Before choosing my major, Fashion Merchandising, I was unsure of what I could see myself doing for the rest of my future. Teaching? Nursing? Business? I struggled for a while on this decision, dealing with the anxieties of knowing that all of my friends were basically ready to take on the workforce at 18 years old. I decided one night to take a minute to write down all of the things that I enjoy—the things that genuinely bring me happiness and have taught me skills that not many have. My immediate thought was my favorite hobby: shopping. Now I know this sounds odd and quite "Legally Blonde" of me (even though Elle Woods really was a Fashion Merchandising major before the whole law degree thing), but I realized that I never shopped quite like anyone else. I was able to pick up on trends from store to store, style outfits from one store's garment to the next, and I found an outstanding appreciation for the work of designers. Although I had seen — and bought — some pretty cute clothing, it was never about what my next purchase was going to be. Instead, it was about the awe that I had for the fashion industry itself.
So back to my original point: I chose Fashion Merchandising as my major because I knew that it was something that would keep motivation high and the strive to be a better me even higher. Of course, I was nervous. I was then sitting in a smaller lecture hall, as my major is not overwhelmingly popular at my school, but this made it even more intimidating. My professors have all worked in the fashion industry and decided to teach afterward—meaning that they have the experience that one cannot read in books. Intimidating seems like the most accurate word for the moment when I walked into my first day as a fashion major, only to learn truly how powerful, yet amazing, the fashion industry is.
Designing as a profession is absolutely a real thing. Thank goodness for it! Without the legends such as Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, Charles Fredrick Worth, Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, and so many other fashion icons, I truly believe we would not be as far as we are today. We cannot forget about today's designers that have made such a large impact on us as consumers of fashion, such as Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, and Tommy Hilfiger, as they have been some of the greatest icons that my generation and the generation before me have grown with. With respect to these legends and icons, designing is not the only profession in the fashion industry—and neither is working retail.
Fashion Forecasters let you know what colors, styles, and patterns will be trending months (sometimes years) down the road before you even purchase the latest product. Buyers work to make the brands that you love accessible in the stores that you frequent the most. Visual Merchandisers are the individuals who make sure you notice that these brands are offered at the store and take the time to make those products look appealing. Magazine Editors work tirelessly to get you the information that you need before making judgments about a product, brand, individual, or furthermore, even sometimes confirm your suspicions. Stylists take the brands that you love most of all and give you an idea of how to make it exceed the highest of your expectations. There are many more occupations within the fashion industry, but I think you may get the point.
The best part about the fashion industry is that it is ever-evolving. To say that the industry will ever slow down is improbable. Everyone needs clothing and the industry is extremely punctual, and this is why we have knockoffs and counterfeit items. The fashion industry will always find a way to attract customers through innovative textile ideas, picking up on trends from its own consumers, or by learning from trends in the past. High-waisted jeans? Turtlenecks? Round sunnies? Yeah, that is a totally new idea—without a doubt created in 2019! Isn't it also a coincidence that your parents have the same garments tucked away in their closets as we speak? (sarcasm *cough* *cough*)
Fashion Merchandising is the business aspect of the industry. Yes, I can sew. In fact, I made my own line in my college's fashion show this past year. No, I do not plan on becoming a designer. Yes, a designer designed many of the looks you see before you today. No, they were not the only ones that made it possible for you to spend a pretty penny on it. Recognize the hard work that is put into the fashion industry in order for it to evolve the way that it does.
My point? Do not worry about me, how I spend four years of my life, and what my degree is in. It is a degree that I will be proud to own in the future and I cannot wait to see how far I will go.