7 Questions with a Fashion Merchandising Major

Many people love fashion because our clothes can be a fun way to show who we are. If a career in fashion is something you’d like to pursue, JWU has a great Fashion Merchandising & Retailing program that allows you to explore the many different career options the fashion industry has to offer. I chatted with Zahria Jones '25, a current JWU Fashion Merchandising major, to learn more about why she chose the program and what she loves about it.

Zaharia Jones '24 looking at jewelry samples in the Retail LabZahria Jones '25 selecting jewelry samples in the Fashion Retail Lab.

1. Why did you choose Fashion Merchandising as a major?

I chose Fashion Merchandising & Retailing as a major because I love the concept of working around fashion and understanding the business side of it. We cover topics like forecasting, buying, and product development. These are our most business-focused topics. They help prepare us for work after completing our degrees at Johnson & Wales by giving us an idea of what kind of job opportunities are out there. We also cover topics like textiles and visuals, which are more hands-on. We get to explore our creative sides while taking in a lot of valuable knowledge. Something valuable I’ve learned so far about the business side of fashion is how much detail goes into simply going to buy merchandise from vendors. It is a lot more than picking which garment you like best.

2. What are some interesting classes that you get to take?

As a second-semester sophomore, I have completed the Introduction to Retail course, Textiles, and I am currently completing the Fashion Lab. Each course has been knowledgeable and engaging. The most interesting so far would have to be Textiles for me. I love getting to be hands-on and being able to collaborate with my classmates. We get to know a little over one hundred different textiles and what types of merchandise they would be used for.

JWU fashion students creating an outfit on a mannequin in the Fashion Retail Lab

3. What are some reasons why you love fashion merchandising?

I love fashion merchandising because I like learning about all the different job opportunities I can choose from with my degree. Some job opportunities that interest me currently are bridal styling, trend forecasting, and social media marketing.

4. What advice would you give to incoming fashion students?

Time management is key! I have learned from experience that leaving your assignments for Sunday night will only cause you stress. Get your assignments done throughout the week, so that you can enjoy more free time during the weekend. And, never be afraid to ask your peers and professors for help.

A student on the computer with an article of clothing next to her hands

5. What are the labs like for fashion merchandising?

The labs are extremely exciting! We do a lot of hands-on activities that mimic a real work environment. We also go on weekly field visits where we get to see real work opportunities and hear from alumni and business owners. This prepares us for our big NYC trip in March. The NYC trip is one of the key features of the program. This is where all our hard work pays off and we can apply everything we have learned throughout the semester.

6. What career path are you choosing while studying fashion merchandising?

Right now, I am still thinking about a couple of options. I am not entirely sure what I’ll be doing once I graduate. However, I would love to work as a stylist or maybe do something related to managing a fashion brand's social media account. I think JWU has prepared me for these two potential careers because each course we complete in the program gives you a taste of most fashion and business-related careers. As a stylish person, you need to have knowledge about textiles.

7. Have you been able to do any exciting internships as a fashion merchandising student?

Not yet! I plan to complete one this summer. I would like to complete an internship at a bridal store if possible.

A JWU fashion student holding a clothing item.


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