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A career in the fashion industry can directly influence the shape and style of clothing people wear; however, the field also offers a diverse set of careers to match the strengths and interests of nearly anyone. By completing a fashion merchandising degree online, learners are prepared for an array of careers in merchandising, design, styling, and purchasing. This guide provides an overview of the industry, highlights the skills and knowledge a degree in this field can provide, and shines a light on potential careers and average salaries.
What is Fashion?
The U.S. apparel market is the largest in the world, as revenue exceeded $328 billion in 2017. Graduates from online fashion merchandising degree programs can select from many different paths within this massive and rapidly changing field. While some professionals design and create clothing, those who are more business-minded may work in fashion merchandising and buying. These positions require individuals to use their skills in negotiations and trend predictions to buy items they anticipate to sell at their company. Additionally, graduates may pursue work as fashion journalists or bloggers, and comment on emerging trends and styles each season. Still others may decide to use their substantial creative skills to design textiles for use in high fashion, ready to wear, or accessories. Regardless of your specific skills and interests, the fashion industry can be a great place to leverage your talents.
Unlike other industries showing stagnation or even recession, the fashion industry should continue to see substantial growth in the coming years. Reports show that the U.S. apparel market is projected to grow to $390 billion by 2025, while spending in China for 2020 will reach nearly $392 billion. With these figures in mind, prospective learners can feel confident in their choice to pursue a fashion merchandising degree online. Even if you decide to pursue a career in a field other than fashion, the skills these programs provide can easily transfer to just about any other career.
What Can I Do with an Online Fashion Bachelor's Degree?
Completing a fashion degree online program prepares graduates for one of the many coveted positions in the fashion industry. Even though fashion represents one of the more lucrative fields of the U.S. economy, it is also one of the most competitive. Graduates of online fashion merchandising degree programs can stand out from the competition by completing internships, highlighting their unique skills, and presenting a clear vision of how they hope to contribute their unique ideas.
Skills and Knowledge Gained
A fashion degree online program can provide several key skills that professionals need to succeed in the fashion industry. Some of the competencies you can expect to gain include:
Eye for Detail. Fashion design revolves around the smallest changes in fit, color, design, and fabric type. The ability to spot tiny shifts in style and design is an elemental requirement for any job in fashion. This is especially true when considering how the general public views fashion trends.
Business Skills. In addition to possessing the creativity and artistic skills to envisage new styles and designs, fashion experts must also harness knowledge in areas of sales, marketing, finance, contracts, and negotiations.
Competitive Streak. Succeeding in the world of fashion requires individuals to stay one step ahead of their competition through innovative designs and trendsetting ideas. Staying motivated in a crowded field often makes the difference in whether someone succeeds or fails in this industry.
Given the diversity of professional opportunities in the fashion world, students must think about how they can translate skills from their degree into multiple careers. They should also look for ways to add additional skills and experiences to their resumes, even while still in school. Internships provide a great avenue for this, since students can gain real-world knowledge of the discipline, build relevant contacts, and add to their resumes.
Careers and Salary Potential
Whether you see yourself working behind the scenes at fashion shows, in studios creating new designs, or in Hollywood managing costumes for television shows and movies, plenty of professional paths exist. Graduates of a fashion merchandising degree online can use their substantial skills and professional experiences to navigate their careers into areas of the industry that best speak to their aspirations. The following sections review common industries and careers to help students narrow their options.
- Fashion Design: Fashion design focuses on the creation of new clothing and accessories that reflect current apparel trends. Examples from recent years include the wider incorporation of linen, peplum tops, and a return to 90’s fashion.
- Cut and Sew Apparel Manufacturing: After fashion designers create new looks, those visions must be made into reality. Individuals interested in working with their hands often pursue these types of careers.
- Textile, Apparel, and Accessories Wholesalers: Highly creative, artistic individuals often pursue this industry, as it allows them to design new fabrics and materials that designers incorporate into their visions.
- Motion Picture and Video Industries: A great industry for those with an eye for how clothes fit different body styles and moods, costume designers work on film, TV, and theatre sets to dress the characters.
- Journalism and Publishing: Individuals who love working with words often pursue these roles and work at local newspapers, fashion magazines, blogs, and other news outlets to share insight about the current state of fashion.
Annual Median Salary : $72,720
Fashion designers anticipate trends and design collections based on their creative eye. They draw designs and use design software to bring their visions to life, select fabrics and details, and work with manufacturers and distributors.
Buyers and Purchasing Agents
Annual Median Salary : $67,600
These individuals make decisions about the fashions sold in stores. They meet with designers, review new collections, crunch the numbers, and decide which collections to features each season.
Annual Median Salary : $52,698
Using their knowledge of fabrics, coloring, and design, textile designers create new and unique patterns and images. They market these new textiles to designers for use in fashion, home goods, and other consumer goods.
Annual Median Salary : $51,324
Fashion stylists work with models, photographers, makeup artists, and lighting directors to ensure looks are shown in their best light. They may add accessories, edit sets, or work with a tailor to adjust fit.
Annual Median Salary : $50,284
These professionals make decisions about how an item is sold within a retail setting. They set prices, arrange window displays, and oversee the marketing of new items.
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