Fashion design and merchandising programs help prepare students for some of the most exciting careers in the fashion industry. There are many different diploma, certificate and degree programs in the fashion field and not all of them are related to designing clothes for the runways, as some might assume. There are also education and training programs related to the merchandising, marketing and business side of the fashion industry. Fashion merchandisers, also known as buyers, have an important role in the industry, ensuring that retailers ranging from small boutiques to massive department stores have the latest fashions in stock. It’s an excellent career for fashion lovers who also have good interpersonal skills and a knack for the business side of things.
The Value of Education
If you really want to get ahead in the field of fashion design and merchandising, a bachelor’s degree will probably be your best bet. Diploma and certificate programs will only qualify you for the lowest entry level jobs in the field, and many employers are also looking for more than an associate’s degree these days. You may, however, be able to complete your associate’s degree at an affordable community college or an online university and transfer into a four-year school that offers an accredited fashion merchandising program. If you have a specific job or employer in mind, it might be wise to see what level of education most of the people have in that position or with that company and where they went to school.
The Cities of Fashion
There are many fashion merchandising programs to choose from, and not all of them are in the bustling metropolis of New York City, as some might imagine. Some of the most prestigious fashion design, marketing and merchandising programs in the U.S. are at schools in California, particularly in the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Programs in cities like Miami, Chicago, Houston and Seattle also carry quite a bit of prestige, and you may find some very formidable programs in smaller cities as well. The curriculum of these programs vary quite a bit, but they all include some basic fashion design courses as well as courses in business, marketing, merchandising, accounting and other subject areas.
Salaries for fashion merchandisers also vary anywhere from $25,000 per year to upwards of $70,000 depending on various factors, including education and training. The more effort you put into your degree program, the more successful your career will be.