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Fashion Design & Merchandising
By Emily Thompson, Editor
The fashion industry was born of the new age. Color, material and textile change from time to time, making the fashion industry extremely versatile. Fashion is often described as the popular and most common trends in clothing, cosmetics, and overall style. Coupled with design, it is not only about sewing clothes and making shoes; it is more of crafting and setting trends. It is creating style with one's own hands. This forms the primary foundation of the fashion industry. Merchandising refers to any activity and practice contributing to the sales of any product. It is the practice of putting products on sale and display in such a way that they appear enticing to the consumer and are readily available to them. The products are arranged in a physical or online market where prospective consumers may access them. Merchandising is set apart from mere advertising because it is very precise. Its precision lies in the planning and presentation of sales to the right and specific market at the right time, season and place. By understanding merchandising, we are able to calculate its relevance to fashion design.
In the 18th century, fashion was credited to anonymous seamstresses and dressmakers until a man named Charles Frederick Worth set up the famous 'maison de coutuer' (fashion house) in Paris and became known as the first fashion designer. He was so successful that he was able to set trends and dictate what the customers would wear. Through Worth, fashion design was born. The fashion design trend grew on women in the 1900s so deeply, that they would not dress without the assistance of a third party. Over the centuries, fashion design has evolved into an explosive industry seeing the emergence of a myriad fashion trends, from the corsets in the 1900s to the Calvin Klein jeans worn today. It has seen a plethora of celebrated fashion designers such as Coco Chanel, Michael Kors, and fashion houses such as Gucci gain relevance in the world. From the times of Worth, the fashion design industry became a force to reckon with and it has never looked back since then.
The fashion industry is one of the most lucrative and attractive in the modern market. Fashion design is more in demand now than ever. Equipped with the vast and adequate knowledge of textiles and materials, one can comfortably dive into the inviting world of fashion design. Professionals in this industry can work on their own or in groups. Sometimes they work for fashion houses and other established designers. They can also work on their own capacity under their own name. While a designer creates, the aim is often to mass produce fashion trends and market them in multiple outlets. Due to the competition in the fashion industry, and its versatility, the need for fashion merchandising is recognized. The convergence of merchandising and fashion design forms one of the most important relationships in the industry. It is where business and style form an alliance. This convergence is based on the simple fact that as much as knowledge of textiles and colors is important, business skills and market techniques are also necessary in order to survive in the brutal field of fashion design.
Merchandising plays the role of connecting consumers to fashion items and various products from designers. For fashion merchandising, it is essential that fashion items and designs are available to the consumers in massive quantities. Buying, selling and promoting fashion items and designs becomes part of the fashion merchandising process. Fashion design merchandising involves analyzing changing trends, sales, costs of production and many other factors. This provides designers and manufacturers with information on which product and fashion trends to focus on. The fashion designer creates the clothes and the fashion merchandiser brings the design to the consumers with his sales expertise. This relationship is so important that it is no wonder that many fashion schools and fashion jobs marry these two concepts. Without this relationship a fashion designer’s work might just end up being irrelevant.
See our school sorter below for a list of top fashion design and fashion merchandising schools. Below the School Sorter you'll find links to related fashion design, merchandising, and marketing articles.