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In order to become an apparel merchandiser, you must have a keen understanding of the fashion industry and be able to predict what customers will want from season to season. There are a variety of industries where you can be an apparel merchandiser, and the job ranges from actually designing clothes to buying them and even arranging the store layouts. Education and research are important to this job and often must be combined with a strong sense of creativity.
To become an apparel merchandiser, you must learn what type of work you want to do. Some merchandisers select fabrics and create designs for apparel companies to sell. Other merchandisers work in major department stores as a buyers and select which items they will sell. Another popular avenue is to work on the display end of clothing and determine the best way to show clothing in order to generate sales.
There are many skills you need to become an apparel merchandiser, no matter what part of the industry you work in. Strong research skills are a must, because fashion is constantly changing, and tastes vary greatly from city to city and region to region. Accounting talent also helps, because you will be in charge of buying materials or clothing and many times must determine what price to place on the apparel. Having an artistic eye, especially for fashion, is essential whether sketching a dress pattern or designing and creating visually appealing displays for products.
A common way to collect all of the various skills needed to become an apparel merchandiser is by going to school. Many jobs in the fashion industry require a bachelor's degree in fashion because it is such a complex field, combining art, business and logistics. Taking on a variety of fashion jobs is a great way to work up to the role of apparel merchandiser, because it will help you gain a comprehensive understanding of this industry.
To become an apparel merchandiser, you also can look for work in many unexpected places. Your dream might be to design dresses in Paris or open your own boutique, but you should never overlook other places for job satisfaction. Many people with the education and experience to be a fashion merchandiser break into the industry through advertising agencies as fashion promotion specialists and event planners. The fashion industry is a diverse way to make a living, and there are equally diverse ways to use your expertise.