Fashion, Dress and Merchandising

Bachelor of Science - Fashion, Dress and Merchandising Major

Areas of Emphasis: Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising

Program Overview

Students in the Fashion, Dress and Merchandising (FDM) program obtain a broad-based background in fashion design and fashion merchandising. They may pursue a Fashion Merchandising or a Fashion Design Area of Emphasis (AOE); both curricula consist of a minimum of 120 credit hours. A minor in Business Administration or Entrepreneurship is included in the Fashion Merchandising Area of Emphasis.

FDM students are encouraged to seek summer employment in the textile, apparel, or retail fields in order to gain experience and integrate coursework into business professional settings. All FDM students may elect to take a 3-credit-hour work practicum following their second year in the program. Both program options require a 6-credit-hour internship in which students apply textile, apparel, and/or merchandising subject matter in a professional setting. The practicum and internship are available during the summer term only.

Program Opportunities

FDM students may elect to participate in a faculty-led, study abroad summer program to observe the textile, apparel, and retail industries in Italy, preferably following her/his freshman or sophomore year. This 6-credit-hour program, Disegno Italia, has established connections with fashion schools in Milan, the design capital of Italy. A semester abroad during spring semester Junior year also can be arranged. Students who study abroad must register with the WVU Office of International Programs, Third Floor, Stansbury Hall, phone: (304) 293-6955, ext. 0. Website: http://internationalprograms.wvu.edu.

An elective fashion study tour enables students to observe fashion industry and retail sites, view historic costume displays and collections, and network with graduates of the FDM program.  A teaching practicum is another elective opportunity that enables a student to broaden his or her perspective. Students are encouraged to enter design and research competitions and exhibitions sponsored by industry, professional societies, and the University. A student organization, the Fashion Business Association, enriches the student experience by bringing working professionals to campus to share their experiences and providing students with opportunities to develop their leadership skills.

Career Opportunities

All FDM graduates are prepared for entry-level positions or graduate study. Retail opportunities often begin with an executive training program and may lead to positions in management, buying, allocating, planning, fashion promotion, personnel, or visual merchandising. Placement may be found with department stores, specialty stores, mass merchandisers, discount operations, and with small and large chain organizations. Opportunities in the apparel field include design, technical design, sample coordination, sourcing specialist, showroom sales executive, and merchandising. Opportunities in the textile field include sales executive, color analyst, promotion, or education.

Our students have been successful in gaining admission to graduate school in areas such as historic costume and textiles, social psychology of dress, apparel design, textile design, merchandising, and business. With additional study at the graduate level, students may secure positions with fiber and fabric producers, museums that exhibit and preserve textiles and apparel, colleges and universities, and in upper-level apparel business management. The opportunities are many and the employment possibilities varied.

Click the appropriate link below to view the corresponding Area of Emphasis (AOE) Requirements and Suggested Plans of Study.

General Education FOUNDATIONS

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEF requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEF requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GEFs you will need to select.

General Education Foundations
F1 - Composition & Rhetoric3-6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
F2A/F2B - Science & Technology4-6
F3 - Math & Quantitative Skills3-4
F4 - Society & Connections3
F5 - Human Inquiry & the Past3
F6 - The Arts & Creativity3
F7 - Global Studies & Diversity3
F8 - Focus (may be satisfied by completion of a minor, double major, or dual degree)9
Total Hours31-37

Please note that not all of the GEF courses are offered at all campuses. Students should consult with their advisor or academic department regarding the GEF course offerings available at their campus.

Curriculum Requirements

Maintain a 2.25 overall GPA.
GEF Requirements 2, 5, and 710
ANRD 191First-Year Seminar1
ENGL 101Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric (GEF 1)3
ENGL 102Composition, Rhetoric, and Research (GEF 1)3
MATH 124Algebra with Applications (or higher - GEF 3; Minimum grade of C-)3
CSAD 270Effective Public Speaking (GEF 4)3
ARHS 101Landmarks of World Art (GEF 6)3
or ARHS 160 Survey of Art History 2
SOCA 101Introduction to Sociology (GEF 8)3
PSYC 101Introduction to Psychology (GEF 8)3
Major Requirements
Fashion, Dress & Merchandising Core Courses:
A minimum grade of C- is required in all FDM courses
FDM 110Introduction to Fashion Business3
FDM 130Design Concepts of Dress3
FDM 140Introduction to Textiles3
FDM 220Fashion, the Body, and Culture3
FDM 221Dress History: 1850-Present3
FDM 235Product Development3
FDM 260Visual Merchandising3
FDM 360Fashion Merchandising3
Business Requirements
ADV 215Principles of Advertising3
ENGL 304Business and Professional Writing (fulfills Writing and Communication Skills requirement)3
Required Emphasis Area (Fashion Design or Merchandising)33
Capstone Experience
FDM 491Professional Field Experience6
Electives (used to reach minimum of 120 required for degree)19
Total Hours120

Elective Practicum

The practicum is an elective, 3-credit course for all FDM students, and is designed to allow students to gain experience and apply their coursework in a professional setting. It is offered through WVU in the summer term only. The practicum is 6-weeks long and is completed during one summer session; students register and pay for 3-credit-hours.

Site Selection: It is up to each student to select and secure his or her own practicum site using all available resources. It is wise to interview at more than one practicum site in order to locate the best possible position. Prior site approval by the practicum course instructor is required. The site must specialize in some aspect of the fashion industry. Students must select a site that will be different from their internship site in order to enhance their competitiveness.

Procedure: Students take the practicum after completing the required prerequisites successfully. An application and approval form, signed contract, and resume are required for registration. All paperwork needs to be complete and submitted by the deadlines or the student will be deleted from the course roster. Prior to embarking on this work experience, all students must participate in the mandatory orientation session(s) which is held at the end of spring semester prior to the practicum.

Internship Requirement

The internship is a required capstone course for all students in the FDM program. It is offered through WVU during the summer term only. All FDM students are required to have a 6-credit-hour internship. This experience is a minimum of eight weeks long and spans both summer terms. All FDM students must register and pay for the credits at the beginning of the summer term and complete the internship during the summer term.

Site Selection: It is up to each student to select and secure his or her own internship site using all available resources including the development of networking contacts. These can be made through the Fashion Business Association, study tour, the WVU Career Services Center, and FDM internship instructors. Students should be prepared to interview when recruiters come to campus during the academic year. It is wise to interview with more than one internship site in order to locate the best possible position that will lead to an enhancement of career goals.  Approval of the site ahead of time by the internship course instructor is required for all proposed sites. The site must specialize in some aspect of fashion merchandising or apparel design.

Procedure: Students may take the internship after completing the required prerequisites successfully. An application and approval form, signed contract, and resume are required for registration. This paperwork needs to be complete and submitted by the summer deadlines or the intern will be deleted from the course roster. Prior to embarking on the internship, all students must participate in the mandatory orientation session(s). The summer orientation session is held at the end of spring semester prior to the internship.

 

Fashion Design Area of Emphasis

Fashion Design Emphasis Requirements
ART 111Drawing 13
or ART 112 Drawing 2
or ART 121 Visual Foundations 1
or ART 122 Visual Foundations 2
ARHS 101Landmarks of World Art3
or ARHS 120 Survey of Art History 1
FDM 230Apparel Production and Fit3
FDM 250Flat Pattern Design3
FDM 330Fashion Design and Illustration3
FDM 350Draping3
FDM 393Special Topics (Advanced Patternmaking)3
FDM 421Dress History: Prehistory-18503
FDM 430Fashion Design Portfolio3
Restricted Electives6
Survey of Economics
Survey of Accounting
Survey of Business Law *
Merchandising Practicum
Merchandise Planning and Control
Fashion Sourcing and Supply Chain Management
Teaching Practicum
Study Abroad: Disegno Italia
Costuming
Intermediate Costume Construction
Advanced Costume Construction
Total Hours33

Suggested Plan of Study for Fashion Design Area of Emphasis

Students may enter the FDM program as first-semester freshmen. Enrollment in the required first-year FDM courses is not limited. The following courses have open enrollment and should be taken by all students the first year in the major: FDM 110, FDM 130, FDM 140. FDM courses are to be taken in sequence. Therefore, it is important that students follow the Suggested Plan of Study that follows. Selected outside courses must be completed prior to enrolling in certain FDM courses.

First Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
FDM 1103FDM 1303 
MATH 124 (GEF 3)3FDM 1403 
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3PSYC 101 (GEF 8)3 
ARHS 101 or 120 (GEF 6)3ARHS 160 or 101 (GEF 8)3 
ANRD 1911GEF 53 
 13 15
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
FDM 2203FDM 2503 
FDM 230 (Requires minimum grade of B-)3FDM 2213 
CSAD 270 (GEF 4)3FDM 2603 
ART 111, 112, 121, or 1223SOCA 101 (GEF 8)3 
ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3GEF 73 
 15 15
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
FDM 3303FDM 3503FDM 491 (Capstone)6
FDM 3603ADV 2153 
FDM 393 (Advanced Patternmaking)3GEF 24 
ENGL 3043Electives4 
Elective3  
 15 14 6
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
FDM 4213FDM 2353 
FDM 4303Restricted Elective3 
Restricted Elective3Electives6 
Electives6  
 15 12
Total credit hours: 120

 

Fashion Merchandising Area of Emphasis

Merchandising Emphasis Requirements
FDM 293Special Topics (Fashion Consumer Behavior)3
FDM 361Merchandise Planning and Control3
FDM 493Special Topics (Omni-channel Fashion Retailing)3
FDM 493Special Topics (Fashion Promotion)3
PSYC 251Introduction to Social Psychology3
Business Administration or Entrepreneurial Studies Minor (students must choose one)18
Total Hours33

Suggested Plan of Study for Fashion Merchandising Area of Emphasis

Students may enter the FDM program as first-semester freshmen. Enrollment in the required first-year FDM courses is not limited. The following courses have open enrollment and should be taken by all students the first year in the major: FDM 110, FDM 130, FDM 140. FDM courses are to be taken in sequence. Therefore, it is important that students follow the Suggested Plan of Study that follows. Selected outside courses must be completed prior to enrolling in certain FDM courses.

First Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
FDM 1103FDM 1303 
MATH 124 (GEF 3)3FDM 1403 
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3ARHS 101 or 160 (GEF 6)3 
SOCA 1013PSYC 1013 
ANRD 1911GEF 53 
 13 15
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
FDM 2203FDM 2213 
ADV 2153FDM 2603 
ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3FDM 293 (Fashion Consumer Behavior)3 
CSAD 270 (GEF 4)3Minor Course3 
Minor Course3GEF 73 
 15 15
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
FDM 3603FDM 3613FDM 491 (Capstone)6
FDM 4123Minor Course3 
ENGL 3043GEF 24 
PSYC 2513Electives4 
Minor Course3  
 15 14 6
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHours 
FDM 493 (Omni-channel Fashion Retailing)3FDM 493 (Fashion Promotion)3 
Minor Course3Minor Course3 
Electives9Electives6 
 15 12
Total credit hours: 120

Major Learning Outcomes

fashion, dress and merchandising

Fashion, Dress and Merchandising programs vision is to develop creative, knowledgeable, and effective professionals who are able to contribute to organizations in the global textile and apparel complex and to society, and who are able to continue to grow personally and professionally following graduation. Upon graduation from the FDM program at WVU, students will be able to demonstrate the following knowledge and skills:

1. INDUSTRY PROCESSES, including the ability to:

  • Understand and apply knowledge about the roles and functions of various industry sectors in which products are developed, produced, marketed, sold, and consumed, including construction, sourcing, manufacturing, marketing, and merchandising processes.
  • Identify and interpret needs and wants of consumers and how industry processes are applied to plan, develop, produce, communicate, and sell profitable product lines.
  • Evaluate product quality, serviceability, and regulatory compliance standards.
  • Use industry terminology in appropriate ways.
  • Understand social, economic, and political boundaries as they relate to the diffusion of products, services, and ideas.

2. APPEARANCE AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR, including the ability to:

  • Apply theories, concepts, and research regarding appearance and human behavior to industry and societal problems.
  • Understand and apply knowledge about the role of dress as it reflects and shapes intra and inter-cultural interactions.
  • Understand and apply knowledge about the interrelationships among historical, sociocultural, and psychological factors of dress and their impact on human behavior, including the effects of life stages, change across time, and culture.

3. AESTHETICS AND THE DESIGN PROCESS, including the ability to:

  • Understand and apply knowledge about aesthetics and the design process in relation to dress and appearance management.
  • Use the design process to create products that meet marketplace needs.
  • Understand how aesthetics and the design process can support quality of life, social responsibility, and sustainability 
  • Relate the elements and principles of design to product development, use, and evaluation.
  • Understand the role of historical, socio-cultural, and psychological factors in aesthetic expression.

4. GLOBAL INTERDEPENDENCE, including the ability to:

  • Understand how dynamic and diverse political, cultural, and economic systems impact industry processes.
  • Understand how theoretical perspectives on markets, trade, and economic development can be applied to historical and current data on production, consumption, and disposal of products.

5. ETHICS, SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, AND SUSTAINABILITY, including the ability to:

  • Identify and evaluate issues of social responsibility, professional behavior, and ethics related to the impact of individual, organizational, and corporate decision making.
  • Analyze and evaluate issues related to environmental sustainability and environmental impact as they relate to industry activities and processes.

6. CRITICAL AND CREATIVE THINKING, including the ability to:

  • Demonstrate critical and creative thinking skills, including the ability to critically evaluate and compare diverse perspectives.
  • Identify and understand social, cultural, economic, technological, ethical, political, educational, language, and individual influences on industry issues.
  • Apply quantitative and qualitative skills to problem solving within the textile and apparel complex.
  • Use appropriate technology to facilitate critical, creative, quantitative, and qualitative thinking within the textile and apparel complex.

7. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, including the ability to:

  • Communicate ideas in written, oral, and visual forms using appropriate technology.
  • Function as team members and leaders within professional and culturally diverse environments.
  • Demonstrate the ability to critique oneself and others constructively.
  • Apply career planning concepts and job search strategies to the diverse industry opportunities.

These competencies are incorporated across the FDM program curriculum. Students are introduced to these learning goals incrementally as they progress from entry-level courses to and including the capstone internship.

Program Requirements

The following minimum requirements are set to insure that students who graduate from the program will have the appropriate skill level and knowledge to succeed in this competitive field.

Students must meet the following requirements in order to continue in the program beyond the first year:

  1. Maintain a 2.25 overall GPA.
  2. All FDM students must earn a C- or above in all FDM courses, and MATH 124.
  3. Any student who has an overall GPA below 2.25 will be notified of the deficiency and will not be permitted to enroll in FDM courses.
  4. Students who have not been permitted to enroll in FDM courses because of a low GPA may enroll in FDM courses after meeting the 2.25 minimum overall GPA, space permitting.
  5. Any student who has earned a grade of D+ or lower in any of the FDM courses will be notified of the problem and will not be permitted to enroll in the next sequence of FDM courses.
  6. Students who have not been permitted to enroll in the next sequence of FDM courses because of receiving a grade of D+ or lower for one of the required FDM courses may correct the problem by repeating the course(s) the next time it is offered, space permitting, and earning a C- or above. Please note that most FDM courses are offered only once per academic year.
  7. Fashion Design students are required to earn a minimum grade of B- in FDM 230  in order to remain in the Fashion Design area of emphasis.

FDM 110. Introduction to Fashion Business. 3 Hours.

This course introduces the fashion business by exploring its production and distribution systems with a focus on basic merchandising, design, marketing, and retail concepts.

FDM 130. Design Concepts of Dress. 3 Hours.

Introduction to design theory and methodology, elements of design, principles of composition, and universal design related to dress. Practical application included.

FDM 135. Figure and Fabric Drawing. 3 Hours.

Basic examination and analysis of illustration techniques related to the human figure and various fabrics.

FDM 140. Introduction to Textiles. 3 Hours.

Study and classification of fibers, yarns, fabrics, color applications and finishes for apparel-industry applications. (Lecture plus laboratory.).

FDM 220. Fashion, the Body, and Culture. 3 Hours.

Students examine the intersection of fashion, the body, and culture to appreciate the role of dress in everyday life. Students explore dress practices through the lens of economics, politics, religion, and gender, among other social factors. The course emphasizes critical thinking and cross-cultural exploration through group discussion and personal reflection.

FDM 221. Dress History: 1850-Present. 3 Hours.

This course offers a survey of Western dress history from 1850 to present day with an emphasis on the contextual factors that influenced how dress changed over time. The rise and influence of fashion designers in the 20th and 21st century is discussed. Students gain hands-on experience in historical research methodologies.

FDM 230. Apparel Production and Fit. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 140 and (MATH 124 or higher) and PR or CONC: FDM 130 and fashion design major. Basic principles of apparel production, pattern alterations, and fitting. CAD introduction.

FDM 235. Product Development. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 110 and FDM 140 and MATH 124 or higher. Exploration of concepts and principles of apparel production and post-consumer alternatives.

FDM 250. Flat Pattern Design. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 210 and FDM 220 and FDM 230. Creative expression through pattern design is studied using the flat pattern method. Original apparel is designed and constructed.

FDM 260. Visual Merchandising. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 220 and PR or CONC: FDM 150 with a minimum grade of C- in each. This course explores a wide range of visual merchandising activities in relation to the elements of design and principles of composition including display, store design, theft prevention, and promotion. A teamwork approach is used to create and analyze visual merchandising scenarios.

FDM 261. Fashion Management Workshop. 3 Hours.

PR: Sophomore or higher and instructor consent. Fashion business fundamentals; fashion industry sourcing, supply chain, and fashion buying cycle; management of supplier portfolio; vendor selection and buying decision criteria; retail fashion brand marketing; internationalization of fashion retailing; international branding and flagship stores.

FDM 310. Merchandising Practicum. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 260 with a minimum grade of C- and consent. This course provides a prearranged, on-site supervised work experience to afford practical insight into the textile, apparel, and merchandising profession.

FDM 311. Fashion Study Tour. 1 Hour.

PR: FDM 260 with a minimum grade of C-. This course focuses on the apparel and retail industries through visits to apparel firms and showrooms, retail establishments, and museums including an historic costume collection.

FDM 330. Fashion Design and Illustration. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 130 and PR or CONC: FDM 210 and FDM 230. Techniques of drawing fashion figures, media, and apparel design presentation techniques explored. Design vocabulary and sources of inspiration examined in the creation of original apparel design renderings and flats for specific target consumers.

FDM 350. Draping. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 235 and FDM 330. Creative and technical pattern development using the draping method. Original apparel designs patterned and constructed.

FDM 360. Fashion Merchandising. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 260 or PR or CONC: FDM 211 with a minimum grade of C- in each. This course serves as an introduction to the role and responsibilities of the buyer in relation to merchandise planning and control. Sourcing, negotiation strategies, and current merchandising practices are explored via the case study method.

FDM 361. Merchandise Planning and Control. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 360 with a minimum grade of C-. This course covers merchandising activities performed on the retail level including planning sales and assortments, selecting merchandise for resale, controlling inventories, and determining profit. Basic mathematical formulas involved in merchandising are practiced.

FDM 411. Fashion Consumer Behavior. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 110 and FDM 211 and FDM 220 with a minimum grade of C- in each. This course will offer an understanding of the consumer-centric nature of the fashion industry. Students will learn consumer behavior theories and models that are applicable to the purchase and usage of fashion products, including the consumer decision making process.

FDM 412. Fashion Sourcing and Supply Chain Management. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 360 or FDM 361 with a minimum grade of C- or consent. This course evaluates key issues facing fashion businesses in the global marketplace. It includes an examination of internal and external forces affecting political, economic, social, environmental and ethical production, and distribution of textile and apparel products.

FDM 421. Dress History: Prehistory-1850. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 220 and FDM 221 with a minimum grade of C- in each or consent. This course explores the history of fashion and dress from antiquity through 1850 within the corresponding social, cultural, technological, and economic contexts. Explores both Western and Eastern dress and textile histories and how they have influenced each other over time.

FDM 422. Fashion Theory. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 220 and FDM 221 (or equivalent) with a minimum grade of B- in each or Senior or Graduate student status or instructor approval. This is an advanced readings course that examines the underpinnings of ‘fashion’ as a social phenomenon through a cultural theory perspective in a group discussion format. The course introduces students to the academic discipline of fashion studies including a review of the key fields (e.g. anthropology, sociology, psychology, communication studies, art history, etc.) that have contributed to its evolution.

FDM 424. Functional Apparel. 3 Hours.

PR: ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 and FDM 220 and FDM 230. Physical, sociological, and psychological clothing needs of individuals with functional needs. Historical developments and research needs explored. Students conduct a service-learning project.

FDM 430. Fashion Design Portfolio. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 330 and FDM 350. Techniques of portfolio presentation from introductory page through development of lines that focus on target consumer. Includes development of concept plates, illustrations, flats, and presentation plates.

FDM 460. Sustainability in Fashion. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 411 with a minimum grade of C- or consent. This course examines sustainability in the context of cultural, economic, environmental, social, and technological policies and procedures of fashion industries. Factors analyzed include ethics, government policies, international labor standards, environmental regulations, company priorities, consumer responsibilities, economic impact, and worker rights.

FDM 461. Omni-Channel Fashion Retailing. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 211 or FDM 360 with a minimum grade of C- or consent. This course provides an overview of various channels of fashion retail distribution including catalogs, e-commerce, broadcast and brick mortar formats. It will examine the principles and strategies applied by fashion retailers that market goods and/or services using an omni-channel retail business model.

FDM 471. Fashion Promotion. 3 Hours.

PR: FDM 260 with a minimum grade of C- or ADV 215 or consent. In this course, students gain an understanding of promotion methods used in the fashion industry. It examines fashion forecasting and the creation of brand campaigns using a variety of different media. Students develop skills to communicate effectively within different fashion markets.

FDM 490. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Teaching practices as a tutor or assistant.

FDM 491. Professional Field Experience. 1-18 Hours.

PR: Consent. (May be repeated up to a maximum of 18 hours.) Pre-arranged experiential learning program, to be planned, supervised, and evaluated for credit by faculty and field supervisors. Involves temporary placement with public or private enterprise for professional competence development.

FDM 493. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

FDM 494. Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Presentation and discussion of topics of mutual concern to students and faculty.

FDM 495. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.