Difference Between Fashion Designer and Fashion Merchandiser

Students aspiring to make a niche in the world of fashion are often clueless about difference between fashion designing and fashion merchandising. Both the fields are closely interrelated, play vital role in industry and require vast knowledge and keen interest in fashion styles and trends. The focal areas of both the fields are different though.

fashion designing

While the fashion designing involves designing clothline and create the final product, fashion merchandising trains students in encouraging consumers to buy clothes from retail chains. The designing showcases creativity and artistic aspect, merchandising delves into the business side of the fashion world. Fashion designers conceptualise clothing and apparel line and work upon new fashion trends, while merchandisers go through existing clothing and identify finished products to sell. Read on to learn more about the difference between fashion designer and fashion merchandiser.

Fashion Designer and Fashion Merchandiser Differences

Creation versus Marketing

Fashion designers are known for creative streaks. The fashion designing curriculum includes subjects in sketching, pattern-making, sewing, drafting and creative design. Students are trained to create a garment or a collection of apparel right from conceptualization of design of clothes to its ultimate production.

Designers work closely with manufacturers to procure fabric and accessories for designs and sometimes get involved in production. The fashion designers possess degree or diploma in fashion designing to improve job prospects.

Fashion merchandising revolves around developing marketing strategies, management concepts, brand imaging and business and pricing principles. In this programme students learn how to choose designs that have potential to sell or that can attract customers. They devise methods to grab eyeballs and make attractive presentations and displays to make a strong customer base. Opt Fashion merchandising if you are good at marketing a product.

Innovation versus Analysis

Fashion designing entails loads of creativity, innovation, knack for style and fresh ideas that consumers would love to follow. Designing demands a sharp eye for detail, patience and ability to work under pressure. Fashion designers are supposed to be in rhythm with latest trends and practices in the industry. They must also develop an ability to foresee and create next fashion trends and style so that they can execute creations well in advance.

On the other hand, fashion merchandisers must possess strong analytical skills and deep business sense. They must take a peep into past developments in the fashion industry to predict upcoming trends. While fashion designers forecast future fashion styles and trends, erchandisers have to foresee such trends. Merchandisers must possess excellent negotiation and communication skills to deal with manufacturers and suppliers in order to procure goods at an economical price.

Fashion merchandising

Entrepreneur versus industry integral

Fashion designers can establish their own set up. They can also have association with fashion houses. One will surely face lot of challenges and stiff competition in establishing oneself as an entrepreneur.

Also Read: What does a Fashion Designer Do

Fashion merchandisers generally work in retail stores and fashion houses. Under retail chains, they are supposed to purchase clothing, accessories, jewellery, footwear and bags, look after display of items and their advertising. Under fashion house, they are assigned the task to study trends and predict the direction and trend of next set of designs. The job also entails visiting fabric stores to check and suggest fabric for designing labels.

Both fashion designing and merchandising are fields having stiff competition. Both of them visit trade and fashion shows to predict the latest trends in industry. They have to analyse fashion trends together sometimes in order to make optimum use of resources, meet demands of retail as well as consumers.


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