Apparel and Textile Merchandising students

Apparel and Textile Merchandising

Program Details

The WIU Department of Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising and Hospitality offers four undergraduate degree programs: dietetics, apparel and textile merchandising, hospitality management and nutrition and foodservice management. Students completing the apparel and textile merchandising program earn a Bachelor of Science degree in apparel and textile merchandising. The apparel and textile merchandising program offers three areas of emphasis: apparel product development; merchandising strategies and apparel and textile management. Areas of emphasis allow students to take more courses for a selected career path. Graduates are prepared for many different careers, including management positions in fashion buying, fashion promotion, visual merchandising and fashion retail positions.

The vision of the department is for graduates to be innovative, competent and critical thinking professionals who provide leadership and service within the workplace in a diverse, ever-changing environment. The mission of the department is to prepare students with the technical, human and conceptual skills for careers in consumer services.

In the apparel and textile merchandising program, students learn about apparel product development, buying, brand development, promotion, multi-channel retailing, fashion trends and forecasting, textiles and quality assurance, visual merchandising, consumer and professional practices, fashion history, dress diversity and fashion marketing in the fashion industry. Hands-on learning is emphasized throughout via lab work, supervised internship and practicum, field trips, community service, travel studies and study abroad programs. In the study abroad program students have studied in places such as Paris, London and Italy.

Student Activities

Students have many choices in their selection of departmental organizations. Any student may be selected to join DFMH Ambassadors, a group of students representing the department at University functions, or Kappa Omicron Nu (KONu) honorary society, which is open to any student with a minimum of 45 overall semester hours and a 3.2 GPA at WIU. The Visual and Apparel Merchandising Organization (VAMO) provides fashion-related experiences, such as field trips, guest speakers and fashion shows.

Special Opportunities in Apparel and Textile Merchandising

Students learn theory and practice with the electronic computer classrooms, visual merchandising spaces, textile laboratory and costume collection. Students also benefit from the department field trips, guest speakers and merchandising projects with local retailers that enhance the curriculum. Students may job shadow and/or support retailers and organizations with visual merchandising and promotional activities.

Department Minors

  • Apparel and Textile Merchandising
  • Event Planning and Management
  • Hospitality Management
  • Nutrition

Additional Resources

Possible Careers in Apparel and Textile Management

Students in this program complete a supervised internship of 240 work hours at the end of their coursework. Students have successfully completed internships at JC Penney, Claire’s, Nordstrom’s, Buckle, Gap Outlet, H&M, Kmart, maurices, Old Navy, Oscar de la Renta, Target, Aeropostale, Cato, Kohl’s, Deb, Bella Donna Bridal, After Hours Formal Wear, Berner’s, Ruehl, Lucky, Guess, Von Maur and Wet Seal.

Possible career paths
  • Apparel production management
  • Fashion buying
  • Fashion forecasters
  • Fashion journalists (write articles for fashion magazines, etc.)
  • Fashion promotion
  • Fashion merchandise management
  • Fashion product development
  • Historic costume preservation
  • Retail fashion merchandisers
  • Retail/wholesale corporates in the fashion industry
  • Sales representative
  • Stylist
  • Visual merchandising companies
  • Wardrobe consultant
fashion show

Internship opportunities

Apparel and Textile Merchandising (ATM) Courses

Please refer to the undergraduate catalog for detailed program information and course requirements.

170 (Formerly FCS 170) Introduction to Apparel Merchandising. (3) Introduction to the merchandising of fashion through the study of fashion vocabulary, the fashion process, fashion publications, and career opportunities.

171 (Formerly FCS 171) Basic Clothing Construction Techniques. (3) A broad range of sewing techniques and problems applied to a variety of projects for the individual. 2 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab. (Additional lab supplies to be purchased.)

190 (Formerly FCS 190) (Cross-listed with HM 190 and NUTR 190) Introduction to Professional Practices. (1) This course is designed to introduce DFMH majors to program expectations specific to their careers. Students will be exposed to a variety of resources to aid them in their studies. Not open to students with credit in HM 190 or NUTR 190.

270 (Formerly FCS 270) Textile Science. (3) Introduction to textile fibers, yarns, structures, and finishes related to performance, selection, and care of textile products. Prerequisite: ATM 170.

272 (Formerly FCS 272) Basic Design Concepts for Merchandising. (3) Explore the visual aspect of fashion products using principles and elements of design. Prerequisite: ATM 170. 2 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab. (Additional lab supplies to be purchased.)

274 (Formerly FCS 274) Apparel Merchandising Systems. (3) Provides an overview of basic math functions used in the fashion merchandising industry. Prerequisite: ATM 170.

276 Apparel Forecasting. (3) Introduction to methods and analysis techniques used by forecasters to predict future trends in the fashion industry including styles, fabrics, and colors. Prerequisites: ATM 170 and STAT 171.

278 (Formerly FCS 278) Merchandising Practicum. (3) Expose students to the fashion related retail environment. Prerequisite: ATM 170. 3 hrs. lect.; 4 hrs. lab.

331 (Formerly FCS 331) Consumer and Professional Practice. (3) Interrelationship of environments and the consumer, in addition to integrating professional practices in the apparel industry. Study of consumer services, consumer wants, professional behavior, and cultural diversity in the workplace. Prerequisites: ATM 170 and junior standing.

370 (Formerly FCS 370) Quality Assurance in the Apparel Industry. (3) A pragmatic application of evaluating performance characteristics of textiles, textile testing techniques, and the significance of quality in textile products. Prerequisite: ATM 270. 2 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab.

371 Apparel Product Analysis. (3) Study of manufacturing processes and practices used by fashion industries focused on ready-to-wear apparel production including written specifications, sizing, labeling, styling details, garment assembly, and cost. Prerequisite: ATM 270.

372 (Formerly FCS 372) Visual Merchandising. (3) Practical application of visual merchandising practices and techniques as related to fashion retail organizations, interiors, and their merchandise. Prerequisite: ATM 272. 2 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab. Additional lab supplies to be purchased.

373 (Formerly FCS 373) Fashion Promotion. (3) A practical approach to promotion techniques in the fashion industry. Prerequisites: ATM 372 and junior standing.

374 (Formerly FCS 374) Buying. (3) A study of fashion retail buying, practices, and procedures. Computer technology will be a part of this course. Prerequisite: ATM 274. Field trips and production work are required.

375 (Formerly FCS 375) Diversity of Dress. (3) (General Education/Multicultural Studies) (Global Issues) An exploration of diverse cultures through dress and adornment. Prerequisites: At least one course in each of Category III and Category IV of the University General Education Curriculum or permission of instructor.

376 (Formerly FCS 277 and FCS 376) Historical Costume—Twentieth Century. (3) A theoretical approach to twentieth century historic dress examined in the context of social, economical, political, and artistic development. Writing Instruction in the Discipline WID course. Prerequisites: ATM 170; ENG 180 and 280.

377 (Formerly FCS 377) Apparel Merchandising Travel Study. (3) Tours to domestic and international properties, facilities, and agencies related to the fashion industry. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of instructor.

378 (Formerly FCS 378) Seminar in Apparel Merchandising. (3) An analysis of current issues, trends, and future projections influencing the field of apparel and textile merchandising. Prerequisites: ATM 170 and permission of instructor.

470 Apparel Brand Management. (3) Overview of essential elements of fashion brands and the fashion branding process within the apparel and textile industry. Explore concepts, strategies, and issues involved in fashion branding and merchandising activities with respect to the stylistic aspects of the apparel industry. Prerequisites: ATM 170; junior standing or permission of instructor.

472 (Formerly FCS 472) Merchandising Strategies. (3) Visual merchandising practices and techniques applied to merchandise, store design, and store layout using industry software. Prerequisites: ATM 372 and junior standing.

473 (Formerly FCS 473) Apparel Merchandising Entrepreneurship. (3) A practical approach to researching and developing a fashion retail business plan. Prerequisites: ATM 274 and junior standing.

474 (Formerly FCS 474) Apparel Multi-Channel Retailing. (3) An overview and analysis of multichanneling as a retail model and its impact on the fashion industry. Prerequisites: ATM 374 and junior standing.

476 (Formerly FCS 476) Global Issues Affecting Apparel Merchandising. (3) A critical analysis of merchandising principles and practices as applied to the textile and apparel complex in a global context with emphasis on economic, political, environmental, cultural, and societal issues; geographic distribution, trade theory; trade data; and technological developments. Prerequisites: ATM 170, and junior standing or permission of instructor.

477 (Formerly FCS 477) (Cross-listed with HM 477) Theory and Research in Apparel Merchandising and Hospitality Management. (3) A study of theory, research methods, and analytical concepts in apparel and textile merchandising, hospitality management, and nutrition. Not open to students with credit in HM 477. Prerequisites: STAT 171 and junior standing.

478 (Formerly FCS 478) Apparel Merchandising Pre-Internship. (1) Preparation for the internship including resume writing, investigation of site opportunities, interviewing, and overview of the internship program. To be taken the semester before the internship. Prerequisites: ATM 170, 270, 276, and 331.

479 (Formerly FCS 479) Internship in Apparel Merchandising. (6) Supervised field experience for application of theory and skills in an agency or business approved by the department. 40 clock hours per semester hour are required. Prerequisites: ATM 478, 2.5 GPA in the major and 2.0 GPA overall, and site approved by the department. Graded S/U only.

480 Apparel Styling. (3) This course focuses on adapting fashion appearance to create the image working with clientele. It will acquaint students with the principles and practices of the image consulting industry. Prerequisites: ATM 170; junior standing or permission of instructor.

Contact Information

Department of Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising and Hospitality

Dr. Erskine R. Smith, Interim Chairperson
Location: Knoblauch Hall 140
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
Phone: (309) 298-1085

Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising and Hospitality Website

Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising and Hospitality Directory

College of Education & Human Services (COEHS)

Dr. Erskine Smith, Dean
COEHS Email:
Location: Horrabin Hall 117G
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
Phone: (309) 298-1690

COEHS Website

Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising and Hospitality Advising

Cheryl Hutchins
Knoblauch Hall 140
Phone: (309) 298-1085

Knoblauch Hall