Fashion Merchandising program could be just your style

Fashion merchandising program at Pierce CollegeIf you’ve got an eye for fashion and a head for business, Pierce College’s Fashion Merchandising program might be a perfect fit for you.

Fashion Merchandising is one of Pierce’s business programs. Students can earn a certificate in one year, or if they plan carefully, an associate degree in business – plus a certificate in fashion merchandising – in two years, according to Professor Ann Stolz, who heads the program.

“We have the number one fashion and retail merchandising program in Western Washington,” says Paul Gerhardt, associate professor and coordinator of Pierce’s business program. “If you’re interested in being a store manager, a procurement specialist or just enjoy learning about fabrics, this is the program for you.”

In addition to required business management courses, including sales, visual promotion, and merchandising, and general business requirements, the fashion merchandising certificate features three specialized courses on fashion, Fashion 160, 162 and 163.

Fashion 160 – introduction to fashion merchandising – is a fully online course. The course offers a survey of the fashion industry from early days until the present, and includes influences on fashion, how trends develop and happenings in fashion today at the business and corporate level, Stolz said.

Fashion 162 – fashion design and clothing construction analysis – “is one where students get to be a little more creative,” Stolz said.

Students learn to analyze design elements and principles, the construction of garments, and color and its impact on fashion.

They learn how to judge the quality of a garment. They learn how linings are supposed to lie inside of garments. They look at seams as a clue to quality

In 162, there’s a section on illustration. Students design outfits and learn how to use a croquis – “a stick figure in the fashion world” – on which to draw their designs. “We also talk about, OK this is a really great idea, but is it possible to make it?” Stolz said. “An example would be a skin-tight garment in a material that doesn’t stretch.”

Fashion 163 – consumer textiles – is the study of fabrics. Students have a swatch kit with more than 100 fabric samples. They learn in depth information on the properties of various fibers and textiles.

“They end up with a really good knowledge of fabrics and their characteristics and uses,” Stolz said.

“When they come out of that class, if they have a garment that’s 97 percent polyester and 3 percent spandex, they’ll know how it’s going to wash, how it will feel, how it will hang.”

Stolz says her fashion merchandising certificate holders have the opportunity to start their careers with jobs at higher end department stores.

“The thing about the fashion industry is that most people will need experience on the floor.”

But a fashion merchandising certificate gives its graduates the “knowledge that will help them move up the ladder at a faster rate.”

“Everywhere I go shopping I see former students. They find jobs in the local markets with the good companies to work for. I have some students who have advanced to the corporate level.”

For more information email Professor Stolz:




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *