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Fashion merchandising is where fashion and business meet. Fashion merchandising involves marketing fashions to various retail stores, boutiques and wholesalers. The mission of a fashion merchandiser includes connecting different fashions to consumers and anticipating what your clients will be interested in. Fashion merchandising doesn't center on fashion alone; it entails a keen business sense and knowledge of assorted marketing strategies and techniques.
The world of fashion is always changing, and it's highly competitive. Fashion merchandisers may specialize in the arena of manufacturing, selling, promoting or buying. A successful fashion merchandiser has a vast knowledge of textiles (these are the different fabrics and fibers that are used to make the goods) and good communication ability. To stand out in the field, they need to know what people are looking for now and have an idea what they will be seeking in the future. This calls for first-rate people skills because they may have to correspond with people of various ethnic backgrounds, ages and lifestyles. In many cases, they travel around the world to obtain materials and meet with different clients and manufacturers.
Since the merchandise must appeal to people (or a specific target group), their job may include attending fashion shows and events around the world, purchasing fashions, negotiating with suppliers and retail outlets, advertising and marketing the latest fashion finds and even creating store displays. They do whatever is necessary to get the goods out there for everyone to see and, ideally, want to have.
Fashion merchandisers should have not only an interest but also a passion for fashion. This includes everything from shoes to undergarments, clothes and accessories. Choosing separate pieces that can work together, mixing materials, fabrics and patterns and having an eye for color are all part of the job. Creative individuals do well in this profession because they are able to think outside the box.
Additionally, the field of fashion merchandising calls for analytical ability. Establishing a budget and then gauging precisely what things fit into that budget is an important task. The practicality of the budget and finances available can significantly differ according to the specific client and demographic. A familiarity with the prior fashion fads in different locations is also warranted. Being conscious of existing industry developments gives the fashion merchandiser a leg up, since they can forecast what is to come.
When looking into a career in fashion merchandising, it's important to consider the background and training that you may be required to have. If you are going to enroll in a school, make sure that it is accredited and reputable. Since a lot of the fundamental courses are centered on application, a school that is in an area with a lot of stores and retail opportunities is a good idea. The real-life experience of your instructors should also be taken into account. Many of them are currently in the field or were in at one time; this means they will have valuable insight and hopefully good connections.
Serena Spinello holds two master’s degrees and is pursuing her Ph.D. in medical science. She has been a professional writer and researcher for over 10 years and is an active member of the American Medical Writers Association, Academy of Medical Educators, and the National Association of Social Workers.