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Fashion and Retail Studies

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

College: Education and Human Ecology

The programs in consumer sciences provide students with unique opportunities for careers in industries that provide goods and services, ranging from financial planners to merchandisers in retail or wholesale settings to hotel and restaurant managers. The department’s programs encompass product and service knowledge; the study of people who produce and distribute products and services, as well as the study of the people who use them; and the processes involved from conception to consumption. Programs in the department focus on enhancing consumer, individual and family well-being.

The fashion and retail studies major will prepare you to manage and merchandise fashion apparel, textiles, beauty and accessory products that will be manufactured and sold around the world.

Students take a core of major courses and select supporting major choice courses. The major is designed to integrate knowledge of people and apparel with allocation and distribution processes and product acquisition. Emphasis is placed on product knowledge—performance characteristics, selection criteria, and design principles and trends; process skills—consumer behavior and business practices; and communication—visualization and interpretation.

The curriculum combines product-focused courses with courses in retailing, marketing, management and accounting. Other courses focus on the development and quality evaluation of textile and apparel products and on commercial production of apparel worldwide. Qualities and performance of fibers, fabrics and constructed apparel products are also studied.

Required courses:

  • Fashion, the Body and Popular Culture
  • Commercial and Consumer Aesthetics
  • Business of Fashion
  • Beginning Textile Science
  • Appearance, Dress and Cultural Diversity
  • Fashion Forecasting
  • Ready-to-wear Analysis
  • Retail Environments
  • Statistics
  • Third-level writing course 

Students gain a focus toward a chosen career path by completing an additional six courses in one of the following focus areas: product development or merchandising.

Typical courses for the product development option:

  • Fashion Illustration
  • Computer-Aided Product Development
  • Twentieth-Century Fashion 

Typical courses for students pursuing the merchandising option:

  • International Retailing
  • Global Patterns and Issues in Textiles and Apparel Trade
  • Merchandise Buying and Management

An internship or field work (generally taken as a junior or senior) is also a required part of the industry-based curriculum. 

The Black Retail Action Group at Ohio State is a chapter of a nonprofit organization based in New York with the purpose of helping minorities succeed within the retail industry. 

The Fashion Student Organization promotes knowledge of the fashion industry through many activities including an annual fashion show and trip to New York City. 

The Fashion Production Association provides students with the opportunity to publicly display their abilities in garment design, as well as advertising, fundraising and special event production, culminating in a fashion design show or public exhibit at the end of the school year.

Graduates typically find employment in firms ranging from specialty stores to mass merchandisers to catalog distributors. Positions include wholesale/retail manager, buyer, entrepreneur and visual merchandiser. Graduates who are more interested in pursuing employment in product development find opportunities as apparel product development specialists and technical designers as well as positions in quality control.

Beginning salaries for graduates of the fashion and retail studies program range from $30,000 to $40,000 depending on the candidate’s skills and previous work experiences.