Fashion Merchandising Classes & Curriculum


The Virginia Marti College of Art & Design’s Fashion Merchandising degree embraces the global perspective that fashion is a cultural phenomenon. As such, fashion integrates consumer and trade and commerce with the politics and economics of an area, region or country.

With a focus on business skills and professional responsibility, the Fashion Merchandising student is able to set priorities, manage their workload and understand the realities, as well as the subtleties of multi-tasking.

With an eye toward design, the Fashion Merchandising student is able to critically analyze situations, problem solve and innovate, so that the rigorous demands of fashion merchandising are met.


Program Outline

Select a quarter below to view courses and course descriptions.

First Quarter

Math I – G143 – 3 credits
Covers the fundamentals of math, including fractions, decimals, percentages, statistics, simple business and consumer math, simple geometry, and basic algebra. This course will develop the basic skills needed to excel in both business and technical studies.

English I – G101 – 3 credits
Explores nine essay styles, reviews grammar and MLA fundamentals, and improves both verbal and written communication skills.

Basic Color Theory – B103 – 3 credits
Covers the origins of color, color consistency, means of expression, formal qualities, color qualities, color temperatures, color perspective, composition, and psychological interpretation.

Introduction to Fashion – FM141 – 3 credits
Ideal for first-quarter merchandisers and designers since it is an introduction to the many facets of the fashion industry, from concept to consumer.

Second Quarter

Principles of Retailing – FM171 – 3 credits
Prerequisites: FM141 or taken concurrently with FM141
Introduces students to retailing principles, best practices and career opportunities. Students will also explore multi-channel retailing, management and control functions, merchandising products and communication with the consumer.

English II – G102 – 3 credits
Prerequisite: G101
Revisits key concepts from English 1 and focuses on reading and discussing short stories, poetry and song, film, and a novella.

Photography – B144 – 3 credits
An introductory course in the applications and use of the advanced digital camera. The student will examine and study the technical workings of the DSLR digital camera and apply this knowledge to achieve a self understanding and confident direction in digital photography. Students will be working in teams on projects that will lead to successful picture taking. This team concept key will let the student work with any image in any mode and create a high level of self expertise and expression in learning the art of photography.

Excel for Fashion Merch. I – FM161 – 3 credits
Prerequisite: X040
Introduces the students to basic Retail Mathematics and Excel spreadsheet applications. Using Excel when completing Retail Mathematics problems will reinforce all concepts being introduced as well as illustrate the practical use of Excel in the retail world.

Design Principles and Application – FM152 – 3 credits
Prerequisite: X040
An introduction to the basic principles of the mechanics of drawing. It also includes a pervasive look into the computer applications used in the retail industry.

Third Quarter

History of Art I – G160 – 3 credits
Analyzes artistic development in architecture, sculpture, and painting from the Prehistoric era to the Gothic period.

Bible History: Old Testament – G163 – 3 credits
Can be taken in lieu of History of Art I (G160)
Covers the Patriarchs and Major and Minor Prophets from Genesis to Malachi and their historical context.

Social Science I – G221 – 3 credits
An introduction to the theory and practice of interpersonal communication, which focuses on learning and applying the skills needed to improve the quality of interpersonal communication and interpersonal relationships with a variety of people.includes modeling and selecting appropriate clothes based on body type.

Excel for Fashion Merch. II – FM163 – 3 credits
Prerequisites: FM161
An introduction to the multi-faceted world of contemporary business and accounting practices. An in depth understanding of these principles will be gained as the student produces various accounting documents such as general journal, ledger, balance sheets and income statements utilizing Microsoft Excel.

Textiles – FM102 – 3 credits
Prerequisites: FM141
An in-depth examination of natural and man-made fibers, yarn characteristics, and fabric construction, from the fiber stage to the finished fabric. Fashion Merchandisers and Designers will be able to apply the textile facts to the appropriate selection, use and care of today’s fabric and textile products.

Fashion Product Analysis – FM165 – 3 credits
Prerequisites: FM102 or taken concurrently with FM102
Analysis and evaluation of apparel with an emphasis on construction, value and selling points. The student’s product knowledge will be enhanced by the acquisition of basic garment construction skills and analysis of archival garments.

Fourth Quarter

History of Art II – G161 – 3 credits
Analyzes artistic development in architecture, sculpture, and painting from the Early Renaissance to the Post Modern era.

Bible History: New Testament – G164 – 3 credits
Can be taken in lieu of History of Art II (G161)
Covers the writers of the New Testament and their historical context and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Business Law – B210 – 3 credits
An overview of the American legal system and basic laws that apply to contract sales, copyright and trademark, negotiations, product liability, and setting up a business.

Accessories, Beauty & Home Fashion – FM182 – 3 credits
Prerequisites: FM141, FM171
An overview of the accessory industry, past and present. Students will be introduced to the three major areas of accessory design: footwear, handbags, and jewelry. These merchandise categories will be analyzed in terms of materials, construction, and presentation. This course will also study the beauty industry, its origins and current business practices. Home accessories will also be covered.

Entrepreneurship – B224 – 3 credits
An intensive business course to assist artists of all disciplines interested in developing arts-based businesses. This course covers topics that impact an entrepreneur’s daily operations including identifying and developing their personal brand, developing strategies for communicating with their target market, identifying a variety of tools for protecting their work legally, raising capital, and accounting.

Planning and Allocation – FM198 – 3 credits
Prerequisite: FM161, FM163
This course covers the principles and techniques that retailers use to set and maintain performance goals for sales, inventory and other metrics for their financial purposes and merchandise and trends analysis.

Fifth Quarter

History of Costume I – FM127 – 3 credits
Prerequisites: FM141
Examines the modes in costume from primitive man to 18th century. Emphasis will be placed on the prevailing design of costumes worn and information regarding origin, dates, colors, hairstyles, shoe styles and accessories.

Economics – G260 – 3 credits
Examines the basic concepts of the economy and their applications to problems and policies. Concepts include supply and demand, market and prices, income distribution, allocation of resources, contemporary economic issues, and personal finance.

Fashion Writing – FM200 – 3 credits
Prerequisite: G101, G102
The purpose of this course is to support critical and creative thinking while also providing students with the opportunity to improve their oral and written communication skills. Students will produce their own written material in regards to multiple genres of writing while concentrating on the fashion industry.

Domestic and Global Sourcing – FM235 – 3 credits
Prerequisite: Second year standing
An introduction to operating a business involved in the purchase and sale of products on the international market.

Fashion Buying and Merchandising – FM205 – 3 credits
Prerequisites: FM198
An analysis of current buying practices and techniques. Learn the fundamentals of fashion buying with an emphasis on planning, sourcing, procuring and pricing of retail fashion inventories.

Sixth Quarter

History of Costume II – FM128 – 3 credits
Prerequisite: FM141
A continuation of History of Costume I, this course traces the historical development of costuming from the 18th century through the 21st century. Students will examine the artistic and cultural influences that shaped each period’s fashion. Emphasis will be placed on western costume silhouette recognition and the vocabulary of historical clothing, hairstyles, footwear and accessories.

Fashion Show Production – FM214 – 3 credits
Prerequisite: Second-year standing
Covers all elements of fashion show preparation, including promotion, theme development, budget, choreography, schedules and rehearsals, all leading up to a fashion show as a final project.

Social Science II – G222 – 3 credits
Takes a psychological approach to explore classic and current trends in organizational communication and human relations in the work environment.

Visual Merchandising I – FM274 – 3 credits
Prerequisite: FM152
An introduction to basic merchandising concepts and theory. Students learn to execute a retailer’s brand through window presentation and translate those fundamental design principles into stores’ interiors.

Seventh Quarter

Visual Merchandising II – FM275 – 3 credits
Prerequisite: FM274
Visual Merchandising is the selling of merchandise through a visual medium. This course continues to build on the understanding of basic merchandising concepts and theory developed in Visual Merchandising I, coupled with effective presentation of store’s merchandise in windows and interiors.

Advertising and Promotion – FM181 – 3 credits
Prerequisite: Second-year standing
Introduces the student to the concepts and techniques of advertising and promoting products and services. The course will give the student the opportunity to test methods and gain confidence and expertise. The course will actively take students through the process of creating an advertising campaign and promotion.

Management Strategy – FM222 – 3 credits
Prerequisite: Second-year standing and B224
Leadership, delegation, motivation and coaching are all necessary skills needed to become an effective leader or manager. This course presents concepts, principles, theories, and issues in the field of management and supervision.

Marketing – FM201 – 3 credits
Prerequisite: FM141 and FM171
An examination of retailers’ roles in marketing strategies. Also focuses on analysis of consumer behavior and motivation to develop sales and marketing strategies.

Eighth Quarter

Internship – FM299 – 5 credits
Prerequisite: Completion of all coursework prior to the eighth-quarter. 
A cooperative venture between the Fashion Merchandising profession and the College to provide the student with on-the-job training. Skills learned in the classroom will be utilized in the placement as much as possible. Students must maintain a minimum work schedule and attend regular Internship Review sessions.

Professional Development – FM298 – 3 credit
Prerequisite: Seventh or Eighth quarter standing
Prepares fashion merchandising students for their careers, by offering students strategies and techniques for success in the fashion/retail industry. Includes strengthening the following skills: interviewing, networking, communication techniques, leadership development, conflict resolution, interpersonal skills, etc.

Fashion Product Development – FM280 – 3 credits
Prerequisite: Seventh or Eighth quarter standing and FM205
Designed to outline and apply the knowledge and theory of product development and forecasting by developing an apparel line from concept to commercialization.

Retail Store Planning and Design – FM261 – 3 credit
Prerequisite: FM152
An introduction to Retail Store Planning that begins with a discussion about the basics of Store Design and continues with the important relationship between retail store planning and fashion merchandising, especially in the area of image.