Fashion merchandisers are employed by wholesalers and retailers to buy from manufacturers or wholesalers for retail to the public. This is a part of the complex distribution system that is in place to supply shops with fashion items at the time that they are in fashion ??? a difficult process, especially as fashion cycles are getting shorter now, as short as 6 weeks, and effectively every delivery of items are new designs.
Fashion Merchandisers have to be absolutely aware of the demands of their markets, and preferably ahead of them. If a merchandiser is particularly talented they will actually help to set fashions rather than just follow them. However, this can be really difficult to sustain, and there has to be an underlying understanding of what influences fashion choices.
Wholesalers and retailers prefer to hire merchandisers who have a college degree, who are familiar with the fashion market and who understand the processes of wholesaling and retailing. They usually take graduates with relevant training in the trade, so taking a Fashion Merchandising degree is a really good step towards entering this profession.
Earnings are good, with a median salary for merchandisers of $37,200 according to the US Department of Labor. Promotion is usually up to purchasing manager, who earn around the $53,000 mark.
Directory of Fashion Merchandising Schools