Fashion Merchandising Job Description
Fashion merchandising is a profession that incorporates the A-to-Z processes in the fashion business ranging from producing, product development, promoting and buying and selling fashion items such as clothing, accessories, jewelry, cosmetics and shoes.
A fashion merchandiser may work for a textile manufacturer, a designer or a fashion retail outlet such as a department store, children’s clothing store or a discount store. He or she is well-versed with the fashion industry as well as the socio, cultural and economic aspects of textile production. A fashion merchandiser is also required to be in touch with market trends, fashion updates as well as popular preferences in a particular locality.
Fashion merchandising careers are greatly enhanced by a relevant degree, which increases employment opportunities and salary.
Fashion Merchandising Job Responsibilities
Depending on which industry a fashion merchandiser works in, the job titles associated with this field include fashion buyers, fashion directors, retail store managers, textile merchandisers, designers, showroom sales representatives, product development managers, catalog production managers and merchandise display artists.
The job responsibilities of a fashion merchandiser are varied depending on the kind of fashion business one is in. Nevertheless, many fashion merchandisers often work long hours and sometimes over weekends. However, the job can be rewarding offering ample opportunities to work in the glamorous fashion world and with popular fashion brand names. A fashion merchandiser is required to have an incredible amount of creativity and flair for fashion, often contributing inputs and opinions on market trends and latest fashion directions.
When working for textile manufacturers, fashion merchandisers are involved in the manufacturing processes of textile materials, which include the whole gamut of delivering production capacity, quality control and management of workers.
A fashion merchandiser can also work in department stores or clothing outlets as a fashion designer, fashion buyer, catalog production managers or merchandise display artists. Fashion buyers are responsible to purchase fashion items that can be promoted and sold by the outlet. They are in touch with market demands and fashion trends. Store decoration and merchandise displays are also the responsibilities of fashion merchandisers where the latest apparels and items are displayed prominently to align with the store’s branding and image.
Training and Education Requirements
Many schools, colleges and universities offer diplomas, associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees in fashion merchandising.
Students who seek a management career in fashion merchandising are often required to have bachelor’s degrees in fashion merchandising. A bachelor’s program provides an in-depth study on subjects offered in the program, equipping the student with a more comprehensive training on different aspects of fashion merchandising.
Subjects offered in a fashion merchandising study program include fashion marketing, retail marketing and promotion, fashion buying, retail management, textile design and production, history of textile as well as economics of the fashion industry.
As fashion merchandising is closely related to the current trends and market demands, some fashion design schools offer internship programs where students get to spend a few months working in fashion outlets during their study programs in order to gain real-life working experiences that are crucial in the field.
Salary and Wages
Like all professions, the salaries of fashion merchandisers increase according to experience and qualification. The highest earnings for professionals who are in this field are those who have climbed the ladder from fashion display artist, designers or assistants to management or executive levels.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of fashion designers in 2009 was $74,410. The average annual salary earned by the lowest earning 10 per cent of fashion designers in the country for 2009 was $32,320 while the highest earning10 per cent bring home an average of $130,900 per year. For buyers in management positions, their mean annual wages increase by about 23 per cent compared to non-management levels. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded that purchasing managers or buyers bring home a mean annual wage of $96,910 in 2009. The average annual salary earned by the lowest earning 10 per cent of buyers was $52,910 while the highest earning 10 per cent bring home an average of $145,960 a year.*
*According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics at http://www.bls.gov/oco/
In order to pursue a career in fashion merchandising, a candidate is required to obtain a diploma, associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising from a fashion design school, college or university. The certifications provide employers the assurance that the candidates are knowledgeable about the textile and fashion industries and are trained to identify, negotiate and purchase fashion merchandise as well as understand the art of merchandise display and design.
The study duration for a diploma or associate’s degree program is about two years, while a bachelor’s degree program lasts about four years.
There are numerous professional associations for fashion merchandising professionals in the United States; these organizations can range from clothing, shoes, merchandising and retail, fashion advertising and fashion media.
Even though membership at these associations are not mandatory, fashion merchandisers can benefit from networking opportunities, seminars, conferences and fashion events to update on latest trends and ideas when they join professional associations.
As the fashion industry is constantly evolving and changing, a fashion merchandiser must keep updated on current trends and anticipate upcoming vogue styles and creations in order to stay competitive in the field.