Fashion Merchandising and Design Major
Our fashion design program inspires students to envision fresh, creative approaches to meet the challenges facing the global apparel industry.
OF STUDENTS COMPLETE INTERNSHIPS
ITEMS IN HISTORICAL COSTUME DESIGN
FASHION MERCHANDISING SCHOOLS IN THE U.S.
AVERAGE UPPER-LEVEL CLASS SIZE
Total Credit Hours: 120
Fashion Merchandising and Design
Requirements (34 hours)
Fashion Merchandising and Design Electives (12 hours)
AHRM Core Requirements (19 hours)
General Education (45 hours)
Electives (10 hours)
What You'll Study
We emphasize an integration of design, product development, and merchandising of apparel products.
Our fashion design graduates work as creative designers, technical designers, and product developers for companies such as Under Armour, Polo Ralph Lauren, Aéropostale, Kohl’s, Eddie Bauer, and Hickey Freeman. They use their creative skills to conceptualize couture and ready-to-wear lines presented and sold around the globe.
Our fashion merchandising graduates work as retail buyers, store managers, website developers, internet merchants, and visual merchandisers for companies such as:
- Oscar de la Renta
- Lord and Taylor’s
- Haute Look
- Victoria’s Secret
You will complete a core professional curriculum in apparel and textiles and specialize in apparel merchandising or apparel design and production. Students gain a practical application of knowledge and skills that emphasize analytic abilities, creative problem solving, and a global perspective.
Curious how the degree requirements will fit into your experience at Virginia Tech? See the roadmaps below for a sample schedule of courses each year. Your academic advisor will help you create a personalized version based on your goals and other areas of interest. The individualized plan will also include your AP, IB, dual enrollment, or transfer credit.
What is a Degree in Fashion Merchandising and Design?
Our fashion design programs provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a variety of roles within the fashion industry including:
- Technical design
- Strategic planning
- Retail management positions
Why Study Fashion and Merchandising and Design Here?
The fashion merchandising and design major offers a holistic approach to the fashion industry by learning about both the merchandising/business side as well as the design/product development side of the industry. With classes in product development, textiles, merchandising, and more, students learn how the industry works together from start to finish. Some typical career paths include design, buying, merchandising, product development, and retail management. You’ll gain strong industry ties, have opportunities for internships, participate in exhibitions of student work, engage with professionals and alumni on campus, and have the opportunity to participate in study tours within the United States and abroad.
Beyond the Classroom
Our faculty work side-by-side with students to advise them on pursuing research interests, presenting and publishing their work, and preparing them for careers. The Fashion Merchandising and Design Society is an organization for students interested in the fashion industry. Members meet monthly and participate in career-building workshops. Our annual fashion show is a highlight of the organization.
While in the classroom, you will learn textile composition and drawing techniques. Then, you will spend time in design studios working with merchandise, creating visual displays in retail-size spaces, and using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software in the digital design lab.
In addition, Virginia Tech hosts the Oris Glisson Historic Costume and Textile collection which contains approximately 5000 items of historic significance dating from 1840 to the present. Portions of the collections are displayed throughout the year in the Wallace Hall Atrium and provide design inspiration, as well as historic documentation.
On our New York Fashion Study Tour, you can participate in a week-long trip to the Big Apple where you'll get the chance to network with New York fashion retailers, merchandisers, and apparel alumni. Guided tours of fashion houses and appointments with industry experts offer a full New York City fashion experience.
The European Study Abroad is offered for several weeks every other summer (2023; 2025) and includes stops in London, Paris, Rome, Florence, and other European fashion capitals. As part of this program you will visit universities with fashion programs, tour European boutiques, and visit design houses, like Prada.
In the past year, our students have interned with leading companies including:
- Ralph Lauren
- Kate Spade
- Lilly Pulitzer
- Loft, J. Crew
- Anna Sui
- Showroom Delfina
- Accessories Collective
Jobs range from showroom sales and design, to e-commerce and public relations.
The goal of the fashion merchandising and design (FMD) program is to prepare students to envision and practice innovative, technically accurate, and creative approaches to meet the career demands in the exciting and fast-paced global fashion industry. Through cutting edge curriculum, students gain skills in technologies and learn in-depth information about this consumer-centric industry, from fibers and fabrics for textiles; to apparel product design, development and production; to retail merchandising and sales.
Goal 1: Advance national and international recognition of the FMD program
Goal 2: Enrich the undergraduate experience
Goal 3: Advance the relationship between the FMD program and the fashion industry
The mission of the fashion merchandising and design program is to provide students with a solid academic background as well as an industry relevant degree in fashion merchandising and design. We incorporate consumer, business, and design perspectives into teaching and learning, research and creative scholarship, and outreach.
Careers and Further Study
What do I do with a fashion merchandising and design major?
Our graduates are prepared to enter the fashion industry in a variety of fields, including:
- Technical design
- Strategic planning
- Retail merchandising
To learn more about career opportunities in the fashion merchandising and design major, contact:
Doris Kincade - Career Advisor
- 111 Wallace Hall (0410)
- (540) 231-7637