Major/Minor Feature: Fashion Merchandising Major

Eva Mihelic, Staff writer

The Fashion Merchandising program is highly unique and competitive, but many people do not know what it entails. As stated on the Mercyhurst website, the Fashion Merchandising program is a “comprehensive, business-oriented curriculum [that] provides students with an in-depth look into the fashion industry. This includes courses in fashion history, product line development, buying and planning, distribution, visual merchandising, textiles, styling and brand marketing.”

Many people have the misconception that this program is solely about putting nice outfits together and learning about the best combinations in color schemes, but it is much more than that. Fashion is an ever-changing industry, so students who complete the program learn to be critical thinkers who are globally and socially aware individuals who are involved in the business industry. By graduation, students with a degree in Fashion Merchandising will have a set of distinct skills.

Per the Mercyhurst website, learning outcomes of the program include “data gathering and problem-solving, the ability to distinguish the intrinsic and extrinsic characteristics of textile complex, demonstrate written and oral presentation skills, demonstrate knowledge of planning and production and demonstrate knowledge of mathematical concepts and financial statements related to merchandise buying and planning.”

A unique aspect to this program is the 3+1 program giving students a chance to either study abroad in Paris for their fourth year, or studying in New York City to obtain a B.S. in Fashion Merchandising at Mercyhurst and an associate degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology. This enables students to gain experience from other places besides Mercyhurst, opening the doors of the fashion business world.
Sarah Beck, a freshman Fashion Merchandising major, shared that she originally came into Mercyhurst as an undecided major, but after taking one class in the fashion department, she fell in love with the program.

“I hope to gain a lot from the Fashion Merchandising program. I am passionate about education and the act of learning especially when the subject is something I truly enjoy,” said Beck. “I primarily want to gain an inclusive and broad education that will guide me in my future career as well as in my personal life.”

Beck adds that she enjoys the opportunities to meet other students with similar interests and passions as her.

“I hope to gain more from the program than just an education. Through my time at Mercyhurst and in the Fashion Merchandising program I aspire to build meaningful relationships with peers and professors as well as get connected with Mercyhurst fashion alumni to experience everything that I possibly can,” said Beck. “In addition, I am currently still exploring what I specifically want to do in the fashion industry, so I also hope to discover where I will fit into the industry as I progress throughout this program.”

In addition to the aforementioned study abroad opportunities within the fashion merchandising program, there is an additional FSAT study abroad trip for students in and out of the program to England, Ireland, and Scotland that Beck said she is particularly excited about. This is just another way that students in the program will be able to experience fashion firsthand outside of the U.S., giving them even more insight into fashion as a global business.

Students who are interested in the fast-paced world of fashion and enjoy business-oriented classes should consider picking up a fashion merchandising major or minor. It provides students with inquisitive attitudes and a great attention to detail that is greatly needed in today’s life. Plus, you’ll leave with a great sense of style which is just another incentive of the program!