Fashion & Costume – Albright College

Fashion & Costume

What is Fashion?

Complemented by a liberal arts education and interdisciplinary studies, the curriculum of the department is designed to

  • Provide students with a foundation in the fashion industry
  • Expose students to careers in the fashion industry, such as fashion apparel and costume design; fashion journalism; fashion business management and merchandising; retail buying; and garment production
  • Develop strong communication skills through oral presentations and assignments in the form of visual displays and descriptive reports that incorporate appropriate terminology and market concepts
  • Position students for entry into the fashion industry at all levels and increase their employment opportunities

What is this career like?

“Fashion designers create original clothing, accessories, and footwear. They sketch designs, select fabrics and patterns, and give instructions on how to make the products they designed. Larger apparel companies typically employ a team of designers headed by a creative designer. Some fashion designers specialize in clothing, footwear, or accessory design, but others create designs in all three fashion categories.”

“Purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents buy farm products, durable and nondurable goods, and services for organizations and institutions. They try to get the best deal for their organization—the highest quality goods and services at the lowest cost. They do this by studying sales records and inventory levels of current stock, identifying foreign and domestic suppliers, and keeping up to date with changes affecting both the supply of, and demand for, products and materials. Purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents must make certain that the supplier can deliver the desired goods or services on time, in the correct quantities, and without sacrificing quality. Once they have gathered information on suppliers, they sign contracts with suppliers who meet the organization’s needs, and they place orders. Buyers who purchase items to resell to customers largely determine which products their organization will sell. They need to be able to predict what will appeal to their customers. If they are wrong, they could jeopardize the profits and reputation of their organization.”

Related Career Titles

Assistant Buyer Store Manager
Assistant Area Sales Manager Store Trainer
Assistant Store Manager Visual Merchandiser
Assistant Style Editor Store Owner
Buyer Space Planner/Designer
District Manager, Retail Interior Decorator
Fabric Purchasing Manager Fashion Consultant
Merchandising Analyst Merchandising Researcher
Product Development Specialist Marketing Assistant
Costume Designer Design Assistant
Fashion Coordinator Quality Control/Quality Assurance
Department Manager Fashion Production

How can you get ready? (from

  • Obtain retail experience through summer jobs, part-time jobs or internships.
  • Computer knowledge is crucial. Become familiar with technology related to Internet sales, distribution and inventory tracking.
  • Join student branches of professional retailing associations. Read their publications and attend their meetings.
  • Read the business section of newspapers and magazines to keep track of current trends in retail.
  • Be prepared to work holidays and weekends, typically the busiest times for retailers.
  • Contact stores or markets of interest. Inquire about management training programs.
  • Most retailers promote from within the organization. Therefore, management trainee programs or sales associate positions are a good way to begin.
  • Supplement program with courses in marketing, accounting, communications and computers.
  • Be aware of the many transferable skills associated with this degree.

Related Major Skills

Analytical and problem-solving skills Persistence
Organizational skills Collaboration with team members
Interpersonal and networking skills Attention to detail
Competitive drive Research skills in consumer trends
Leadership abilities Decision making
Computer skills Creativity
Writing and public speaking skills Adaptability

What about the future?

“Employment of fashion designers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. However, employment of fashion designers in the wholesale apparel industry is projected to increase 17 percent over the projection period.”

“Employment of buyers and purchasing agents is projected to grow 2 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. These workers will continue to be needed to buy goods and services for business operations or for resale to customers. In addition, buyers and purchasing agents often play an important role in controlling costs for an organization.”

Learn more about alternative career titles by going to

Available at Albright College Career Development’s Resource Library

  • Career Opportunities in Art, by Susan H. Haubenstock and David Joselit
  • Career Opportunities in the Fashion Industry, by Peter Vogt
  • Career Opportunities in the Retail/Wholesale Industry, by Shelley Field
  • Careers for Color Connoisseurs and Other Visual Types, by Jan Goldberg
  • Careers for Crafty People and Other Dexterous Types, by Mark Rowh
  • Careers for Culture Lovers and Other Artsy Types, by Marjorie Eberts and Margaret Gisler
  • Careers for Fashion Plates and Other Trendsetters, by Lucia Mauro
  • Careers for Romantics and Other Dreamy Types, by Blythe Camenson
  • Careers for the Stagestruck and Other Dramatic Types, by Lucia Mauro
  • Opportunities in Fashion Careers, by Roslyn Dolber
  • Opportunities in Interior Design and Decorating Careers, by Victoria K. Ball
  • Opportunities in Retailing Careers, by Roslyn Dolber

In addition, the Gingrich library has more than 100 book selections on fashion, costume, clothing and dress.  You can find them by browsing “subject searches.”

Links to Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by Albright College Experiential Learning and Career Development Center.

Job and Internship Search Sites

 Professional Associations

Miscellaneous Fashion Websites

Fashion Company Internships

Fashion Intern Abroad Information