Fashion Merchandising Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Fashion Merchandising?

Fashion merchandising is the science of making sure that you have the right goods available at the right price, time, and amount, in exactly the right places to meet the wants and needs of consumers.

While fashion merchandising encompasses a variety of responsibilities, it will be vital that you know how to understand, predict, and respond to consumer wants and behaviors to maximize business sales and revenue.

At the manufacturing level, fashion merchandising also involves forecasting the popularity of clothing shapes and colors, estimating sizes and quantities needed, and determining the optimum price for selling the clothing to retailers.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Fashion Merchandising in the following subject areas:

  • Fashion Merchandising – This one-year course aims to introduce the student to planning, buying, and selling in the fashion industry.
  • Fashion Buying & Merchandising – Study the foundations that are necessary to succeed as a fashion buyer in today’s competitive environment.
  • Fashion Buying and Merchandising (Retail Practice) – Begin your journey to becoming a fashion buyer or merchandiser where you will play an integral role within the infrastructure of the retail team, tracking and analyzing seasonal trends, ensuring production costs are kept within budget, and most importantly, ensuring profit and growth for the company.

Studying Fashion Merchandising in college

There are many courses in Fashion Merchandising that take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a Fashion Merchandising course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of fashion trends and markets.

Your role as a retail merchandiser is to ensure that products appear in the right store or website, at the right time, and in the right quantities. This involves working closely with buying teams to accurately forecast trends, plan stock levels and monitor performance. While the buyer selects the lines, the merchandiser decides how much money should be spent, how many lines should be bought, and in what quantities. In smaller companies, the same person may be responsible for both buying and merchandising.

Fashion industry employers range from top designers in well-established studios to high street retail outlets, supermarket clothing labels, and manufacturing operations.

Working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various facilities or companies. Working hours are normally 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. However, longer working hours may be necessary to support the opening of a new store, during a special sales promotion, to launch a new product or range, or to deal with unforeseen production difficulties. Weekend or evening work is occasionally necessary to visit stores or for competitive shopping.

Related jobs include:

  • Fashion Merchandiser
  • Retail Merchandiser
  • Merchandise consultant
  • Retail buyer
  • Retail manager
  • Account manager
  • Store manager
  • Visual merchandiser
  • Marketing specialist
  • Fashion designer
  • Stylist
  • Textile designer
  • Visual merchandiser
  • Clothing/textile technologist
  • Event manager
  • Jewelry designer
  • Magazine journalist
  • Make-up artist
  • Public relations officer
  • Talent agent

Further study

After completing a course in Fashion Merchandising you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as business management or business analysis.


What skills could be helpful for a career in Fashion Merchandising?

· Strong knowledge of the latest fashion trends and developments. 

· Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills.

· Ability to create original and eye-catching designs that appeal to our target market.

· Excellent time management and organizational skills.

What is the difference between Fashion Merchandising and Fashion Marketing?

The biggest difference between fashion marketing and merchandising is scope. Fashion marketing is primarily the advertising side of fashion, while fashion merchandising entails the entire process of fashion design to fashion sales.

Where can I study Fashion Merchandising?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

· Men have been wearing shorts for decades, but women were only allowed to wear them in public after World War II. One of the main reasons for this was because less fabric was available during the war, so shorts were more cost-effective than pants or skirts.

· The T-shirt is one of the most popular items of clothing in the world and around two billion of them are sold every single year.

· Thousands of fashion magazines are sold every year, but the first-ever fashion magazine was sold in Germany in 1586.

· In 1907, a woman was arrested on a beach in Boston for wearing a one-piece swimsuit.

· Up until the beginning of the 19th century, models were not used to showcase clothes. Fashion companies would use dolls instead.

· It is thought that the average woman will buy 145 bags during her lifetime.

Mariza Halliday

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