The goal of the Fashion Merchandising major within HPU’s School of Art & Design is to prepare students to acquire entry-level positions in the fashion retail sector, including jobs in retail management, merchandising, and buying, en route to a career that could include merchandise allocation and planning, international sourcing, branding, and marketing within the fashion industry.
The major offers experiential opportunities, lucrative internships and hands- on learning experiences that will engage students, facilitate learning and deliver a comprehensive foundation of knowledge about the fashion industry.
Opportunities for experiential learning
Students in the Fashion Merchandising major have the opportunity to engage in several out-of-classroom experiences that supplement knowledge gained in major courses. Some of these experiential opportunities including working at High Point Furniture Market in sales or merchandising, and visiting or working at Showtime Market, the internationally acclaimed textiles event. Students may also participate in trips to New York City to visit industry professionals and gain valuable real-world information about the fashion and retailing industries, and students are required to complete an internship at a fashion company as part of the major, which will ensure that they have gained the skills necessary to succeed in this highly competitive and lucrative field.
Requirements for B.S. in Fashion Merchandising (62 credits)
Internships & Outcomes
- Calvin Klein
- Oscar de la Renta
- Restoration Hardware
- Shinola Detroit
- Tory Burch
- Victoria’s Secret
Upon graduating from the Fashion Merchandising program, students will demonstrate the ability to:
- Define problems as they relate to the discipline
- Gather and analyze relevant information and use critical thinking to evaluate issues
- Explore and generate creative and strategic solutions via a systematic and coordinated process
- Convey intent in a professional manner as appropriate to the audience
- Justify and defend solutions as they relate to relevant criteria derived from the problem or larger concepts that recognize best practices or innovation
- Discuss the many facets of fashion as it relates to the global environment as a broader entity of society in terms of providing symbolic meaning, a form of communication, jobs, physical protection, and sustainability.
- Utilize life-skills to enhance productivity, flexibility, and collegiality (presentation, leadership, time management, commitment, curious mind)
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The Fashion Merchandising major provides a blend of cross-disciplinary courses in order to provide students with both creative and analytical skill sets to prepare them for entry-level positions in fashion retail sector, including jobs in retail management, merchandising, and buying, en route to a career that could include merchandise allocation and planning, international sourcing, branding, and marketing within the fashion industry. The major offers experiential opportunities, lucrative internships, and hands-on learning experiences that will engage students, facilitate learning, and deliver a comprehensive foundation of knowledge about the fashion industry.
Alumni from High Point University with degrees in visual merchandising design have a wide range of career opportunities that include:
- Visual Display Design
- Product Line Development
- Brand Management
- Retail Store Management
- Retail Store Design
- Visual Display Management
- Merchandising Management
- Retail Buying
- Exhibit Design
- Staging & Event Design
- Marketing Management
Featured Graduate Outcomes:
Meredith Matsakis, ’17 – Design Works International in New York City as a visual and social content coordinator
“HPU has helped me get to where I am because of the institution’s ability to say “yes.” Along with the great facilities and knowledgeable faculty, HPU let me explore all of my passions from VMD to Theatre to Communications. If I had an idea for a project, or a way I could adapt something to make it more relevant to me, the answer was always, “yes, how can we make that happen?” That type of support is hard to find on a college campus and I am grateful for that mentality.”
Nick Bellamy, ’17 – Pottery Barn Assistant Buyer in San Francisco, California
“HPU helped me prepare for a future by surrounding me with opportunities and individuals that gave valuable insight into the professional post grad world. Being a Visual Merchandising student here and having the opportunity to not only work at the furniture market during market season but also being able to hold an internship with a company while taking classes at HPU helped prepare me for a full-time career. The opportunities that HPU is able to offer students majoring in design, business, and sales at the High Point Furniture Market are so valuable and hard to find at other learning institutions across the country.”
Ashley Chisholm, ’14 – Designer at Restoration Hardware’s flagship store
“Furniture Market was something HPU introduced me to. With the help of the Career and Internship Services, I was able to find internships that were perfect for me.”
Victoria Valentinas, ’12 – Visual Merchandising Coordinator for Bassett Industries and HGTV Home Furniture
“I chose High Point University for my design education because of its ideal location associated with the High Point International Home Furnishings Market. My professors provided me with the steps to succeed in the furniture industry through networking, internships, and presentation-intensive projects to gain professional poise. Now that I am an alum, I am proud to say that High Point University has gotten me to where I am today.” Watch Victoria’s Alumni Profile.
Requirements for the B.S. in Fashion Merchandising (62 credits)
- ART 1150 (4) Digital Art and Design
- FMD 1100 (4) Introduction to Fashion Merchandising
- FMD 2100 (4) Social Constructs in Fashion
- FMD 3650 (4) Digital Merchandising in the Fashion Industry
- FMD/GBS 3800 (4) Global Strategies in the Fashion Industry
- FMD 4811 (4) Internship
- FMD/VMD Elective (4)
- MKT 2100 (4) Principles of Marketing
- MKT 3180 (4) Marketing Communication
- MKT 3200 (4) Consumer Behavior
- VMD 2235 (4) History of Fashion & Visual Merchandising
- VMD 2300 (4) Materials and Textiles
- VMD 3100 (4) Visual Merchandising Studio I
- VMD 3200 (4) Special Topics Studio
- VMD 4100 (2) Merchandise Planning & Control
- FMD 4300 (4) Senior Capstone
- Other courses as previously listed. (VMD 2300 moves from 2 to 4 credits)
FMD 3650 Digital Merchandising in the Fashion Industry
This course familiarizes students with merchandising theory, major concepts and the realities of putting together a cohesive product assortment and presenting it effectively to a targeted group of customers with regard to pricing, assorting, styling, and timing. Students will also be exposed to contemporary technologies utilized in the fashion industry, particularly with regard to e-commerce technologies and merchandising on digital platforms. The concepts of branding, licensing, brand management and ownership rights, as applied to the fashion industry will also be explored.
FMD/GBS 3800 Global Strategies in the Fashion Industry
This course provides an in-depth investigation of global business trends as they relate specifically to the apparel and textile complex. Sourcing strategies for apparel and related consumer products will be explored, as will global platforms, business and cultural environments, and trade transactions used in conducting business in the international marketplace. Trade policies, as they relate to the fashion industry, will be examined, and students will gain an understanding of contemporary issues in the global marketplace, such as corporate social responsibility and sustainability in the fashion industry.
FMD 4300 Senior Fashion Capstone
In this course, students will study contemporary issues related to the fashion and retail industries. Students will apply knowledge and skills to solve real world industry problems by developing the concept for an original retail experience. This studio builds on information and skills learned in previous studios, and students will create an original retail business plan, involving consumer research, trend research, budgeting, product assortment planning, pricing, sourcing, store layout, merchandising strategies, and promotional strategies.
*Fashion Merchandising majors earning the VMD minor must take INT 2180 and INT 2220
*Interior Design majors earning the VMD minor must take FMD 3650 and MKT 3180
Lorenzo de’ Medici Certificates for Visual Merchandising Design
Available during the spring semester for juniors studying Visual Merchandising Design or Fashion Merchandising who have completed and passed all courses required for the major by the December prior to departure. Students completing one of these certificates receive credit for VMD 3200 Studio V.
Visual Communication for Fashion
The core courses of this certificate provide an overview to facilitate the understanding of design and visual communication in the fashion industry. The diverse fields of study offer students insight into the areas of communicating fashion through illustration, retail merchandising displays, fashion reviews, blogs, and through the lens of fashion photography.
Students learn to understand fashion as a significant cultural expression, and to use brand positioning strategies to convey fashion identity through both traditional and digital channels. Students are taught the basics of drawing and rendering fashion figures, harmonic proportions, color contrasts, and spatial relations of shapes. They also effectively analyze artworks and styles as a source of creativity, and develop a personal approach through visits to couturiers, design fairs, and exhibits.
- Introduction to the Fashion Industry
- Fashion Communication *
- Fashion Illustration I
- Principles of Fashion Photography
- History of Italian Fashion
* Highly recommended prerequisite: VMD 2235 History of Fashion and Visual Merchandising
The LdM Fashion Design Certificate offers students the opportunity to work in a variety of career disciplines: Fashion Designer, Fashion Editor, Stylist, Illustrator, Patternmaker, Quality Manager, Fashion Critic, Product Developer, Technical Drawer, Show Room Manager, Personal Shopper and many more. Students are given an overview of the industry, as well as a solid foundation of costume history and textile science. Draping, pattern making, construction, and illustration are taught, allowing each student to execute a collection which will later be displayed during a fashion show or an exhibit at the end of the year.
- Construction Techniques
- Fashion Illustration I
- CAD for Fashion Design
- Trend Forecasting
Required Elective: (choose one)
- Knitwear I
- History of Italian Fashion
- Principles of Fashion Photography