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What Exactly is Fashion Merchandising Anyway?

April 28, 2011 IADT General, IADT San Antonio, Fashion Design and Merchandising 0 Comments

IMAGINE imageDesign isn't the only career path in the fashion world.

You often hear of the design aspect of the field and see the fashion shows that are hosted by producers and designers, but many neglect the fact that there is a fashion merchandising field that has many sophisticated and exciting career paths as well.

So, what IS fashion merchandising?

Fashion merchandising is the promotion of apparel sales and involves all of the tasks necessary to deliver the clothing requests and meet the needs of potential customers and designers. Fashion merchandising involves developing campaigns, displays and advertisements, directing manufacturing and marketing as well as creating sales strategies for the fashion industry or the retail environment.

Merchandising also refers to the necessary preparation that must be completed in order to ensure that the merchandise is accessible and appealing to the customers. You have to attract the customer to the product!

The key to being a great merchandiser is to promote and obtain the goods that are going to be sold to customers. This can involve going to international fashion events, buying fashion goods at market and negotiating with merchants, manufacturers, retailers and designers.

Fashion merchandising is a broad industry that requires a strong sense of style and trends in addition to business training. A successful career in fashion merchandising begins with formal training at a fashion merchandising school. Obtaining a fashion merchandising degree can open the door to many opportunities in this diverse field. Students can learn about industry trends, marketing, event planning and product development. Most fashion merchandising students choose careers in a management role or working with major apparel manufacturers and designers. Others may choose to own and operate a boutique of their own.

What does it take to make it?

Some of the skills needed to be successful are an understanding of consumers’ wants and needs and knowledge of current fashion trends as well as the ability to forecast future trends. Excellent communication skills and great analytical skills are key to success, too. It's also wise to have an understanding of colors, patterns in fabrics and the psychology and behavior of consumers.

Fashion merchandising is a blend of fashion sense and business expertise. Staying ahead of the fashion curve is a feat involving both art and commerce. Strategy and marketing experience are an integral part of fashion merchandising. So if you have these skills, along with the essential love of fashion, the fashion merchandising field may be just the place for you!

-Cynthia Rangel, Fashion Design and Merchandising Program Chair at IADT-San Antonio

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