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So You Want To Be a Fashion Mogul

Updated on March 12, 2019
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Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. He has authored several books on a variety of topics including Archaeology

Part one in a series of 4

Ever Since Project Runway and its many copycats made the fashion industry popular and famous, people have wanted to become fashion moguls or designers. The people of Project Runway made it look all so easy and that just about anyone can enter the fashion industry.

But that is just not the case. Anyone just cannot do fashion for it takes talent, and eye for trends, you need to know what is already out there (nothing kills a career faster than copying some old or unpopular look), and much more. There is more to the fashion industry than what meets the eye.

What this paper will do is guide you in learning what you need to know about the fashion industry before you get started. It is going to look at merchandising (you need to know fashion terms), where to obtain fashion education, how to get an internship and job in the fashion industry, along with how to become a buyer or start your own clothing store or fashion website.

This paper will also discuss wholesale clothing suppliers, the New York Fashion District and the Fashion Trade Publications. In reading this paper you will be on your way to entering the fashion industry and hopefully, with some hard work, a success.


What Is Fashion Merchandising

Fashion merchandising is one of the key terms you need to be more than familiar with as it cover a large segment of the fashion industry. Being involved in fashion merchandising means you are involved in the business side of fashion.

Not only do you need an eye for style you also need to be able to do business as well. You will not succeed in the fashion industry if you are a lousy business person. You also cannot rely on others to do this for you, you need to know what is happening on the business end if you want to make your mark in fashion.

Fashion merchandising covers a lot of responsibilities from producing and product development to promoting, buying and selling fashion items like clothing, jewelry, cosmetics and other accessories. A fashion merchandiser can employed just about anywhere in the fashion world. They could be employed with a textile manufacturer, directly with a designer or in the many retail outlets that populate the malls and other shopping districts, this last one could be in children’s, men’s or lady’s clothing stores.

Then a fashion merchandiser needs to know fully the fashion world as well as the social, economic and cultural aspects of producing textiles. They have to keep up with market trends, fashion updates as well as what is popular in different locations around the country and the world.

There is a lot to master in being a fashion merchandiser but with hard work, lots of study one can become a great merchandiser. The key is to learn bits and pieces of the job as you go. If you try to do it all at the same time you will be overwhelmed and become discouraged. Take your time and master a little at a time. Then once you become a fashion merchandiser you will be amazed at what you have already learned.


How and Where To Get A Fashion Degree

If you think you have fashion talent then you should look for the right college program o develop that fashion sense. Not everyone is born a fashion star and studying is a great way to know if you are cut out for the fashion industry.

How you get a fashion degree is just like obtaining any other degree. Yu search out the different schools to find out the best locations and programs for you. Then you compare the tuition costs, localities, the professors and see which institute is the best fit for you and your goals.

After you have made a first choice, make sure you select a 2nd and 3rd option as well. You need to do this because fashion design and merchandising is very popular and any other potential moguls are trying to be accepted by the top fashion schools

In this section we will list only a handful of colleges where you can get a good degree, searching out the rest will be up to you.

  • FIDM or Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising—has 4 campuses in California, its own museum and a host of top faculty members. It has over 5,000 students enrolled

  • The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—This school focuses on the business side of the fashion industry and with a system of 45 schools around the nation, it is highly likely that you will find one near you.

  • St. Catherine’s University—located in St. Paul, Minn., a student there will learn Fashion history, retail buying & management, along with computer programs like photoshop, illustrator and windowswear. And of course sewing. Everyone needs o be skilled in the basics.

  • LIM College—located n Manhatten this college offers a great faculty and a chance to study abroad to broaden your fashion knowledge and sense.

  • Houston Community College—This school prepares you with certificates and degrees in fashion merchandising and other fashion business related programs. If the other colleges are too expensive, a community college may not be a bad choice.

This should give you an idea of where you can study to be a future fashion mogul. Education is not a bad thing even for the fashion industry.


Online Fashion Classes

Now if you do not think you can afford to attend a brick and mortar school for your fashion education, then the other option is to find a credible school offering a good fashion education online. One of the previous section’s schools, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, offersboth brick and mortar studies as well as an online program. Here are some other schools that offer online degrees making studying fashion a lot easier and more affordable:

  • Academy of Art University—By studying at your own time and pace a student is not deprived of a to fashion education. AAU has been offering online degrees in fashion since 2002

  • Southern New Hampshire University- offers an Associate degree in fashion merchandising and focuses on design, textiles, color theory, retailing & marketing. With this degree you are ready for an entry level position

  • Penn Foster College—Studying from the comfort of your home will not hurt your fashion career. Online programs are as valid as any regular degree completed the traditional way. This college helps you sharpen your fashion sense, creativity and help your business skills.

  • Berkeley College- Their courses focus on consumer behavior, product development, retail distribution, merchandising, marketing and much more. This college offers a top notch faculty department providing the best fashion education possible.

Online programs have matured from their early days and they are not as looked down upon as they once were. They are affordable, convenient and meet your schedule. This means if you are married, you do not have to take time from your family to become a fashion merchandiser. This may be the option for you and your budget.


© 2019 David Thiessen

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