The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Meet the Major: Fashion Marketing & Merchandising

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Fashion Marketing student sitting on steps outside of UMass Campus Center on sunny September day.

Anneliese Vogt, a third year student here on campus, knew she always had an affinity for all things fashion. Never did she think, however, she’d be able to attend school for essentially every aspect of the field. To her surprise through UMass’s Bachelors Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC) she has been able to do exactly that.

Anneliese entered UMass as a Communication major, never fully taking interest with its commonly corresponding degrees. A lot of communication students double major in other degrees offered in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS). So, you will most likely find a comm student paired with journalism (cough, me), economics, political science, etc. While you are certainly not limited to this list, double-majoring within SBS is convenient in picking your classes since they share the same curriculum. However, Anneliese was not willing to simplify her education out of convenience-- she wanted something more. No longer willing to deny herself her love for fashion, she decided to do some research.

Because UMass does not have its own fashion department, she turned to BDIC to create her own concoction of a degree. BDIC, a UMass-specific luxury, allows students to “create a major” using certain classes to correspond with a certain field of interest. Essentially, Anneliese will spend her last two semesters taking classes from several departments on campus of her choice to earn a dual degree in Communication and Fashion Marketing & Merchandising. As an outsider to BDIC, I for one will whole-heartedly admit my jealousy. Imagine going to a school that allows you to take a ton of you classes specific to your interests to personally-tailor your own major? A fundamental aspect to any college education the appreciation of your studies, and what better way to appreciate your studies when you literally made your major yourself??

Requirements for a degree from BDIC entail that you must pull classes from at minimum three separate departments, and you must take a proposal writing class to write a thesis as to why UMass should approve the degree. Luckily for Anneliese, she has leverage for her acceptance because it is actually quite common for students to double major in Communication and Fashion Marketing & Merchandising. Moving forward, she plans on enrolling in a marketing class in the Isenberg School of Management, and costume design class offered by the art department to name a few. As she describes, choosing her classes is a “wide range of anything that relates to fashion, marketing, and merchandising as separate chunks” necessary to compile to make one degree. For example, she is currently enrolled in Journalism 235: Public Relations, as PR is essential in understanding how a business operates.

She is most excited this semester for her Communication 493M: Fashion, Media, Culture, Style class taught by Professor Anne Ciecko. She will study fashion history, icons, the current market, the role social media influencers play in dictating the fashion world, and so much more. Her required course textbook is the Vogue September Issue. Her first assignment was to create a dream board for her semesterly aspirations, inspired by her amazing sense of fashion and keen familiarity with social media.  All counters to a “traditional” education aside, Anneliese is learning the essential aspects of what it takes to keep up in literally any career path she may go down. Ideally, she aims to work closely with a fashion brand in their marketing department. However, as the broad scale emergence of social media continues on a never ending cycle of change, to be successful in almost any field one must be able to stay up to date on social media. So, even if she ends up on a totally different career path, she will graduate knowing fundamental knowledge of what it takes to run/support a major business or corporation. In a job market where the expectations of its employees are multifaceted, her range of skills will be eternally useful. Above anything, she loves what she is learning and wakes up on a daily basis excited to go to classes offered by her BDIC concentration.



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My First Visit to UMass

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The first time I ever set foot on to the University of Massachusetts campus was in the spring of my junior year of high school. Amidst an array of college tours, SAT practice tests, and AP exam studying, I can’t honestly say I took the time to appreciate the little beauties UMass Amherst had to offer-- rather, I worried that my application would not be up to par. Questions ran through my head the entire time I was there, as they would any stressed out high school junior: “What if my extracurriculars aren’t good enough?” “Have I taken enough AP classes?” “What if I’m not accepted?”