing and merchandising is scope. Fashion marketing is primarily the advertising side of fashion, while fashion merchandising entails the entire process of fashion design to fashion sales. Below we break down each concept and discuss it in more detail.

What is Fashion Merchandising?

As mentioned, fashion merchandising is broad and includes the entire business-side of fashion design, purchasing, and sales. Those in fashion merchandising must identify current fashion trends and figure out how to meet a particular market's demand. This also includes figuring out price points and inventory needs to meet this demand. Others in fashion merchandising may focus on how to promote and sell the product.

What is Fashion Marketing?

Fashion marketing is a more specific area of the fashion industry that focuses on identifying consumers and figuring out how to advertise to these target audiences. Those in fashion marketing may also help with price points, but primarily work to create brands, advertising campaigns, and other promotions. They may also examine fashion trends, but also use this information to develop the best advertisement strategy.

Degree Programs in Fashion Marketing

Some fashion marketing degree programs include Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Applied Science (AAS), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), and Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degrees. There are also Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree programs with a concentration in fashion marketing for a more general business background. Many fashion marketing programs are available online.

Fashion marketing degree programs may include courses in topics like:

  • Fashion trend analysis
  • Promotion strategy
  • Fashion design
  • Color theory
  • Fashion history
  • Consumer behavior

Degree Programs in Fashion Merchandising

Fashion merchandising programs are common in online formats and may be available as Associate of Science (AS), Bachelor of Science (BS), or Master of Science (MS) degrees. At the master's level, these programs may go by names like fashion merchandising and retail management or retail and merchandising.

Degree programs in fashion merchandising may discuss topics such as:

  • Financial accounting
  • Merchandise planning
  • Supply chain management
  • Fashion management
  • Fashion forecasting
  • Merchandise management

What Can You Do with Fashion Marketing?

A fashion marketing major can be beneficial for a wide range of careers, including a fashion designer or fashion stylist. Salaries for different fashion marketing careers can vary greatly based on location, employer, years of experience, and specific skill sets. For example, a fashion designer in New York City, NY, is likely to earn more than a fashion designer in Dallas, TX. Below are some other fashion marketing career options and average annual salaries.

CareerAverage Annual Salary (2019)*
Marketing Manager$64,359
Fashion Designer$64,701
Fashion Stylist$51,557
Assistant Fashion Designer$41,005

*Source: Payscale.com

Careers in Fashion Merchandising

A major in fashion merchandising can also be beneficial for an array of fields, including fashion buyers and managers. With the diverse options available in the fashion industry, students can find a career that fits their personal interests in fashion. In the table below you can compare the average annual salaries for a few fashion merchandising careers.

CareerAverage Annual Salary (2019)*
Retail Buyer$56,097
Retail Store Owner$50,454
Fashion Buyer$68,314
Visual Merchandiser$43,997
Retail Sales Manager$49,471

*Source: Payscale.com

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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