Over the last decade, Sacred Heart University’s fashion marketing & merchandising program has seen its share of growth and change. The Jack Welch College of Business program was offered as a concentration in 2009, became a minor in 2015 and will be a major this fall.
There is a demand for the major, said David Bloom, program director. More than 100 students are enrolled in the minor, and having the major better prepares students for the competitive industry, he said.
The major comprises nine courses (27 credits) including a rotation of fashion electives. Courses will teach the skills and knowledge students will need to be successful, such as fashion marketing, which will introduce students to the field and its history. “Students will create their own fashion lines and develop a business line,” Bloom said.
A course on fashion buying teaches students about product line analysis, vendor relations and negotiating. Other courses deal with textiles, management and creating an image around a brand. Seniors can take a fashion seminar on issues surrounding the fashion industry, as well.
Students also will have the opportunity to study abroad in Milan and Paris for a two-week, three-credit, fashion brand marketing class. “It’s great exposure,” Bloom said.
Senior Katharine Li, 21, of Lyndhurst, N.J., a marketing major who is minoring in the fashion program, was part of a SHU group that went to Milan last summer. She said studying abroad was “an amazing experience,” and likely will be one of her “favorite college memories.”
“Milan is one of the fashion capitals of the world, so it was incredible to see the importance of fashion in the culture,” Li said. “The class in Milan was called ‘fashion brand marketing,’ and we learned about various types of brands. It was very interesting to see the brands not only in a different country, but also where they originated. We also took a trip up to Lake Como and toured a famous silk factory.”
Among her fashion studies at SHU, Li said she has enjoyed the program’s hands-on classes. “The textiles class was very interactive. We worked with over 100 fabric swatches. I also enjoyed the end-of-semester projects in each class,” she said.
In the last three-and-a-half years, Li had two internships in the fashion field. At The Impression, an online magazine, she published posts on the website and ran its social media pages. At a private-label wholesale company, Li worked with various fabrics. After graduation in May, she will seek jobs in styling and costume design.
Like Li, students in the fashion marketing & merchandising program will gain job experience through internships. The University’s proximity to New York City gives students easier access to potential internships at nearby fashion giants.
Just because students are studying fashion doesn’t mean they have to have a career in the apparel industry, Bloom said. They can apply their fashion experience and education to design trends in cell phones, automobiles or other products. “When you can analyze trends, you can carry that knowledge into any business,” he said.
Graduates who minored in fashion merchandising have landed jobs in digital marketing, product development and graphic design at companies such as Reebok, Asics, Vineyard Vines, American Eagle, Jack Rogers and FitFlops, Bloom said.
“We highly anticipate the launch of this innovative new business major. I expect it to be successful and a popular complement to our current undergraduate department majors in marketing, sport management and hospitality, resort & tourism management,” said Joshua Shuart, chair of the Marketing Department.
For more information on the fashion marketing & merchandising program, visit the Bachelor of Science in Fashion Marketing & Merchandising webpage.