The Fashion Merchandising option prepares students with the skills and knowledge for a broad range of careers in the fashion industry. The curriculum is designed to give students opportunities to apply retail, basic design, and computer skills to marketing and management functions in retail organizations, display/visual departments, or mall corporate offices. Field trips, guest speakers, student organizational activities (Visual and Apparel Merchandising Organization), fashion productions and event planning, travel studies, and study abroad programs enhance the comprehensive curriculum and contribute to a strong foundation in retail customer service in a variety of positions including store manager, buyer, visual merchandiser, display director, fashion show coordinator and fashion mall director. Because of the experiential nature of the curriculum students are provided ample opportunities to develop leadership skills, problem solving abilities, creative skills and to become proficient with the use of technology. Opportunities to participate in study tours to New York, and other markets, fashion professional career days, advisory council seminars, regional student organizations, studying abroad, and/or completing an internship abroad exist for all students.
No additional requirements for admission to the Department of Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising and Hospitality, or department options, exist beyond the university admission requirements as listed in the Western Illinois Undergraduate Catalog. Interested students are encouraged to refer to the university catalog and the Office of Admissions located in Sherman Hall.
Option Completion Requirement: See Fashion Merchandising Option Requirements.
Students may participate in the study abroad program. The last study abroad fashion trip was to Italy in 2012.
Students completing the Fashion Merchandising option are required to complete an industry related internship program. Internship sites must be approved by the supervising fashion merchandising faculty member or department chair and the academic advisor. Internships may include fashion marketing organizations, fashion management or visual merchandising companies; retail stores and retail/wholesale corporations; or other individualized internships designed with coordination and cooperation from the site and the supervising fashion merchandising faculty member.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the employment for supervisors of retail sales personnel in clothing stores is expected to grow by eight percent by 2015. However, the growth rate projected for Illinois is 10 percent. A four year college degree will enhance one's opportunities and speed up the process for promotion. Executive training and management trainee programs offer the fastest route to junior executive positions.
- Susan Creasey, MBA, Assistant Professor
- Carmen Keist, PhD, Assistant Professor
- Wanmo Koo, PhD, Assistant Professor
- Mary Mhango, PhD, Professor, Department Chair