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Degree Overview: Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising

Majors Overview March 30, 2014

Students will gain skills in construction, business, and design, to create garments, as well as related merchandising plans, for sales and marketing, if they choose to participate in Fashion Design and Merchandising programs. This program will prepare students for several career choices, such as seamstress, fashion production assistant, and apparel purchaser.

A.A.S. Programs in Fashion Design and Merchandising

Students enrolled in an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Fashion Design and Merchandising degree programs are taught the rudiments of marketing strategies and fashion design. They are imparted hands-on experience aimed at creating their own garments, and producing marketing and publicity campaigns. An internship is included in some associate’s degree programs aimed at the application of students’ knowledge of the design and construction of clothing, in addition to marketing and merchandising.

Community colleges and technical schools are among those who offer the majority of these 2-year programs. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


A general overview of the fashion industry is covered with coursework in an associate’s degree program in Fashion Design and Merchandising. Students are taught about consumer preferences, design trends, and aesthetics. Apart from core courses, general education classes are also required to be completed by students. Coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Retail management
•Fashion history
•Clothing construction
•Consumer behavior
•Fashion sketching
•Fashion marketing

Career Choices

Various career choices within the fashion industry are available to those who successfully complete an associate’s degree program in Fashion Design and Merchandising. Graduates could seek entry-level careers as pattern makers or sketching assistants, and serve as understudies to experienced designers before advancing into management, marketing, or design positions that may include:

•Apparel display specialist
•Fashion event coordinator
•Fashion consultant
•Wardrobe attendant
•Sales representative

Continuing Education Choices

Those who graduate from an associate’s degree program in Fashion Design and Merchandising can seek continued education by earning a bachelor’s degree program in the field. Students can use these 4-year programs to enhance the skills they would need for publicity, promotion, and merchandising, in the fashion industry. Applicants may be required to develop a portfolio highlighting their best work. Students enrolled in some programs may be allowed to transfer credits toward admission into a bachelor’s degree program.

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