Textile and Apparel Studies: Product Development

Western Michigan University's product development emphasis meets increasing industry demand for graduates who have an understanding of both design and merchandising aspects of the industry. The design and merchandising functions are becoming more inter-related as apparel firms rely increasingly on private brands, and as apparel manufacturers assume a more prominent retailing function. If you elect this option, you will take courses in merchandising, design and business to prepare you for a challenging career in product development.

Beyond the classroom

A field experience will offer you the opportunity to apply classroom learning in real-world situations, as well as gain valuable work experience. As a textile and apparel studies major, you will earn three semester credits by completing 300 hours of pre-approved, supervised field experience in an apparel design and marketing firm. You will complete reflective assignments and receive periodic employer evaluations during the enrollment period.

You may also elect to complete an internship as part of your program. An internship will provide you with supervised, management-level training experience with a leading industry firm during your junior or senior year.

WMU has partnerships with the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and American Intercontinental University in London. As a product development student in the textile and apparel studies program at WMU, you will have the opportunity to study at one of these schools. The experience will provide you with a unique perspective on the industry and the chance to make valuable industry connections.

Merchandising Opportunities and Design Association

MODA is the student organization representing textile and apparel studies majors and minors. Joining this organization enhances personal and professional skills and provides opportunities to meet and develop friendships with fellow majors, network with companies and learn about careers. As a member, you will receive the opportunity to use your creativity and leadership skills to help produce an annual student fashion show.

After you graduate

Career opportunities for graduates of WMU's product development program include:

  • Merchandisers
  • Sourcing managers
  • Trend forecasters
  • Technical designers
  • Quality control managers

Where is this program offered?

  • Kalamazoo