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Related Skills

  • Understanding of the importance of brand 
  • Strong team orientation
  • Specialized technical expertise
  • Customer orientation
  • Accountability
  • Entrepreneurial spirit
  • Seeks new ideas, products or processes
  • Proactive
  • Management skills
  • Ability to organize and prioritize workflow

Related Fields

The Fashion Design and Merchandising major offers two different tracks for students who are interested in specific areas of the fashion industry. The Merchandising track includes additional courses in retail buying while the Design and Product Development option includes additional courses in draping and flat pattern making. No matter which track a student chooses, the following skills and job titles can be obtained by any student pursing this degree.

  • Fashion Designer
  • Fashion Buyer
  • Visual Merchandiser
  • Stylist
  • Trend Forecaster
  • Boutique Owner
  • Distribution Coordinator
  • Fabric/Pattern Designer
  • Corporate Retail Consultant
  • Textile Scientist

Program Highlights

  • Courses in both Fashion Design and Merchandising
  • State-of-the-art design studio, textile lab, and historic costume collection
  • Student run fashion show every spring
  • Study fashion abroad in Europe or Asia

Being Successful in the Field

Get Experience Early

There are endless opportunities to get involved as you work toward a career in Fashion Design and Merchandising. Begin by joining a student organization like Fashion Design and Merchandising Association (FDMA) where you'll have the chance to network with faculty, alumni, and professionals as well as fellow students in the Fashion program at ISU.

You might also be interested in picking up a part-time job during the academic year. Bloomington-Normal is home to many retail companies as well as independently owned businesses that hire college students during the academic semesters.

Complete an internship that relates to your career goals. Students in the Fashion Design and Merchandising major will complete a required internship as part of their academic requirements, which typically takes place the summer between junior and senior year. As you engage yourself in your courses, start thinking early about your passions in the field, what you still want to learn, and what kind of internship will prepare you for the career you want after graduation.

Consider Earning a Minor

Depending on which track within the major a student chooses (Merchandising or Design), minors can help students gain additional practice and understanding in their future areas of expertise. Some common minors that pair well with each track include:

Merchandising Track

Design and Product Development

*Adding a minor is not required to graduate

Think about Graduate School

Although not required to be successful in the industry, a graduate degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising can qualify you to enter the workforce at a higher level and make you a more competitive professional in the field overall. Illinois State University offers a unique accelerated master's option for students who earn their bachelor's degree through the Fashion Design and Merchandising undergraduate program. More information can be found here.


  • Alexander Wang - New York City, NY
  • Claire's Stores, Inc. - Hoffman Estates, IL
  • Kohl's Corporate - Menomonee Falls, WI
  • Von Maur Headquarters - Davenport, IA
  • JC Penney Corporate Office - Austin, TX
  • Trunk Club - Chicago, IL
  • Walt Disney World - Orlando, FL
  • Seventeen Magazine - New York City, NY
  • Boutique Owners - Various

Career Industry Liaison

Name Office Email Phone
Kristy DeWall  223 Bone Student Center  (309) 438-2200 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Jenna Kirkwood  Turner Hall 106  (309) 438-2517