What is Fashion Merchandising?

fashion merchandising

Fashion merchandising is a term that is well known to industry insiders but much less known to actual consumers. It is, however, an influential process within the fashion industry and is one worth taking into consideration as a potential career, especially if an individual is business-minded and would like to work in fashion. This article will go over a simple definition of what fashion merchandising is as well as potential positions within the field and other important information.


Fashion merchandising is the science of curating and providing fashion that fits certain needs for retail companies and manufacturing companies. Professionals in this field often research emerging trends as well as the psychology of retail to ensure that their clients are well prepared to create a shopping experience that will bring in new and returning customers again and again. It is also a broad subdiscipline within the fashion industry and it is possible to earn a degree in this subject through a fashion, design or art school. Degrees in fashion marketing are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels, making it easier for interested individuals to enter the field with a strong education in hand.

An Interdisciplinary Field

This is a field that focuses on the business aspects of fashion as well as the clothes itself. Because of this, fashion merchandising is an interdisciplinary field. Professionals who are successful in their position often come from a background in business or at least minored in business during their time at university. Others work their way up in fashion from the business side, moving into merchandising later in their career. All professionals, however, must understand how business, advertising, the internet, sociology and consumer behavior dictate buying trends among their targeted demographic.

Positions Within the Field

Fashion merchandising is a process, not a single position, as indicated by this Entrepreneur article. It incorporates a variety of positions from buyers to fashion representatives all the way to visual merchandisers and store managers. Each position handles one part of the fashion merchandising process. For example, retail buyers focus on working with vendors and buying the actual clothes while visual merchandisers create the store’s brick-and-mortar or online shops to make the clothes as appealing to consumers as possible. While the positions are separate, those in the process do interact with each other on a daily, if not seasonal, basis.

Duties and Responsibilities

The duties and responsibilities for fashion merchandisers depend on the position of the individual; however, all professionals in the field have a common goal: to curate a retail experience that provides consumers with beautiful fashion that is on trend while creating a high-profit strategy for stores and companies in the field. Some professionals may find that certain positions, such as that of the retail buyer, may be more appealing than others; retail buyers are often the ones sent to trunk and fashion shows in order to take a look at the garments. However, like with any position, there are advantages and disadvantages that must be taken into consideration prior to moving into the field.

The fashion world has many moving parts, most of which consumers never think about, especially if they are not interested in the industry. However, the role of the merchandiser is an influential one; these are the professionals that determine trends for future seasons as well as provide consumers with affordable alternatives to their favorite runway looks. Fashion merchandising is an exciting career for those who are detail-oriented and love fashion, making it a great choice for clothes-minded people who wish to work on the business side of this industry.

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