What is Fashion Merchandising? (Types, Skills, Requirements)

What a fashion merchandiser does actually

What is Fashion Merchandising? (Types, Skills, Requirements)

The ever-evolving fashion industry is more than just what we think- designing the clothes. A fashion brand entails much more planning and responsibilities than just a designer, from purchasing the clothing to styling and appealing presenting the apparel. This is where Fashion Merchandiser plays a vital role in marketing the right products to the right target at the right time and getting the customers to buy the trends. So if you’ve got the fashion sense and the interest in marketing and management, then Fashion Merchandising is the field that awaits you.

Learn more about this career to see whether it’s a perfect choice to go for or not your thing.

What is fashion merchandising? Why is fashion merchandising important?

What is fashion merchandising

Being a fashion merchandiser means you must wear different hats to ensure the maximum profit within this industry.
Stepping into this field means living a life full of promises and challenges. Sometimes you’ve to buy the stuff from vendors by considering the budget, implementing the store layouts, and other times it is the promotion that you’ve to focus on with strategic analytical insights. Collaborating with designers and determining whether the product will meet customers’ needs are other equally important ingredients of this career.

”Fashion Merchandising is the science of identifying and predicting fashion trends by blending fashion expertise with fine-tuned marketing and management abilities.”

Experts are needed in every business to analyze, work on, and play a role in bringing it to the top. That is why Fashion Merchandisers are considered the most important people due to having a part in everything, from brand setup to purchasing and from replenishment to laying out a store. Fashion retails cannot succeed without them because it’s all about the first impression that connects us. Right?

Responsibilities of Fashion Merchandiser

The key duties of Fashion Merchandiser include

  • Attending different fashion shows to evaluate the latest trends
  • Predicting the future fashion market trends
  • Purchasing the needed inventory from suppliers
  • Develop creative marketing campaigns and strategies
  • Negotiating with designers
  • Coordinating with all the inner working departments 
  • Design appealing store displays 
  • Creating a monthly budget 
  • Ensure all stores have enough inventory to complete the visual displays
  • Analyzing sales data and insights to make informed decisions

You may now have an idea of what a fashion merchandiser does actually. Thus, Fashion Merchandising may be the field for you if you know how to understand, analyze, forecast, source, and respond to trends and customer behaviours with excellent creativity and collaboration. 

Note: Fashion merchandisers work with various items, including clothing for men and women, as well as accessories, cosmetics, jewelry, and shoes. A textile factory or a retailer mostly employs them.

Difference between Fashion Designing and Fashion Merchandising

Fashion designing and Fashion merchandising both are essential fields of the fashion industry that create fashion trends and help make them available to the public. But there’s a stark difference between them that exists to set them apart.

Fashion designing is all about conceptualizing new clothing ideas and techniques to develop trends for the market. Usually, fashion designers design new-to-market clothing styles to appeal to the target. Then, they supervise production and work directly with manufacturers to add fabric plus decorations for their designs.

Whereas, Fashion Merchandising is mainly associated with utilizing business and marketing knowledge with management skills and fashion sense to turn the products into profits. Fashion merchandisers are also responsible for creating eye-catching visual displays by selecting from the existing clothes to attract people to shop. More importantly, they negotiate with all the working departments- designers, sales, marketing, vendors, etc. and serve as a bridge between different working areas. These are some basic things that you will learn in the Fashion Merchandising field.

In short, Fashion merchandising is the business aspect, whereas fashion designing is the artistic aspect of the fashion industry.

History of Fashion Merchandising

History of Fashion Merchandising

We’ve usually heard a rationale that there has always been a historical gap between technical and theoretical instruction in educational institutions. So let’s find out how.

Fashion merchandising has a long and tangled history with the fashion business (Breward, 2003). The advent of the fashion industry coincided with the development of the merchandising concept. However, until the twentieth century, the discipline of Fashion merchandising was not as well-known as it is today (Perrot, 1994). The specific media of communication, like magazines, began to publish fashion shots in the twentieth century in France, leading to an increase in merchandising opportunities.

By the end of the First World War, many people had begun to spend conspicuously on Fashion and other clothes in the early twenty-first century. This rise in demand for expensive clothes made many people enter the fashion industry.
After that, the fashion industry, like all other industries, got affected by the Great Depression of the 1930s, yet it provided opportunities for self-employment and employment. Many unemployed individuals showed unprecedented interest in Fashion. According to Ruffing (2009), despite the country’s terrible economic and social challenges, notable designers such as Elsa Schiaparelli remained resilient.

Many individuals, companies, and other stakeholders were drawn to the fashion industry in the 1950s. This meant that a large number of employees would be needed to meet the rising demand for fashion items. But despite the growing demand for technical skills, state educational institutions continued to provide traditional education to students.
It’s worth noting that by 1980, a slew of new technical institutions had sprouted across the globe. Naturally, they began offering Fashion merchandising-related curriculums to fill the gaps.

Slowly and gradually, many states have realized how critical it is to ensure that technical education is integrated into the regular school curriculum. By 2009, nearly all municipal and state governments and educational institutions had acknowledged the relevance of Fashion and incorporated it into the secondary school curriculum (Gordon, 2008). And here we are!

Types of Fashion Merchandising

Fashion Merchandising can be divided into three subtypes.

1. Export Merchandising

Globalization has led to the urge to hire an export merchandiser to increase the profit and revenue by keeping up with the competitors. Export merchandisers serve as a bridge between the manufacturers and buyers. In addition, he is responsible for selling retail goods in the foreign consumer market. 

2. Retail Merchandising

Retail merchandisers are responsible for overseeing the retail’s stock availability and dealing with suppliers. It’s their responsibility to ensure that a certain product should be available at the right time in a store with the exact or estimated quantity. They also have to monitor the retail’s performance and stock levels and set prices to maximize profit. 

3. Visual Merchandising

Visual merchandising is about creating captivating displays, styling the mannequins with inspiring looks, and decorating the store creatively to evoke the customer’s desires. Also known as Display Designer, a visual merchandiser is responsible for using creative pops and other accessories like shoes and bags to achieve complete and compelling compositions. 

Fashion Merchandising skills

Fashion Merchandising skills

A fashion merchandiser encompasses various responsibilities within an organization. To manage all that efficiently, he has to be multiskilled to deal with anything that comes his way. Following are the skills that a fashion merchandiser must have to become versatile and enjoy an exciting career.

  • Knowledge of the fashion industry and fashion sense
  • Researching and discovering the fashion trends
  • Evaluating the future fashion course
  • Updated fashion and worldly trends information 
  • Business and marketing acumen
  • Creative styling and strategic merchandising 
  • Strong communication skills
  • Data analyzing and fashion forecasting skills 
  • Exceptional management and organization skills
  • Understanding of demographics and promotional tactics 
  • Excellent negotiating skills 
  • Skills of maintaining relationships with customers and valuing their taste

Pros and Cons of Fashion Merchandising


  • A good chance to travel
  • Personal development
  • Because it’s a versatile field, you can easily move into any related area
  • Soft-skills development
  • A variety of work options is accessible.
  • It helps develop contacts with people of other backgrounds, occupations, cultures, countries, and languages.
  • A well-paid position to choose for. 
  • It makes you a real-and-reel-life stylist. 


  • You would find a huge competition in this field
  • The workload is excessive, and so are the responsibilities
  • You may have to travel excessively from one place to another 
  • Perhaps you’ve to work late for hours, as required
  • A crucial and demanding role

Requirements for Fashion Merchandising

Requirements for Fashion Merchandising

Just because the industry is highly competitive, post-secondary educational qualifications and experience gained through internships or volunteer work are required. Some basic requirements for a Fashion Merchandiser include

1. A bachelor’s degree in Fashion merchandising is essential to enter this line with artistic and leadership skills.

2. A year’s or two prior experience to prove oneself able to get a room in an organization.

Note: As retailers and textile manufacturers don’t hire inexperienced profiles, an internship will become handy to get your hands on the job opportunities.

3. Some continue development courses like graphic designing, advertising, retail management, marketing, etc. 

Note: Going for a master’s degree will also work for you to get highly-paid salaries or promotions, based on education level)

4. And the Fashion Merchandising skills as discussed above. 


1. How Much Can You Earn In Fashion Merchandising Field?

A fashion Merchandiser’s salary is mostly determined by his experience. If he had served a large manufacturer or retailer in the past, he would surely be rewarded with greater financial upside. Location is another factor that can play critically. 

However, according to the data provided by popular job site Payscale.com, the average salary of a fashion merchandiser is more than $45,000. However, fashion merchandiser can make more than this annually if he works smartly to get enough promotions and incentives. 

2. Degrees required for Fashion Merchandising

The minimal educational qualification is a bachelor’s degree in Business or Fashion merchandising and Textiles. However, some firms favour candidates with a fashion degree, professional experience, and an MBA.

Laura Halen is a Creative Content Writer. She has more than 10 years of experience in writing for the fashion industry. She is an expert at writing well research and well-crafted content.

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