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Business or Fashion Merchandising Undergrad?

alettealette Posts: 11Registered User New Member
edited June 2010 in Business Major
My daughter asks the following....." I would like to study for a career in the Fashion Industry. A school only offering Fashion Merchandising courses is too limiting. Should I consider an undergraduate business degree and then do an associates degree in Fashion Merch???? Or go somewhere like Parsons and then do an MBA???"

"I want to be the top in my field - I'm a sophmore Honors - AP student in a private HS."

Thanks for your help!
Post edited by alette on

Replies to: Business or Fashion Merchandising Undergrad?

  • taxguytaxguy Posts: 6,561Registered User Senior Member
    FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) is widely considered to have the best program in Fashion design and, I think, merchandising. It is part of the NY state university system. Thus, the tuition,even for out of state students, isn't bad.

    Syracuse also has fashion design as does RISD and some others. Check out Pratt to see if they have a program. I also think that Univ. of Delaware has a fashion merchanding program.
  • scubastevescubasteve Posts: 40Registered User New Member
    FIT's programs are extremely extensive. I few girls I know go there. They have classes for 5+ hours a day. However the education they recieve is top notch for their interests. It is the top fashion school for a reason. However be aware that the girls have complained to me about a lack of any campus whatsoever. Just a bunch of buildings along 9th avenue I believe.
  • wallingfwallingf Posts: 23Registered User New Member
    My daughter is interested in the same thing. We have looked at many schools - but i am encouraging her to pick a GOOD school that fits her (location, ranking, etc) - if it has fashion merchandising, that's great. If it doesn't, get a solid business degree. Most kids change their majors at least once and it would be a shame to waste a year at a specialty school and then decide you want something different.

    If you really think your daughter is 100% sure, FIT is probably the place to go...but if not, there are a lot of other schools out there that will offer her other avenues as she goes through college - including Syracuse, Marist, Univ of Delaware, Drexel, VCU, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Univ of Rhode Island. These all have Fashion Merchandising, as well as many other solid majors. UConn will let you tailor a Fashion Merchandising degree. I know there are other Midwest schools like these...but we only looked on the east coast.

    Good luck!!!
  • momrathmomrath Posts: 4,791Registered User Senior Member
    I am a 35 year veteran of the fashion business. I've been a designer, merchandiser and am now involved in sourcing. Unless a young personreally wants a creative position in pure design, I'd recommend that s/he go for a regular B.A. or B.S. instead of attending a fashion school like FIT. Later, if she wants she can supplement her degree with fashion specific courses at a school like FIT; however, I think that good communication and analytical skills plus on the job training would be sufficient.

    Over the years, I've worked with and hired hundreds of young people starting out in the rag trade -- either on the side of brand marketing or retail companies. The ones who are the most successful are those that have strong communication skills -- both oral and written -- and general analytical, problem solving skills. This means the ability to write clear and concise English, the ability to make effective presentations, the ability to work in a team environment.

    This is especially true if the person's long term goals are upper management: the days of the shirtsleeve manager are ending. Today's vice president most likely has an MBA in addition to a liberal arts degree. The student shouldn't be limited to business either. Any liberal arts subject will do. I've known managers who have studied engineering, biology, art history. The point is that they know how to think and how to interact in a sophisticated organization.

    The major garment companies and retail organizations are constantly looking for young people. For general management track jobs (again, I'm not talking about design) they overwhelming prefer kids with college degrees. They offer all sorts of formal and informal training opportunities.
  • taxguytaxguy Posts: 6,561Registered User Senior Member
    Momrath, doesn't this presume that folks that attend FIT can't write?They supposedly do teach liberal arts and English there.However, I am in agreement on your point that most people out of high school and many out of college don't have the writing skills that I would like as an employer. If I could change the curriculum in most schools, I would do away with the language, science and social science requirements and add a bunch of writing and English courses.
  • lookinglooking Posts: 101Registered User Junior Member
    My D is at Syracuse in the retail/Consumer studies major. Many of her courses overlap with business courses. This is a good way to get a well rounded education. The mephasis is in the fashion industry.. with advertising amd product developement, but you also get basic business courses like economics, and accounting.
    In this way I feel she is getting her fashion interest, but will also graduate with a degree that she can use elsewhere if she chooses. If you are not intereested in Design, I would look for a school that can offer more than just the fashion degree. Students change majors many times, and you don't want them to be too limited.

    I would look for a school that suits her fashion interest but also by location,and size. You want the school itself to be a good fit.
  • liek0806liek0806 Posts: 3,316Registered User Senior Member
    I think if your daughter was interested in Fashion Merchandising, she should definetly look into FIT instead of Parsons. The thing with Parsons is that it's an art school and for admission she'll be needing an art portfolio. I think having a art portfolio is useless unless your interested in going into the design field.

    Even though this school may not have name recognition, here in Los Angeles there's a school called Woodbury University. It use to be a mainly a school with business but has included fashion design, and fashion merchandising as majors. Admissions will be easy here, it would be a safety for your daughter.

    University of Wisconsin Madison aslo has a program in fashion but I'm not sure how strong it is. WUSTL does too, I guess if she wants a big name school she could probably major in business and minor or double major in fashion at WUSTL.
  • liek0806liek0806 Posts: 3,316Registered User Senior Member
    What about doing Fashion Merchandising undergrad and Business for Grad.
  • alettealette Posts: 11Registered User New Member
    Thank you so much ...I just have to repeat how much I love this web site!! As soon as D gets home from school I know she will find your posts sooo informative.

    MOMRATH..thanks for taking the time, you post really speaks to her. She is creative and takes art in school (I'm a full time artist) but she is definetly not interested in designing. She has excellent writing skills - that's her strongest point. I was of the opinion that a focus on business -writing/communication - marketing for undergrad and then maybe if she is still in love with fashion an associate degree from perhaps FIT. Because we had not found any where that seemed to have both and be a challange enough or be a strong enough place to resonate in the business world if she changes her mind about the fashion industry part later. My husband likes Babson for business - which seems to be very well respected but there was no fashion.

    Doing fashion undergrad and then getting into a top notch B school seemed really hard. And I think now a days most MBA candidates have been out working for a few years. Also it is true the Fashion undergrad would really be limiting if her focus changed later.

    Well thanks AGAIN -
  • lovejoylovejoy Posts: 107Registered User Junior Member
    The UW program offers a year in New York at FIT.
  • lifeisafestivallifeisafestival Posts: 20Registered User New Member
    Listen to the advice of experts in the field of fashion. Better to go for an authentic liberal arts education with analytical training in proximity to urban locations like New York City where you can begin interning in the fashion field. NYC is the fashion capital of the world so it makes the most sense, but also consider Los Angeles, Chicago, London and Paris. Schools to check out: NYU, Fordham, Occidental, USC, Loyola Marymount, Depaul, Loyola Chicago and American-friendly schools abroad in Europe.
  • FashionDesignerFashionDesigner Posts: 4Registered User New Member
    My son has a plan similar to what "lifeisafestival" recommends. Once he graduates from h.s., he will go to college in Tokyo. Japan has a number of really great fashion schools and, in general, private school tuition is cheaper there. He will start out at a four-year international liberal arts college as a business major and work on his Japanese. He will also take one fashion class at night each term at a nearby fashion college. After about a year or so, he will decide if this is "enough fashion education". If not, he will put his BA on hold and attend fashion design school full-time. He also hopes to intern as much as possible in Tokyo.

    Bunka ***usoku Daigaku, Mode Gakuen, and Vantan Institute are the top schools in the Tokyo area. All have both full-time day and part-time night programs.

    If any readers like this idea, remember to build in extra time to your college plan to bring your language skills up to a minimum level of fluency. In my son's case, he started taking college classes in high school, so he will start college with a year of credits earned.
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Posts: 20,011Super Moderator Senior Member
    You're spamming (since you said the exact same thing on another thread) a 5+ year old thread.
  • NanncyNanncy Posts: 2Registered User New Member
    My daughter too is interested in studying fashion merchandising
    We were looking at the Parsons Design and Management program - from what I gather it seems to be quite a good mix of fashion, liberal arts and management (under the dept electives one can pick fashion studies, merchandising etc)- can someone pls advice - as I'm quite keen that she gets a well rounded education
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