The Fashion Design and Merchandising program offers the best of both worlds – the ability to transform design ideas into garments and accessories as well as knowledge of the business side of the fashion industry.
In the design segment of the program, students are introduced to basic skills of construction in sewing, tailoring, flat pattern drafting, and draping to provide a solid foundation in the fundamentals of apparel engineering. In the merchandising segment, usage of textiles, colours and design to create visual merchandising campaigns are taught. Business courses are added to teach students how to develop, analyze and implement effective sales strategies.
The faculty nurtures creativity and teaches hands-on skills using traditional tools as well as industrial equipment similar to that found in the fashion design field. The combination of professional marketing skills and technical knowledge help students prepare for successful entry into the industry as junior designers, patter grader, management trainee, visual merchandiser, and assistant merchandise buyer.
Fashion retail and merchandising is a thriving industry worth billions of dollars worldwide. Globalization is creating a demand for fashion marketers and merchandisers with sensitivity to other languages, cultures and tastes. The industry is increasingly requiring that professionals possess a basic understanding of the elements of international business. To operate within the global market, professionals need a skill-set that is flexible and includes training specific to marketing and visual merchandising design basics, quantitative skills, a keen sales orientation, and sense of creativity. The Fashion & Retail Management diploma program at The Art Institute of Vancouver blends individual creativity with a keen sales orientation.
Marketing, visual merchandising, manufacturing, buying and merchandising, retail management, publicity, and fashion publishing: these are just a handful of the entry-level positions that may await graduates. In the first quarter of the program, students are introduced to foundation skills such as colour theory, fashion sketching, costume history, digital imaging and introductory retail skills. In the second and third quarters, they will move on to topics such as concepts and trends in apparel, merchandise management, textiles and fabrics, advertising and marketing, elements of retail operations and technology, manufacturing and retail mathematics. By the fourth and fifth quarters, students are ready to tackle courses in consumer behaviour, business ownership, media buying, human resources, accounting, store planning and lease management. Finally, in the last quarter they will concentrate on developing a portfolio, securing an internship, and turn to topics on e-commerce and web marketing.
Students in the Fashion & Retail Management will be taught to cultivate the creative talents that bring their ideas to life, and will acquire the business skills needed to take them to market. Entry-level jobs vary widely from retail store managers, department retail sales professionals, visual merchandisers and sales supervision to merchandising managers.