Fashion Merchandising – AAS

The Fashion Merchandising program is designed to fulfill the needs of those students who are seeking a career in the business side of the fashion industry. Students in fashion merchandising learn about the planning, production, promotion, and distribution of products in fashion industries to meet consumer demand. Students learn to define and analyze target markets, forecast trends, design and use visual communication, and plan and promote fashion products. Students also gain real-world skills in verbal, written and visual presentation, computer networking, product development, business communication, and project management.

UDC-CC’s Fashion Merchandising graduates will be trained to launch lucrative careers within the District of Columbia by seeking immediate employment in entry level positions primarily as:

  • Retail Buyers – Buy supplies / services, order everything from clothing to fabric to paper clips
  • Purchasing Managers – Represent the manufacturing and distributors of products to sell to the people who buy them for resale
  • Fashion Product Developers – Create everything from hospital uniforms to the most luxurious couture, and oversee the production of their items

The program fulfills a need to support the District of Columbia in its creation of 3,500 new retail-related jobs through Mayor Fenty’s Creative Action Agenda to add one million square feet of new retail space in the District.  The Department of Labor has predicted that employment of retail managers in the District of Columbia will grow approximately 15 percent by 2012. UDC-CC’s Fashion Merchandising program has already received support from fashion industry giants such as Tommy Hilfiger, through generous funding from his foundation.

Other entry-level positions that Fashion Merchandising graduates may qualify for include:

  • Fashion Trade and Event Organizers
  • Fashion Advertising Agents
  • Retail Boutique Managers and/or Owners
  • Visual Merchandisers
  • Fashion Public Relations Managers and Marketers
  • Fashion Sales Representatives
  • Fashion Journalists
  • Fashion and Wardrobe Consultants
  • Fashion Stylists
  • Theater Costume Department Supervisors
  • Importing/Exporting Sourcing Agents
  • Wholesale Purchasing Managers

The program will also prepare students with professional experiences.  Students will be trained to work as an intern at major fashion companies, sponsored by partnerships with corporations and internationally renowned organizations like Fashion Group International (FGI) and the Black Retail Action Group (BRAG), among others.

The UDC-CC Fashion Merchandising program consists of 62 credit hours, 26 hours of liberal arts and 36 hours of Fashion Merchandising courses including one elective, an internship, and a capstone course.  Students will be able to complete the program in four semesters if they are full-time students.  For more information about the Fashion Merchandising program, please contact the Community College at

Program of Study

On completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Identify and foster salable apparel based on quality, appropriateness, price, target market and aesthetic appearance.
  • Promote apparel effectively via visual presentation, writing and media, styling and fashion events.
  • Evaluate the use and maintenance of textiles.
  • Apply mathematical skill to compute stock levels, markups, markdowns, discounts, turnover, the six-month merchandise plan and open-to-buy.
  • Apply merchandising theory to retailing and apparel manufacturing.
  • Develop strategies for dealing with ethical issues in the fashion industry.
  • Recognize the effect of current social, political and international forces in the Global marketplace affecting production, sales, growth potential and profits.
  • Demonstrate competency in merchandising research, marketing and consumer analysis, and the application to merchandising problems.