Apparel, Merchandising, and Design (Fashion)

A top-ranked fashion education with a university experience is what you’ll find at Iowa State. Our students, faculty and staff are on the cutting edge of education in this global industry. As an apparel, merchandising, and design student, you will build a comprehensive base of knowledge about the textiles and apparel industry. This includes merchandising and marketing strategies, fashion design, product development, and production processes.

We’re also home to one of the largest student-produced fashion shows in the country. Be part of an experience where your designs are showcased in front of annual sellout crowds of over 2000 people. Learn why students choose Iowa State for their fashion future and what it takes to produce The Fashion Show in this TV documentary.

General Program of Study

Program Information

Curriculum requirements

4-year plans

Past syllabi

Creative and Technical Design

As a designer, your option has been accredited by the National Association of Schools and Art and Design. Your studies will traverse traditional hand methods and high-tech innovations in patternmaking, illustration, construction techniques, surface and structure design, technical design, and portfolio processes. Enter your designs in Iowa State’s celebrated Fashion Show.
2023-24 catalog requirements (PDF)

Product Development for Apparel and Soft Goods

As a product developer, engage in the strategic processes of forecasting, planning, prototyping, evaluating, and sourcing a soft-good apparel product for a specific target market. Learn to design, plan, and produce soft goods for apparel products across a range of fashion market categories utilizing industry-specific software and resources. Be equipped with entrepreneurial thinking and practical, hands-on skills in team-based environments.
2023-2024 catalog requirements (PDF).

Merchandising and Retail Analytics

As a merchandiser, get savvy in the world of buying, visual merchandising, retail marketing, entrepreneurship, and merchandise and brand management. Move forward with an entrepreneurial business plan for a brick-and-mortar boutique or an online venture. Compete and learn by presenting your ideas to a panel of judges in Iowa State’s annual entrepreneurship showcase.
2023-24 catalog requirements (PDF)

Looking to diversify a related major or degree?

merchandising certificate is also available.

Fashion Communication

As a fashion influencer, your studies will build on the basics of merchandising, visual merchandising, trend forecasting, marketing, and entrepreneurship.  Add a required minor in journalism, public relations, event management, or communication studies to prepare for a career in magazine, public relations, digital influencing, and customer visual experiences.
2023-24 catalog requirements (PDF)

Facilities and laboratories

AMD students have access to state-of-the-art facilities, such as Functional Textiles and Protective Clothing lab, a textiles conservation laboratory, a detailed historical garment collection, an apparel production center, and a clothing museum that expose you to new equipment and complex processes. High-tech equipment like the 3-D body scanner, industrial-sized digital printer, and new design software programs are utilized in AMD courses and for projects.


Apparel, merchandising, and design faculty come from a variety of backgrounds (academic, industry, and publications) that will help you learn what it takes to succeed in this field.

Dr. Doreen Chung, Co-Program Director

Dr. Ann Marie Fiore, Director of Graduate Education

Dr. Rachel Eike

Dr. Jessica Hurst

Dr. Sara Marcketti

Dr. Amy Nichols

Dr. Linda Niehm Interim Department Chair, Apparel Events and Hospitality Management and Professor, Dean’s Faculty Fellow

Dr. Kelly Reddy-Best Co-Program Director

Dr. Eulanda Sanders, Donna R. Danielson Professor in Textiles and Clothing; College of Human Sciences Chief Strategist of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Dr. Guowen Song

Dr. Chunhui Xiang

Dr. Ling Zhang

Yvonne Lee

Jason Gagnon

Study Abroad Programs

The apparel, merchandising, and design program offers various international opportunities through the College of Human Sciences International Programs office including: 

London College of Fashion – Semester Program
Italy: Semester/Summer in Florence at Lorenzo de Medici Institute
Italy: Semester/Summer in Florence at Accademia Italiana

Careers and Internships

Graduates of the apparel, merchandising, and design programs are well-prepared for entrance in careers in technical and creative design, buying, visual merchandising, and sourcing careers. They are also able to pursue further education options in graduate programs.

Various internships are available within event management. Students research potential internships and employers in two classes, AESHM 111: Professional Development for AESHM and AESHM 311: Seminar on Careers and Internships.  Talk to your internship coordinator for more information.

Career services
Prepare for your next job or internship with Career Services, where staff will assist you with job and internship searches, career fairs, interview preparation, and resume/cover letter review.

Look at a list of career possibilities inside the event planning industry. See where other students have interned at Career Connections.

Get Involved

Academic policies

University academic policies and procedures can be found on the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost website.  Class specific policies can be found in their respective syllabi.

Looking to continue your education?

Graduate Programs