A deeper dive into the two majors that make up The Fashion School

Abigail Miller

Although the fashion design and fashion merchandising majors are very different, neither one can be seen as superior than the other.

According to the number of degrees awarded to each major from 2015 to 2017, the number of fashion merchandising degrees awarded are more than double the amount of the fashion design degrees awarded.

Professor and associate director of The Fashion School Kim Hahn said the numbers of degrees awarded are so different because the design classes tend to be much smaller than merchandising classes.

“The amount of fashion design students to merchandising students has a noticeable difference due to the structure of the courses,” she said. “Design courses are smaller, since there is a lot of one-on-one time with students and professors. The entire design process from pattern making to drawing takes time to acquire the skill set to graduate.”

 These two programs share some common traits.

The fashion design program offers students an understanding of design knowledge and the skills behind creating a product from concept to production.

Senior fashion design major Michaela Courtney said she expresses herself while designing practical clothing for customers.

“To me, fashion design means freedom of expression,” Courtney said. “Artistically, but also fitting into certain parameters that will make the customer happy and will be a sellable object. It’s really combining useful objects with art that people wear in their everyday lives.”

The Fashion School’s fashion merchandising degree allows students to understand the inner workings of the business behind the fashion industry.

Junior fashion merchandising major Alexus Bonacci said she enjoys the innovation behind all of the aspects of her major.

I love the amount of creative thought that goes into every aspect of fashion merchandising,” Bonacci said. “From the apparel itself to the strategic planning of business, marketing and so forth.”

With the fashion design and fashion merchandising programs being in the College of Arts, professors assign a lot of work outside of the classroom.

Courtney said for as much time as she’s in the classroom, she has double the amount of work waiting for her after class.

“It’s a pretty heavy workload,” Courtney said. “I would say that as much time as you are in class you’re probably doing double that outside of class. Just with all of our projects, because we don’t study for one test, we work until it’s perfect.”

Associate professor at The Fashion School Noël Palomo-Lovinski explained that although the workload that comes with fashion design depends on its level of heaviness, it can be hard for many students to get the hang of.

Although there is a stigma around fashion merchandising as being the easier major out of the two, it’s clear that it takes just as much time and dedication.

Bonacci said with studying fashion merchandising, she has to set aside extra time for the heavy workload.

“Most of my classes require a lot of attention between homework, studying and pushing myself to go above and beyond,” Bonacci said.

Assistant professor at The Fashion School Gargi Bhaduri said that she doesn’t think there are any differences between the workload students face when studying fashion design and fashion merchandising, because both are rigorous programs.

One thing both majors can agree on is Kent State has successfully prepared them for their future careers.

Bonacci said she can already see the positive changes that the program has provided her.

“It has already helped me so much through internships and careers, and being able to network and travel has opened a lot of doors,” Bonacci said.

Courtney said after studying at The Fashion School she feels as though she could start working as soon as possible.

“Going into Kent, I had no idea exactly what was involved with fashion design,” she said. “Through everything we have learned in the industry, and business-wise; I feel like if I started tomorrow I could pick it up.”

Abigail Miller is the fashion reporter. Contact her at [email protected]