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Fashion Merchandising Schools

Last Updated: February 02, 2023, by TACP Staff

Fashion Merchandising Schools

If you are inspired by fashion and have a mind for business, a career in Fashion Merchandising could very well be for you. The combination of aesthetics and commerce is both lucrative and gratifying. Classes such as marketing, consumer behavior, and retail management allow the student to successfully blend their analytical and strategic skills with visual and social skills.

The 25 Best Fashion Merchandising Schools in the U.S. for 2023

Fashion merchandising schools are educational institutions focused on preparing students to handle the business, artistic, and analytical demands of the retail fashion industry. A well-rounded education in fashion merchandising helps a student unlock their creativity while skillfully marrying it to real world analytics and business principles. Classes such as Advanced Math, Color Design and Theory, Visual Communications, Consumer Psychology, Marketing Communications, Brand Management, Retail Fundamentals, Employee Development and Management, the Economics of Fashion, Advertising, the History of Design Theory, Textile Production, Digital Sales and Marketing, Product Analysis, and Issues of Sustainability, are just a few examples of the unique curriculum that students have the option to take while in school.

Our School Rankings

With hundreds of available fashion merchandising programs across the country, it can be a daunting task to research schools that are the right fit for you. To help you find the right program, we provide a comprehensive list of the top fashion merchandising schools in the nation who stand out for both academic excellence and for positive student outcomes.

1Fashion Institute of TechnologyNew York, NY
2Auburn UniversityAuburn, Alabama
3Kent State UniversityKent, OH
4University of North TexasDenton, Texas
5Berkeley CollegeLittle Falls, NJ
6Fashion Institute of Design & MerchandisingLos Angeles, CA
7University of GeorgiaAthens, GA
8Florida State UniversityTallahassee, FL
9Drexel University – Westphal College of Media Arts & DesignPhiladelphia, PA
10University of TexasAustin, Texas
11LIM CollegeNew York, NY
12Iowa State UniversityAmes, Iowa
13Johnson & Wales UniversityProvidence, RI
14Oregon State UniversityCorvallis, Oregon
15Colorado State UniversityFort Collins, Colorado
16Parsons School of DesignNew York, NY
17Louisiana State UniversityBaton Rouge, Louisiana
18Oklahoma State UniversityStillwater, OK
19University of Minnesota College of DesignSt. Paul, MN
20Baylor UniversityWaco, TX
21University of DelawareNewark, DE
22University of MissouriColumbia, MO
23Academy of Art UniversitySan Francisco, CA
24Marist CollegePoughkeepsie, NY
25Philadelphia UniversityPhiladelphia, PA
26California State Polytechnic UniversityPomona, California

What Are Fashion Merchandising Schools?

To understand what fashion merchandising schools are, you should first grasp the concept of fashion merchandising itself.

Fashion merchandising is a position in the retail industry in which you choose the pieces that stores will stock based upon your predictions about what’s up-and-coming in the industry. Commonly known as a “buyer,” a fashion merchandiser works closely with designers and attends fashion shows and trade exhibits all over the world to stay abreast of the newest trends and hottest designs that the industry has to offer.

Fashion is fickle, and it can change on a minute-by-minute basis, so picking the right trends is a crucial role that requires critical knowledge of the fashion industry. Fashion merchandising schools can help arm you with crucial knowledge of the fashion industry and what to look for when trend spotting.

There are a number of job opportunities for individuals that choose to attend fashion merchandising schools. If you become a fashion merchandiser, for instance, you might choose to work in a large department store, a well-known chain store, or even a small local boutique. Each of these types of businesses requires different duties from a fashion merchandiser. If you find yourself working for a smaller store, for example, you may find yourself doing quite a bit of the store’s promotion and sales activities along with selecting styles that the store will carry.

These different duties and responsibilities are why you need fashion merchandising schools. When you earn a degree from a good fashion merchandising school, you will be armed with the skills and knowledge you need to land your dream position in the competitive fashion industry. You’ll also have an edge over other applicants that happen to be vying for the same position.

What Types of Degrees Do Fashion Merchandising Schools Offer?

When you earn your degree from an accredited fashion merchandising school, you can take many different career paths in the world of fashion. Fashion merchandising schools offer a few different common degree programs that you can choose from, depending on your career goals.

Associates Degree in Fashion Merchandising

An associate’s degree in fashion merchandising, for instance, is often a degree that takes the shortest amount of time to complete, usually about two years. These degrees allow students to learn the fundamentals of fashion merchandising, which can prepare them for entry-level positions in the fashion industry.

If you decide to pursue a program to earn your bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising, however, you’ll not only learn the fundamentals of the fashion industry, but you’ll also learn critical business skills for your future career. These types of degree programs typically take a little more dedication and time to complete – about four years. However, earning a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising can help make you a valuable contender for some of the more sought after fashion merchandising careers.

What Are the Requirements for Admission to a Fashion Merchandising School?

Although many fashion merchandising schools don’t require specialized testing for admittance, you should have a high school diploma and an acceptable GPA prior to acceptance.

Above all, though, you should have a love and admiration for all things fashion. A love of the latest and greatest trends, however, may not be enough to start your fashion merchandising career. You should also realize that, although it can be fun and rewarding, a career in the fashion industry involves tons of hard work and dedication. If you aren’t ready to dedicate yourself to long grueling hours and loads of work, perhaps a fashion merchandising career isn’t right for

Typical Classes & Curriculum

Fashion merchandising schools offer hands-on classes either on-campus or online, so they provide extremely flexible opportunities for you to earn your degree on your own time. A wide variety of topics are covered during any typical fashion merchandising program, and these topics may include subject matter such as textiles, fashion retailing, public speaking experience, fashion marketing basics, procedures for buying merchandise, brand power, concepts of fashion
merchandising, and how to predict the fashion trends of the future.

A fashion merchandising school also teaches students how to identify and procure the right trends and pieces for the market sector they are serving, and students will also learn the business side of things, such as marketing, project management, and promotional skills.

When attending a fashion merchandising school, you’ll get a taste of store planning, promotional activities, advertising, and visual merchandising tasks during your studies. Other areas of focus while in school may include distribution and budgeting strategies, product assortment analysis, controlling stock, inventory management, and catalog development experience.

One of the most important aspects a fashion merchandising education, however, is the broad overview of how apparel is actually designed, how it is manufactured, and the ways in which merchandisers can market the apparel to specific retailers. Depending on the program, you may also have access to work-study and internship opportunities while enrolled to better prepare you for your career after graduation.

Do Need a Degree to Work in Fashion Merchandising?

That depends. If you want a job in fashion merchandising, then yes, you do need to invest your time and money into a reputable fashion institute or fashion merchandising career.

The reason for this is simple. We live in incredibly unsteady economic times, and the fashion industry is no exception from the struggling job market today. Having a highly specialized degree tailored to your chosen career path puts you in a much better position and gives you a competitive edge as a future job candidate in the competitive world of fashion.

Also, an internship or work-study program – which some fashion merchandising schools can offer you – will put you in an even better position to snag a job following your graduation. These opportunities give you valuable experience in fashion merchandising, and any additional skills that you can add to your resume are a bonus that will give you an edge over your competitors. And no one is going to argue that job seekers need every advantage they can in this cutthroat job market.

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