Fashion Studies Requirements

Main Content

The fashion industry is known for rapid change and is characterized by new technology, globalization and changing consumer desires. The fashion industry employs millions of people and reflects the health of a nation’s economy because of the millions of dollars spent by consumers for fashion goods. The fashion industry is composed of businesses that design, produce and sell a unique array of consumer goods known for seasonal changes in fabrics, colors and silhouettes. Fashion products are not exclusive to women’s apparel. Rather, fashion production and sales are organized into several different product categories: men’s, women’s and children’s apparel and accessories, cosmetics and fragrances, and home furnishings. A fashion career is for any individual who thrives on change.

The four-year curriculum in fashion studies offers the beginning level of education for those who intend to pursue a career in fashion. There are three specializations in the Fashion Studies major: Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising, and Fashion Styling. Within each specialization, a structured sequencing of courses is included which provides for a gradual interactive development of required knowledge and skills. This preparation is combined with the University Core Curriculum courses to provide a comprehensive scholarly foundation for advancement.

A fast-paced atmosphere is created by the amount of information to be covered, the frequency of assignments, and the pressure of due dates. Successful students must be able to handle multiple projects simultaneously and manage their time wisely. While facilities are provided for use, cost for supplies, individual equipment and field trips necessary to the successful completion of the program are borne by the student. Due to variation in choice of individual materials used, it is impossible to predict the exact costs for each student. The Fashion Studies program maintains the right to retain student work for exhibition or for records and accreditation purposes. Students are advised to assemble a photographic file of their work for their portfolios. All students in the fashion studies major are required to have a laptop computer at the beginning of the second semester freshman year.

Potential Occupations

Participation in work experience, internships, externships and volunteer activities is recommended to enhance the academic curriculum. In addition, educational travel opportunities are provided allowing students to visit major fashion market cities with on-site business appointments. Graduates who pursue advanced studies can attain more responsible positions with the possibility of rising to top professional levels.

Graduates of the fashion design specialization are prepared to design clothing, accessories and other soft goods. Some designers are self-employed and design for individual clients. Other designers cater to specialty stores or department stores. Most fashion designers, however, work for apparel manufacturers creating and adapting fashions for the mass market. Some examples of careers in this area include, but are not limited to, manufacturer’s representative, sales representative, production manager, inventory controller, stylist, apparel designer, textile designer, pattern maker, customer service representative, fashion illustrator, costing engineer, technical services, government or private researcher, and computer-aided design (CAD) manager.

Fashion merchandising professionals operate at the wholesale or retail level in the fashion industry. Career placement is very high and is complemented by the work experience component of the program. Careers in fashion merchandising include, but are not limited to, account representative, personal shopper, wholesale buyer, retail buyer, independent wholesaler, sales manager, visual merchandiser, inventory planning and distribution analyst, manufacturer’s representative, customer service management specialist, retail sales and sales support manager, and showroom coordinator.

Fashion stylists work for companies such as designers, fashion houses, magazines, newspapers, retailers, online merchandisers, catalog publishers, television and film production houses, public relations firms, advertising agencies, and music producers. Fashion stylists may work as wardrobe consultants for agents, celebrities (e.g., in the sports or entertainment industries), or wealthy clients to prepare their clients for important events. Many stylists establish their own businesses as independent contractors. They give seminars or conduct classes with individuals, groups, or companies to provide information about fashion and accessories. Fashion stylists evaluate clients’ physical attributes, lifestyle, and fashion style and recommend fashion choices that will assist clients to achieve and maintain their desired image. A fashion stylist has specific responsibilities for a photo shoot, fashion show, music video, film or event. Fashion stylists plan creative solutions to a design brief while working in teams composed of photographers, designers, lighting technicians, and set builders. They meet with directors or producers and gain a clear vision of the overall goal; they are then responsible for assembling apparel, accessories, props, and essentials for creating a desired image. Fashion stylists scout locations, create a mood by selecting and setting up appropriate props, fashions, accessories, and models to fit the theme. They coordinate colors and styles and ensure that everything is ready.

Selective Admission and Grade Requirements

Prospective students attending another college or university prior to transferring to Southern Illinois University Carbondale should concentrate on completing courses articulated or approved as substitutes for Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s University Core Curriculum requirements. Prior to taking courses that appear to equate to the professional sequence, the applicant should consult with a program representative.

Students must pass all Fashion Studies prefix courses with a minimum grade of C in order to satisfy prerequisites and to graduate. If a student receives a grade of F three times in the same course, the course cannot be taken again. Students cannot repeat FASH Prefix courses in which they received a grade of C or better.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Fashion Studies

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements - As per University requirements for baccalaureate degrees, but must include AD 207A, AD 207B, AD 207C (select two) 39
Requirements for Major in Fashion Studies 81
Major Core requirements 33

The following courses are required for all Fashion Studies majors: FASH 101, FASH 102, FASH 172, FASH 241, FASH 281, FASH 330, FASH 340, FASH 441, FASH 442, FASH 462, (FASH 431 or FASH 432 or FASH 433)

Specialization Requirements 48
Total 120

Fashion Design Specialization

In the fashion design specialization, students learn about all facets of the apparel and textile industries from raw materials to the consumer. This encompasses knowledge of textiles and fashion design from product development through promotion and distribution.

The curriculum focuses on fashion design, production and merchandising strategies to develop the skills necessary to work in the fashion industry. Courses provide instruction for students in all aspects of the industry including development and trends of national and foreign fashion; fibers, fabrics, and finishes basic to the selection, use and care of textiles; basic fashion production; current technology in computer-aided design; visual analysis of fashion; fashion sketching; pattern drafting; pattern grading; pattern-making techniques; draping; and history of fashion. In addition to knowledge of the fashion industry, students may obtain background and skills in art, history, journalism, theater, marketing, business management, production management, finance and accounting. A variety of opportunities are available to assess student learning in fashion design, production, and textiles, including comments on garments selected for the annual senior fashion show, senior portfolio review and evaluation from on-site field experience supervisors.

B.S. Fashion Studies - Fashion Design Specialization Degree Requirements

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
Requirements for Fashion Design Specialization 36
To include FASH 111, FASH 112, FASH 121, FASH 251, FASH 252, FASH 272, FASH 311, FASH 351, FASH 352, FASH 451, FASH 452, (FASH 431, FASH 432, or FASH 433) 36
AD 110, Art and design (Select) 6
Professional Electives 6
Total 48

Fashion Merchandising Specialization

The fashion merchandising specialization offers in-depth study of the process of planning, negotiating, acquiring, selling and evaluating merchandise throughout the distribution channel. It is designed for students interested in product sales careers at the wholesale or retail level. Students acquire knowledge of merchandise, sales techniques, and trends in the market place and customer service. This specialization assumes a global perspective and is complemented by business courses to allow for career flexibility. In addition to knowledge of the fashion industry, students are encouraged to develop a background and related skills in art, marketing, or management. Because fashion production takes place worldwide, developing and/or enhancing writing and speaking skills in a second language such as Spanish, French, or Chinese is also encouraged.

Courses provide instruction to students in all aspects of fashion product sales – from product conception, sales floor visual merchandising plans, seasonal sales plan, and promotional campaigns. All courses include analytical skills necessary to interpret sales data and consumer behaviors. Fashion merchandising students are required to gain on-the-job work experience for course credit.

B.S. Fashion Studies - Fashion Merchandising Specialization Degree Requirements

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
Requirements for Fashion Merchandising Specialization 15
To include FASH 282, FASH 381, FASH 482, FASH 492 (or approved substitute), FASH 491 15
ACCT 220 3
PSYC 323 (Prerequisite: PSYC 102) 3
MKTG 304, MKTG 305, MKTG 363, MKTG 401 plus 3 additional hours in MKTG 15
Professional Electives 9
Total 48

Fashion Styling Specialization

The fashion styling 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. To allow students to customize their program to the particular types of styling in which they are interested, professional electives may be selected from specified classes in Cinema and Photography, Communication Studies, English, Journalism, Music, Radio, Television, & Digital Media, Sociology, and Theater. A wide range of projects are included in classes to provide students experience with different types of styling.

The fashion styling specialization is designed so students can easily transfer into the program and within two to three years can earn a B.S. in Fashion Studies with a Fashion Styling specialization. Customized academic plans can be developed for licensed cosmetologists. Please contact the program director or advisor for further information.

B.S. Fashion Studies - Fashion Styling Specialization Degree Requirements

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
Requirements for Fashion Styling Specialization 18
To include FASH 121, FASH 232, FASH 282, FASH 333, FASH 472, (FASH 431 or FASH 432 or FASH 433) 18
AD 110 3
Professional Electives 27
Total 48