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What Is Fashion Merchandising?

Updated on January 9, 2013

Merchandising: Another Way in to Fashion!

If you keep up with the fashion industry, you may pride yourself on being able to recognize dozens of fashion designers. However, can you name even a single merchandiser?

Because merchandisers work behind the scenes, it is sometimes difficult to understand how large of a role they play in the fashion world. The most basic definition of fashion merchandising is that it is the process of getting fashion from the designer to the consumer.

If you have a flair for creativity and knack for business, but you're not interested in becoming a fashion designer, merchandising management may be the perfect way for you to break in to the fashion industry.

For example, merchandisers, not designers, are the ones who usually determine which new fashions will be produced and eventually become popular. They are the ones who make most of a retail outlet's purchasing, advertising and financial decisions. And, by simply laying out their stores, merchandisers affect your purchasing decisions on a daily basis.

Find out more about fashion merchandising with this lens presented by IADT Chicago, a design school offering fashion design and fashion merchandising degree programs.

Fashion Merchandising is Purchasing

Wondering what to sell? Merchandisers make the call.

One of the most common decisions merchandisers make is which products they should sell in their stores.

Purchasing can be tricky, because if a merchandiser takes a chance on a product that none of his customers end up buying, he'll have to slash prices to move that unwanted merchandise.

To make as much profit as possible, merchandisers must analyze data from a number of sources and accurately predict what consumers will want months down the road.

Fashion Merchandising programs at IADT Schaumburg
Fashion Merchandising programs at IADT Schaumburg

Fashion Merchandising is About Display

How and where you place stock makes a difference

Once merchandisers purchase their products, they must display them in a way that attracts attention from consumers. This isn't just about creating a window display, although that's important.

It involves understanding your store's traffic patterns and your consumers' psychology. One of the most common fashion merchandising display tricks, for example, is moving the clearance or sale section to the back of the store.

By doing this, merchandisers make consumers walk past all the attractive new merchandise to get to the deals.

Fashion Merchandising is About Marketing

Pitch your products to the audience that wants to buy them

Marketing plays a huge part in merchandising.

Some examples of marketing that merchandisers must consider are:

  • in-store promotions
  • print advertisements
  • social media
  • price setting
  • magazine articles
  • fashion shows

Merchandisers must have excellent communication skills, a solid understanding of their products' potential customers, and an ability to use the latest promotional techniques to get the most out of their marketing.

Fashion Merchandising Links From Around the Web - More information about this career field

Here are links to more information about fashion merchandising as a career path from around the Web. IADT is not responsible for the content of these third-party links. They are presented for informational purposes only.

The International Academy of Design and Technology - Chicago
The International Academy of Design and Technology - Chicago

Fine Print from IADT Chicago

This lens is presented by the International Academy of Design and Technology - Chicago. To find out more, contact our Chicago-area design school today.

IADT Chicago cannot guarantee employment or salary. Financial aid is available to those who qualify.

For information about accreditation and licensure at all IADT campuses, click here.

Talk About This IADT Chicago Lens Here! - Share Your Thoughts

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    • link777 lm profile image

      link777 lm 

      5 years ago

      I am definitely bookmarking this lens!

    • JosephsJewelry LM profile image

      JosephsJewelry LM 

      6 years ago

      Very interesting. You never hear much about the merchandising end of this subject. Thank you for educating me.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      A career in fashion merchandising provides the flexibility of a wide variety of specialties. Here you will get a solid idea of the several career paths of a fashion merchandiser, the role he or she plays and how crucial that role is in the fashion industry.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Fashion merchandising is a profession and it is great think and it is the good on


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