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The Business of Fashion: Marketing and Merchandising Q&A

By: Amanda Ray Filed under: Fashion

May 5, 2015

Charlene Parsons, Director of the Fashion Department at Miami International University of Art & Design, provides industry insight about the business of fashion—and how the web and social media has changed the industry. Charlene’s professional experience in fashion merchandising, fashion design, and accessory design have made her a valued member of the South Florida fashion industry.

The Art Institutes: Many people are familiar with Fashion Design. But how does Fashion Marketing and Fashion Merchandising help to drive the industry?

Charlene: Fashion Marketing and Fashion Management gets into the creative areas of fashion show production, public relations, advertising for fashion, and styling.

The study of Fashion Merchandising and Fashion Marketing gives students the broad background needed to be successful in the business of fashion. [What they learn] takes them from every aspect of the retail industry—from management to buying, marketing, and planning events with in the retail stores.


The Art Institutes: Those working in Fashion Marketing and Merchandising have seen many of changes in how people shop and buy—with online storefronts, social media, and direct-to-phone couponing. Will that continue?

Charlene: Online stores have made a big difference—[people can make an] instant “buy” that could not happen before. A customer can shop around the clock today. To keep up with the competition, most major retailers have joined social media to put their touch on the instant buy [crowd].

But one of the major problems a customer has today is knowing who is truly a [reputable] online store. Many of these stores come and go so fast.  I guess we can say that [it has allowed] the crème to rise to the top.


The Art Institutes: How does real-world learning from industry professionals help students to learn the business of fashion?

Charlene: [Through their education], students learn the global market. Here in Miami, we are surrounded by the top malls and specialty areas for the top names in the fashion world. This gives students firsthand knowledge [of the industry and gives them the opportunity to intern and work for] the names that are needed on their resumes.

Fashion is a world of “who you know, what you have done, and what you have to offer.”


The Art Institutes: What types of projects do your Fashion Marketing and Fashion Merchandising students work on in class?

Charlene: They work on projects in advertising and styling photo shoots. They do entire portfolios on styling, buying projects, sales promotion, and public relations. All of these classes are taught by instructors with experience in the fashion industry.


Miami International University of Art & Design offers the following fashion programs: Associate of Arts in Accessory Design, Associate of Arts in Fashion Design, Associate of Arts in Fashion Merchandising, Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Merchandising, and Fashion Retailing Diploma.


Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options are subject to change. Miami International University of Art & Design, 1501 Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 100, Miami, FL 33132-1418. ©2015 The Art Institutes. Our email address is csprogramadmin@edmc.edu.

The Information and opinions expressed herein represent the independent opinions and ideas of the faculty and/or staff and do not represent the opinions or ideas of Miami International University of Art & Design.

See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.


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