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Fashion Merchandising and Design Major

fashion major

Our fashion design program inspires students to envision fresh, creative approaches to meet the challenges facing the global apparel industry.





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Total Credit Hours: 120

Fashion Merchandising and Design
Requirements (34 hours)

Fashion Merchandising and Design Electives (12 hours)

AHRM Core Requirements (19 hours)

General Education (45 hours)

Electives (10 hours)

What You'll Study

We emphasize an integration of design, product development, and merchandising of apparel products.

Our fashion design graduates work as creative designers, technical designers, and product developers for companies such as Under Armour, Polo Ralph Lauren, Aéropostale, Kohl’s, Eddie Bauer, and Hickey Freeman. They use their creative skills to conceptualize couture and ready-to-wear lines presented and sold around the globe.

Our fashion merchandising graduates work as retail buyers, store managers, website developers, internet merchants, and visual merchandisers for companies such as: 

  • Oscar de la Renta
  • rue21
  • Lord and Taylor’s
  • Macy’s
  • HomeGoods
  • Haute Look
  • Victoria’s Secret

Core Requirements:

You will complete a core professional curriculum in apparel and textiles and specialize in apparel merchandising or apparel design and production. Students gain a practical application of knowledge and skills that emphasize analytic abilities, creative problem solving, and a global perspective.

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What is a Degree in Fashion Merchandising and Design 

Our fashion design programs provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a variety of roles within the fashion industry including:

  • Design
  • Technical design
  • Sourcing
  • Strategic planning
  • Buying
  • Merchandising
  • Retail management positions

Why Study Fashion and Merchandising and Design Here? 

Here's how we'll help you earn your degree:

  • Provide strong industry ties
  • Encourage internships
  • Host exhibitions of student work
  • Sponsor events that bring professionals and alumni to campus
  • Lead study tours within the United States and abroad

Beyond the Classroom

Professional Development 

Our faculty work side-by-side with students to advise them on pursuing research interests, presenting and publishing their work, and preparing them for careers. The Fashion Merchandising and Design Society is an organization for students interested in the fashion industry.  Members meet monthly and participate in career-building workshops. Our annual fashion show is a highlight of the organization. 


Professional Development

Undergraduate Research

While in the classroom, you will learn textile composition and drawing techniques. Then, you will spend time in design studios working with merchandise, creating visual displays in retail-size spaces, and using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software in the digital design lab.

In addition, Virginia Tech hosts the Oris Glisson Historic Costume and Textile collection which contains approximately 5000 items of historic significance dating from 1840 to the present. Portions of the collections are displayed throughout the year in the Wallace Hall Atrium and provide design inspiration, as well as historic documentation.


Undergraduate Research

Study Away

On our New York Fashion Study Tour, you can participate in a week-long trip to the Big Apple where you'll get the chance to network with New York fashion retailers, merchandisers, and apparel alumni. Guided tours of fashion houses and appointments with industry experts offer a full New York City fashion experience. 

The European Study Abroad is offered for several weeks every other summer (2019; 2021) and includes stops in London, Paris, Rome, Florence, and other European fashion capitals.  As part of this program you will visit universities with fashion programs, tour European boutiques, and visit design houses, like Prada.


Study Away

Study Away


In the past year, our students have interned with leading companies including:

  • Nordstrom
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Disney
  • Kate Spade
  • Lilly Pulitzer
  • Loft, J. Crew
  • Anna Sui
  • Showroom Delfina
  • Milly
  • Accessories Collective 

Jobs range from showroom sales and design, to e-commerce and public relations.  



What Our Students Are Saying

Careers and Further Study

What do I do with a fashion merchandising and design major?

Our graduates are prepared to enter the fashion industry in a variety of fields, including:

  • Design
  • Technical design
  • Sourcing
  • Strategic planning
  • Buying
  • Retail merchandising
  • Management

To learn more about career opportunities in the fashion merchandising and design major, contact:

Doris Kincade - Career Advisor

  • 111 Wallace Hall (0410)
  • (540) 231-7637