Fashion Merchandising | Architecture | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Applied Sciences and Arts

close up of student using a sewing machine

Program Description and Specializations

Careers in fashion welcome those whose skills, ambitions, and abilities are backed by a thorough knowledge of the field.  There are many stimulating possibilities in merchandising and design, whether in private, corporate, or entrepreneurial enterprises. 

Fashion Design and Merchandising core courses provide a foundation on which to build specialized knowledge.  These classes will help students develop competencies in areas such as textiles, fashion history, fashion motivation, and basic principles of clothing design.


All students in the Fashion Design and Merchandising major take core classes common to both specializations.  Classes include the following topics: careers in fashion, textiles, promotional strategies, principles and elements of design, and fashion motivation.  

FDM majors may specialize in the following:

Fashion Design Specialization

The fashion design student combines talent, creativity, and technical skills to produce a design or line.  The student will advance through a sequence of technical classes in addition to the core classes.  You will observe and analyze clothing styles, develop new ideas, and interpret them through fashion illustration, clothing construction, pattern making, and draping.

Professionally related courses include art history.  Specialized classes include fashion production, construction, fashion history, pattern making, draping, experimental design, and computer-aided apparel design.  Electives may include advanced fashion illustration and fashion design classes, art and design studies, photography, and theater.

This specialization leads to employment as chief designers, sample makers, and other manufacturing positions in grading, pattern making, cutting, assembly, inspection, plant supervision, and freelance apparel design. 

Fashion Design Electives Guide (PDF)
Four-Year Curriculum Guide in Fashion Design (PDF)

Fashion Merchandising Specialization

If you choose to specialize in Fashion Merchandising you will study fashion merchandising, personnel issues, and fashion mathematics.  Professionally-related courses include marketing and management.  An important requirement of this specialization is work experience in the fashion industry. The specialization requires business courses in addition to the Fashion Design and Merchandising core and specialized classes leading to a minor marketing.  Electives may include additional marketing and management, journalism, or other business related classes.  Specialized classes include, fashion merchandising, field (work) experience, and personnel.

Graduates are prepared for positions in fashion retailing organizations as buyers, managers, visual merchandisers, fashion consultants, sales representatives, and related areas.  In addition to fashion design and merchandising, merchandising students have experience in marketing management, promotion, and personnel management and supervision.

Merchandising Electives Guide (PDF)
Four-Year Curriculum Guide in Fashion Merchandising (PDF)

Fashion Stylist Specialization

The fashion stylist curriculum focuses on professional practices necessary to be successful as a fashion stylist. The different types of styling are covered and professional practices within each type are explained. The program is designed to include courses from across campus that will support the fashion curriculum. A wide range of projects are included in classes to provide students experience with different types of styling.

Stylist Electives Guide (PDF)
Four-Year Curriculum Guide in Fashion Stylist (PDF)


Our Fashion Design & Merchandising students, like all SIU students, can take advantage of a wealth of resources designed to help students find success in school and in life. To help supplement FDM students in their academic endeavors, our school facilities include teaching studios, a historical garment collection, a resource library, and a state-of-the-art computer lab with the latest industry software packages. Take a tour of our facilities! 


Students who are a part of the School of Architecture are eligible for a variety of scholarship opportunities through the University, the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, and the School of Architecture. A number of scholarships are available to students in the Fashion Design and Merchandising program. Click here to access scholarships for students of fashion design.

Student Organizations

In addition to outstanding academics, SIU also fosters an environment, which aims to bring students together and provide opportunities for student leadership. The School of Architecture is home to a variety of Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and student chapters of professional organizations related to the field of fashion design and merchandising. Click here to learn more.

Studio Culture Policy

The School of Architecture at SIU has established a Studio Culture Policy in an effort to preserve studios as productive work environments in which students cultivate the professional conduct expected in the practice of architecture. All students must adhere to these policies.

Apply Now

Interested in a career in the fashion industry? If so, APPLY NOW!