PATHFINDER: Fashion merchandising experts subtly inspire consumers to see the possibilities in their products. Rekha Dar describes the scope of this challenging course.
Fashion merchandising is a blend of fashion sense and business expertise. Staying ahead of the fashion curve is a feat involving both art and commerce. Strategy and marketing know-how are an integral part of fashion merchandising.
Successful fashion merchandising is all about crafting a positive consumer experience. Fashion merchandising experts subtly inspire consumers to see the possibilities in their products. In a fashion merchandising job, your task is to connect fashion products with buyers.
The organised fashion industry is all about the management of the supply chain of various processes: designing, textiles, merchandising, garment production, fashion marketing and fashion retail. All the components carry their own importance. Much depends on the fashion merchandiser to ensure that a trendy, quality product is available on time to the consumer after it has left the studio of the designer.
Do you have it in you?
The skills required for fashion merchandiser’s job include: Forecasting ability: A thorough knowledge of past fashion trends and an awareness of current industry developments will serve you well in a fashion merchandising career. Analytical ability: Problem solving and analytical ability come in handy in this field. A good sense of style will obviously help you. However, you must also determine how your products fit into a budget and see if they meet the functional needs of your consumers. Communication skills: Fashion merchandising jobs require strong communication skills. From negotiating with manufacturers to getting your marketing message out to customers, there is ample opportunity to exercise the power of communication in this field.
Fashion merchandising, fashion marketing and fashion buying are closely related. Some companies may not have the resources or the need to separate these job functions. In other companies, however, it may make sense to divide the work load according to these different tasks.
A fashion merchandising job puts you at the intersection of fashion and business. Each organisation needs someone behind the scenes to make everything appear impressive and perfect. Fashion merchandising experts accomplish tasks like this as a matter of routine!
Trained fashion merchandisers work with domestic or foreign lifestyle/ fashion companies. Jobs are available in ready-to-wear production companies and large retail firms/chain stores. Export houses sign on merchandisers to coordinate between foreign retail stores and production houses. A fashion merchandiser can also work with fashion designers to come up with new products, keeping in mind the latest trends.
Admission and eligibility
Courses in fashion merchandising are offered by many fashion institutes. The courses combine creative skills with knowledge of fashion management and marketing trends. There are four-year undergraduate and two-year post-graduate courses in fashion or apparel merchandising.
Undergraduate courses are open to students who have passed their 10+2 examination in any stream. PG courses call for a basic understanding of fabric, fibres, weaves, as well as cutting, sewing, finishing along with a knowledge of international marketing and trade. Most of the institutes offering courses in fashion merchandising conduct an entrance test along with an interview to select candidates.
Fresh graduates in this industry earn approximately Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 a month. With some years of experience and talent one can take home Rs 45,000 a month. For fashion merchandisers turned entrepreneurs, the sky is the limit when it comes to money.
Institutes offering courses in Fashion Merchandising
*National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) Gulmohar Park, Hauz Khas New Delhi-110016 Ph: 011-26966431
*National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD) B-7, Shankar Garden, First Floor, Opp. Metro Pillar No.613 Main Najafgarh Road, Vikaspuri, New Delhi – 110018 Ph: 011-41000068/ 41000086
*Pearl Academy of Fashion (PAF) A-21/13, Naraina Industrial Area – Phase II, New Delhi-110028 Ph: 011- 41417693-94/ 25703451