You know fashion. You’re on top of the latest trends, but know when to stay with the classics. Everything you wear has that certain “something,” and your friends always call when they need help putting together the perfect look. An exciting, rewarding career in fashion merchandising and retailing could be in your future! If you want to find out how to get into a fashion design school then you can start by researching all the top schools. Choose classes with your future goals in mind. English composition will help you communicate with colleagues, suppliers, and customers professionally and effectively. As a merchandiser, buyer, or retailer, you’ll need good financial judgment, making math skills essential. Art and sewing develop your sense of design, while foreign languages and global studies prepare you for future travels. Take business and computer classes whenever they’re offered. You may wish to spend after school hours practicing your design skills by crafting costumes for school or community theatre productions, or by working in a clothing store to gain experience in retail sales. If your high school days are behind you and you’re seeking to change careers, study fashion publications and store collections to learn the latest fashion trends. Any retail, accounting, computer or customer service skills you have will also prove valuable in your new occupation.
You’ll find programs in fashion merchandising and retailing offered online, as a part of a university business degree, at vocational or community colleges, or at art or fashion institutes. When choosing a fashion design associate's degree program, make sure the program is accredited; this means your education meets professional standards, and that you can receive financial aid or tuition reimbursement if eligible. Course offerings should cover both the fashion and business aspects of the profession. Check faculty credentials; do they have “real world” experience and industry connections? Will you have internship and field opportunities? Does your school offer career services? Where do alumni find employment? If you have work or family responsibilities, do they offer classes that fit your schedule? Asking these questions will help determine if a program is right for you. If you attend a traditional university, expect to take classes in the school’s core curriculum, such as literature, sociology, or physics. Your major will balance business coursework with studies in fashion. In any given semester, your schedule might contain: consumer economics, visual merchandising, retail buying, entrepreneurship, retail advertising and promotions, fashion analysis, multi-national retailing, or textiles. You’ll have the opportunity to explore your career in practicums, field experiences, and internships all of which should help you cultivate connections in the fashion world.
Careers in fashion merchandising and retailing are demanding and fast-paced. You’ll evaluate current sales and forecast future trends. You may be asked to create business plans to attract various demographics, or serve as a buyer choosing a line and negotiating costs with suppliers. Employment options for your degree include: window design, buyer, advertising account executive, retail manager, marketing or promotions specialist, or fashion critic. Competition for jobs is heavy, but the rewards, both financial and professional, are worth it. Don’t settle for any off-the-rack job; design an exciting career in fashion retail and merchandising.