Definition of Fashion Merchandising

Visual display designers play a huge role in front-end retail store fashion merchandising.
Visual display designers play a huge role in front-end retail store fashion merchandising. (Image: wx-bradwang/iStock/Getty Images)

Fashion merchandising is a broad range of activities that contribute to the retailer's process of getting clothes, shoes and accessories from the original design to the end consumer. People who earn a fashion merchandising degree have a variety of career options, including work as a fashion buyer, visual designer, trend forecaster, or store-based sales and service representatives.

Fashion Merchandising Tasks

A designer creates apparel and accessory designs that balance original style with functionality. Designers then promote new lines to industry buyers who purchase new items for their distribution or retail business. Retailers then set up visual displays to attract attention from consumers, and conduct sales and service activities to help customers select the right products.

Fashion Merchandising Careers

A two-year associate degree in fashion and design, or fashion merchandising, prepares you for many entry-level careers in fashion. Four-year schools also offer fashion and design bachelor's degrees. Many fashion merchandisers work in retail settings as sales and service representatives, or as specialists to set up floor displays and layouts. Fashion buyer is another career track in merchandising. Retail chains often provide in-house training programs for employees who want to grow into a buyer role. You could also work in specialized areas like trend forecasting.

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