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Design and product development

The merchandisers work closely with those in the design and product development area, who interpret the trend forecasts and create designs

The merchandisers work closely with those in the design and product development area, who interpret the trend forecasts and create designs to be offered by the company.

Generally, merchandisers and designers work together on the line planning. Those in the design and product development area include designers, assistant designers, product developers, stylists, pattern makers, and sample sewers. For companies that own their production facilities, the design and product development area may also involve managing and operating the factories, including the employment and training of sewing operators. Small fashion brand companies may focus on a single type of product or small line of related merchandise for their target customer (e.g., dresses, men’s casual shirts, organic cotton tops, and bottoms). Larger fashion brand companies may offer a full range of fashion merchandise for their target customer including apparel, accessories, and lifestyle products.

The term cross-merchandising refers to the strategy used by fashion brand companies to combine apparel and accessories in their product offerings and visual merchandising. Some fashion brand companies offer accessories to coordinate with their apparel lines. Other companies form licensing agreements to produce coordinating fashion merchandise. Licensing agreements are discussed in detail in Week 2 of the Business Law and the Fashion Industry course. Week 1 of the Product Design and Manufacturing Processes in the Fashion Industry course focuses on the design and product development activities of fashion brand companies.

In order for any fashion brand to succeed they need to sell their product and for this it is imperative that companies do the necessary marketing and ensure that sales operations are smooth and successful. Dive into the next step for a further inspection of this.

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Fashion and the Global Supply Chain

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