Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA): Fashion Design and Marketing Degree Overview
Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs in fashion design and marketing prepare students to not only design clothes, but also play a role in promoting and selling clothing lines. Graduates may find employment within the fashion or retail industries.
Bachelor's Degrees in Fashion Design and Marketing
In a 4-year Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program covering on fashion design and marketing, students develop creative, critical thinking and technical skills in garment design and construction. Programs provide instruction and access to labs where students can apply industry-standard tools, materials and techniques. They practice working individually and collaboratively with fellow students on group projects.
Basic courses in fashion design, such as drawing, draping and construction, serve as a foundation for business and marketing classes, which often cover market research, consumer behavior, fashion buying and materials sourcing. Some programs offer field experience opportunities, while other schools have promotional labs where students can gain hands-on experience building fashion marketing campaigns. Prospective students must have a high school diploma or GED to apply to a bachelor's degree program.
In addition to completing general education requirements in subjects like math and English, students gain a broad understanding of the creative and business aspects of the fashion industry. Common courses include:
- History of fashion design
- Retail store management
- Fashion marketing
- Consumer behavior
- Computer-aided fashion design
- Product development
Popular Career Options
A bachelor's degree program in fashion design and marketing prepares students for entry-level careers in the fashion industry, particularly in design or retail purchasing. Some advanced career titles may require additional employment experience or training. Possible career titles for graduates of this program include:
- Retail buyer
- Fashion forecaster
- Fashion promoter
- Store planner
- Fashion public relations agent
- Fashion import manager
- Visual merchandiser
Career Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for retail buyers is forecast to be slower than average from 2010 to 2020, while employment of public relations specialists is expected to grow by 21%. The BLS lists an annual median salary of $51,470 for retail buyers as of May 2012; public relations specialists earned a median income of $54,170 during the same year.
The salary website PayScale.com indicated that the median yearly wage for store planners in December of 2013 was $52,981. For the same period, the site reported median annual salaries of $62,343 for import managers and $31,215 for visual merchandisers.
Master's degree programs in related fields like textiles, apparel or fashion design and marketing teach students advanced design, draping, sewing and patternmaking skills, as well as the professional business skills needed for management roles in the fashion industry. Graduate fashion merchandising programs also include advanced coursework in fashion design and construction, as well as product evaluation, forecasting and trend watching, so that a career as a retail buyer, visual merchandiser or related job can be obtained. Most master's degree programs take two years to complete and may offer thesis and non-thesis options.
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