Fashion Design and Development

The fashion design and development major at Western Michigan University will prepare you for a career in apparel and soft goods design and development. Professionals in this field use their creative and technical skills to design products, develop patterns, monitor quality assurance and coordinate sourcing activities. This emphasis includes courses in apparel construction, pattern making, computer-aided design and merchandising.

Learn more about fashion design and development

Beyond the classroom

Fashion design and development majors earn three credits by completing 300 hours of pre-approved, supervised field experience at an apparel design and marketing firm. The field experience course focuses on developing essential professional competencies through completion of research and reflective assignments and periodic employer evaluations.

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.

As a fashion design and development major, you have the option to complete part of your studies at one of our partner institutions. WMU has partnerships with the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Regents University in London, and Florence University of the Arts in Florence, Italy, which allow you to take classes as a guest student and apply credits to your WMU major. The guest student experience offers the opportunity to gain a unique perspective on the industry and the chance to make valuable industry connections.

Merchandising Opportunities and Design Association, or MODA, is the registered student organization at WMU representing fashion majors and minors. Joining this organization offers opportunities to network and develop leadership and teamwork skills. Members produce several fashion shows each year and participate in community service activities.


WMU alums have transformed their passion for fashion into challenging and creative careers. You will find our grads working for national retailers and famous brands all over the world. They are designers, buyers, merchandisers, managers and marketers. You will even find them in some unexpected places as automotive interior designers and retail software marketers. We are very proud of our alums!

See our alumni stories

After you graduate

Career opportunities for graduates of WMU's fashion design and development program include:

  • Costume designers
  • Fashion and technical designers
  • Product developers
  • Production managers
  • Quality control managers
  • Sourcing managers
  • Stylists

Graduates work for companies like:

  • Anthropologie
  • Buckle
  • Cache
  • Club Monaco
  • Edwards Garment
  • Express
  • Gap
  • J. Crew
  • Kohl's
  • Land’s End
  • Lear Corp.
  • Macy's
  • Meijer
  • Merrell
  • Sears
  • Target
  • Topshop
  • Victoria's Secret

Career Outcomes

Where is this program offered?

  • Kalamazoo

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