Career Information

Where can a degree in Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles take you?

Some of the major career fields and careers in the textile and apparel industry include:

Business

Customer Service & Consumer Relations Director
Entrepreneur
International Business 

Design and Illustration

Apparel and Product Designer
Graphic Artist
Illustrator
Textile Designer
Theatrical Costume Designer

Education

Education & Consumer Relations Training Supervisor
Education Director

Management and Sales

Department Manager
Merchandising, Marketing, and Retailing Manager
Production Supervisor
Quality Control Director
Sales Representative
Store/ Boutique Manager

Marketing

Advertising/ Art Director
Fashion Forecaster
Market Analyst

Merchandising

Buying Coordinator
Piece Goods Buyer
Product Developer
Retail Buyer

Miscellaneous

Costume Curator
Comparison Shopper
Fashion Coordinator
Fashion Director
Stylist
Wardrobe Director
Wardrobe/ Image Consultant

Public Relations

Promotion & Media Fashion Representative
Public Relations Agent
Publicity Coordinator

Publishing

Fashion Editor
Fashion Writer

 

Textiles

Interior Textiles Representative

The textile and apparel industry is a very fast-paced, creative, and energetic field.  Students interested in this industry enjoy innovation, originality, problem-solving and working with people in the United States and abroad.

Advertising/ Art Director

  • Direct the creation of the overall concept for a promotion campaign

Apparel and Product Designer

  • Originate design ideas through combining fashion forecasting and artistic trends
  • Negotiate selection among design ideas with merchandisers and market researchers
  • Use blend of illustration and computer-aided design skills to represent designs
  • Carry out selected designs through combination of draping and pattern making skills
  • Work closely with fabric sales representatives to maintain up-to-date on fabric trends
  • Direct staff of assistants, illustrators/sketchers, patternmakers, sample makers, graders, and production workers

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Buying Coordinator

  • Coordinate and assist retail store buyers to do their best work
  • Research fashion trends and prepare bulletins to assist retail buyers
  • Accompany retail buyers to market when requested
  • Make buying selections for member stores, all branches of a chain store, mail-order catalog, or specialty store consortium when requested
  • Handle reorders and adjustments

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Comparison Shopper

  • Compare merchandise, advertisements and displays of competitive stores with their own. Evaluate inventory assortments and whether styles are up to date
  • Evaluate customer service practices and contribute to improvements as well a customer information material

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Costume Curator

  • Direct restoration, conservation, cataloguing, and display of historic textiles and apparel products and fashion magazines

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Customer Service & Consumer Relations Director

  • Handle consumer complaints and requests for special services
  • Oversee returns and ensure customers are treated fairly

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Department Manager

  • Direct the sales activities of a department
  • Serve as a liaison between buyer and salespeople
  • Maintain inventory pricing and control records
  • Direct customer returns and adjustment policies

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Education & Consumer Relations Training Supervisor

  • Provide orientation seminars for executive trainees and new salespeople
  • Update all salespeople on new procedures, trends, or equipment

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Education Director

  • Direct creation of educational materials, audiovisual aids, and teaching consumers ways to use them. May include sewing or design classes, machine demonstrations, trade show presentations, special workshops, or events
  • Create educational materials for distribution in conjunction with presentations

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Entrepreneur

  • Seen as market niche for product, service, or business, and pulls together the means to fill that niche. Combine knowledge of the product or service with business and management skills

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Fashion Coordinator

  • Interpret fashion trends at several stages in the textile/apparel pipeline from design and production to wholesale and retail sales
  • Work with fashion forecasters and merchandisers to determine trends to be promoted through fashion shows, visual merchandising, and advertising activities
  • new designs and directions

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Fashion Director

  • Keep retail departments updated on latest fashion trends
  • Direct storewide visual merchandising to create an overall theme
  • Interact with fashion coordinators at central offices and with advertising and media to maintain intended theme
  • Handle in-store fashion shows and other visual promotions
  • Interpret fashion forecasting news and market research for buyers and merchandise managers

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Fashion Editor

  • Select content for fashion pages of newspaper, magazine, trade periodical, or mail- order catalog
  • Work with writers, sketchers, photographers, designers, and/or merchandisers in developing information

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Fashion Forecaster

  • Conduct research to establish precise future predictions of fabric, color, texture, pattern, and product style trends to help designers, merchandisers, promoters, and advertisers across the textile and apparel industry
  • Work for a specific company or sell services for membership fees

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Fashion Writer

  • Work for newspapers, magazines, and advertising agencies in preparing fashion- related articles, books, advertisements, press kits, and catalogs

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Graphic Artist

  • Design artwork for promotional campaign, including printed materials, posters, advertisements, and three-dimensional displays

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Illustrator

  • Provide fashion illustrations or sketches to aid designers, advertisers, apparel or textile manufacturers, pattern companies, sales representatives, or publishers

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Interior Textiles Representative

  • Work with Interior Design firms, home textile departments, and others to source or merchandise textiles for interior end uses

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International Business

  • Interface with design production/quality assurance, marketing, buying, consumer relations, importing and/or promotion functions of the global textile and apparel industry
  • Provide cultural awareness/sensitivity to business operations

Market Analyst

  • Conduct market research through consumer tastes and developing trends
  • Coordinate textile design and production with overall fashion developments

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Merchandising, Marketing, and Retailing Manager

  • Work with designers, fashion forecasters, and market researchers to develop promotion strategy and content of season’s lines
  • Supervise buyers and sales managers for specific markets such as Women’s, Men’s, Sportswear, or Accessories
  • Manage the overall business of several departments or an entire store

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Piece Goods Buyer

  • Act as purchasing agent in researching and buying fabrics, trims, and notions selected by design staff
  • Interact with textile producers to assure product quality and timely delivery

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Product Developer

  • Work closely with entrepreneur or market researcher in developing products for specific end-uses  
  • Utilize high technology fabrics and processes in engineering products with special performance features

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Production Supervisor

  • Use textiles and clothing, business, and engineering skills in managing production of textile or apparel products
  • Interact with designer and quality control to ensure product quality standards are met

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Promotion & Media Fashion Representative

  • Promotes ready-to-wear, patterns, fabrics, notions, or sewing machines in retail or school settings across the country

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Public Relations Agent

  • Promote companies or products via press releases, notices in editorials, television “plugs,” or public speeches
  • Use presentations, demonstrations, or fashion shows to enhance company image locally and across the country
  • Coordinate production of promotional materials

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Promotion & Media Fashion Representative

  • Promotes ready-to-wear, patterns, fabrics, notions, or sewing machines in retail or school settings across the country

Publicity Coordinator

  • Keep newspapers, magazines, and trade journal editors current on fashion trends within a specific company’s lines
  • Use press releases, photographs, slides, and video tapes to spread the news about new designs and directions

Quality Control Director

  • Interact with design and merchandising directors to determine product specifications
  • Monitor how well production meets quality specifications
  • Monitor or determine a company’s apparel sizing

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Retail Buyer

  • Manage all buying, sales, and promotion activities for a department or division of a store
  • Work with buyers at major markets or with traveling sales representatives to select fashions to promote

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Sales Representative

  • Promote company apparel or interior textile products in either showrooms at major markets or through trunk shows presented to local retail buyers
  • Work with buyers to generate techniques for promoting their lines
  • Work an assigned geographic region if traveling

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Store/ Boutique Manager

  • Manage sales employees
  • Maintain sales, inventory and manage personnel issues

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Stylist

  • Select fabrics and coordinate lines to create an overall ascetic appearance
  • Work in multiple deferent settings such as fashion editorials and movie sets

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Textile Designer

  • Originate textile structure or surface designs in response to ongoing fashion cycles or product development requirements
  • Combine illustration, textile production, art, and computer-aided design skills in carrying out designs. Product end use, includes either apparel or interiors

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Theatrical Costume Designer

  • Originate or adapt costumes to suit visual images needed to portray character roles for opera, dance, stage plays, circuses, parades, movies, advertisements, and television productions
  • Coordinate with set, lighting, and production directors to interpret scripts or visual objectives and create an integrated final product

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Wardrobe Director

  • Select and adapt ready-made clothing or contracts for custom designs compatible with character roles within theater and various other types of performances
  • Work with local television, news, and commercial productions or small theater companies

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Wardrobe/ Image Consultant

  • Offer assistance to clients in selecting colors, fabrics, styles, and sometimes wardrobe groupings appropriate to individual coloring, body type, career and lifestyle.
  • Work for a specific store or operate as a free-lance consultant

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References and Detail

Burns, L. & Bryant, N. (1997). The business of fashion. New York: Fairchild.

Jarnow, J., & Dickerson, K. (1997). Inside the fashion industry. New York: Macmillan. Johnson.

M.J. & Moore, E.C. (2001, 1998). Apparel product development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Wolfe, M. (1989). Fashion. South Holland, IL: Goodheart-Wilcox.

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Graduate Brochure

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Career Opportunities

Graduates of the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles have many career opportunities including:

  • University Teaching
  • Fashion Design
  • Technical Design
  • Retail Management
  • Retail Buying
  • Doctoral Studies
  • Museum Management
  • Community Development
  • Entrepreneur Development

More Information

For more information on assessment, counseling and planning for careers of interest visit the WSU Career Services.


Related Fields of Interest

  • Agricultural Economics
  • Communication
  • Fine Arts
  • Human Development
  • Interior Design
  • International Business
  • Marketing
  • Music
  • Psychology
  • Women’s Studies
  • Business Administration