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US: Johnson and Wales fashion students discover New York style

From September, Johnson and Wales University will offer a new four-year Bachelor of Science degree in fashion merchandising and retail marketing.

“We’re part of the School of Business,” says Pat Fisher, Chairwoman of the Marketing department at Johnson and Wales. “The biggest misconception is that we’re designers – but we’re not. I think some people are attracted by a sense of glamour around the fashion business.”

The program can lead graduates to a variety of careers, including buying, visual merchandising, store management, trend forecasting and fashion journalism.

Current fashion merchandising students travelled to New York in February to meet with people in the fashion industry during New York Fashion Week. It was a wonderful opportunity to see how the heart of the US fashion industry really works.

Jenessa Ponte originally began the course intending to become a buyer, but after meeting Lauren Deatherage, a trend forecaster for Cotton Inc., she changed her ambitions. For Allison Ackerman, meeting Court Williams, Fashion Market Editor for trade journal Women’s Wear Daily, was a highlight. “That’s my dream job!” she said.

As well as field trips to New York, the class spends five Fridays each term in retail head offices close to the Massachusetts campus. Internships are also part of the fashion merchandising program.

“It’s a field that’s constantly changing,” says Melanie St Lean, Associate Professor of Marketing, “The consumer has more options than ever before. There’s catalogues, the internet… they no longer just walk through the door, and companies are starting to realise that.”

To find out whether the Fashion Merchandising degree at Johnson & Wales University is right for you, contact one of our student counsellors today.

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