Fashion Merchandising

Fashion student works on garment

Fashion merchandising majors at St. Kate's are analytical, creative and articulate communicators. They appreciate beauty and have an eye for detail and color. Our program prepares you for exciting careers in retail buying, product sourcing, trend forecasting, visual display, fashion business analysis, retail management, entrepreneurship or product design and development.

Rigorous curriculum

We train you to define and analyze target markets, and creatively buy, sell and promote fashion products and services. Marketing and management courses are required in addition to in-depth classes on topics such as textiles (specifically how to differentiate fabrics and finishes), apparel construction, cutting-edge forms of retailing (non-store, social media) and clothing styles from ancient times to the present. Our writing-intensive courses such as "Sociocultural Aspects of Dress," as well as several other major courses, will develop your verbal, written and visual presentation skills.

Tech savvy

At St. Kate's, you learn how to use computer-aided design software (CAD) for technical specifications and estimating cost in fashion merchandising — in addition to Photoshop, Illustrator, Excel and other technical or budgeting analysis packages. If you double-major in apparel design, you also use CAD for sketching and patternmaking.

Study in London, Paris or NYC

We partner with fashion schools around the world, like the London College of Fashion and Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, to bring you exciting study abroad programs. We also offer three-week, faculty-led courses to Boston and New York City or Paris, Florence and London. The agenda includes meeting buyers, textile manufacturers, trend forecasters, and magazine editors, and visiting fashion exhibits and museum collections.

Faculty and portfolio advantage

St. Kate's is the only university in the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities with two apparel majors: fashion merchandising and apparel design. Faculty with knowledge and experience in both fields means you get a strong foundation in textile science, garment construction and fashion history. You also gain a global perspective on dress and have real work that you can compile into portfolios to show potential employers, including an e-portfolio.

Ethical and eco-conscious

You'll study environmental and social justice issues and sustainable design in fashion and apparel starting in your first year — valuable knowledge for your future career because eco-fashion is a growing trend among consumers. In classes, you discuss fair trade practices, workers' rights, upcycling, and sourcing local products. You also learn to extend the life of a garment by repurposing it or merging two pieces into a new one. Students in our "Textiles" course have researched sustainable fiber development, such as spider silk, corn and soy, to make fashionable, yet durable fabrics.

Runway experience

Fashion merchandising majors are active participants in St. Kate's annual Katwalk fashion show. Some design clothing and jewelry; others handle set design, backstage management and publicity. Our students and alumnae are also regular participants in the eco-friendly Second Runway fashion show and the Red Dress benefit for the American Heart Association.

Role models and mentors

Our faculty are influential in fashion circles and often spotted by local media at key fashion events. They win awards and are invited to present at national and international conferences. Associate Professor Trudy Landgren won the Educators for Socially Responsible Apparel Business Award for Sustainable Design. Assistant Professor Anupama Pasricha spoke at the Consumer Citizen Network annual meeting in Berlin and the International Textiles and Apparel Association conference in Montreal. Assistant Professor Kelly Gage has presented to the Costume Society of America and the African Studies Association

Thriving fashion scene

The vibrant Twin Cities fashion industry makes St. Paul and Minneapolis a great place to find an internship or shadow a designer. Project Runway contestants Katherine Gerdes, Danielle Everine, Christopher Straub and Ramon Lawrence-Coleman call Minnesota home. Our faculty have invited guest speakers to classes, including Mehera Shaw eco-designer Shari Keller.