Apparel & Textile Merchandising

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Bachelor of Science in Apparel and Textile Merchandising                  

The Bachelor of Science in Apparel and Textile Merchandising prepares students with the skills and knowledge for a broad range of careers in the fashion industry. The curriculum focuses on merchandising as applied to products and services of the apparel and textile industries. Students learn about apparel product sourcing and distribution, profitability, applied market research, consumer behavior, customer feedback and evaluation methods, promotion and retailing campaign development, and applications to specific domestic and international consumer markets. Students have opportunities to apply retail, basic design principles, and computer skills to marketing and management functions in retail organizations, display/visual departments, or mall corporate offices. The program prepares students to establish product lines/brands, and organize promotional campaigns, at various levels to attract retailer interest, wholesale purchasing, and supply contracts.

Field trips, guest speakers, student organizational activities (Visual and Apparel Merchandising Organization), fashion productions and event planning, travel studies, and study abroad programs enhance the comprehensive curriculum and contribute to a strong foundation in retail customer service in a variety of positions including store manager, buyer, visual merchandiser, display director, fashion show coordinator and fashion mall director. Because of the experiential nature of the curriculum students are provided ample opportunities to develop leadership skills, problem solving abilities, creative skills and to become proficient with the use of technology. Opportunities to participate in study tours to New York, and other markets, fashion professional career days, advisory council seminars, regional student organizations, studying abroad, and/or completing an internship abroad exist for all students.

  Admission to the Department

No additional requirements for admission to the Department of Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising and Hospitality, or department options, exist beyond the university admission requirements as listed in the Western Illinois Undergraduate Catalog. Interested students are encouraged to refer to the university catalog and the Office of Admissions located in Sherman Hall.

Buckle  Program Objectives

After successful completion of the program students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate competencies fundamental in the apparel and textile merchandising profession including product development, visual merchandising and promotion, and strategic supervision of the merchandise supply chain.
  1. Prepare seasonal buying plan based on fashion forecasts for upcoming seasons using fashion industry-related technology.
  1. Apply management, leadership, and ethical decision-making skills within the apparel industry in a global, cultural and diverse society.
  2. Demonstrate how to locate, interpret, evaluate and use professional literature to make evidence-based practice decisions related to apparel and textile merchandising.
  1. Apply academic knowledge in a professional setting and organizational culture of an apparel and textile merchandising enterprise.
  1. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication and documentation related to the fashion industry.

  Study Abroad

Students may participate in the study abroad program. The last study abroad fashion trip was to Italy in 2012. 


Students completing Apparel and Textile Merchandising are required to complete an industry related internship program. Internship sites must be approved by the supervising fashion merchandising faculty member or department chair and the academic adviser. Internships may include fashion marketing organizations, fashion management or visual merchandising companies; retail stores and retail/wholesale corporations; or other individualized internships designed with coordination and cooperation from the site and the supervising fashion merchandising faculty member.

  Career Opportunities

Information about careers in fashion merchandising may be found at http://www.onetonline.orghttps://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/prepare-for-college/careers/search in the Occupational Outlook Handbook found online at www.bls.gov/oco/, and on the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) website http://itaaonline.org/?

  • 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

  Faculty in this area include: