Fashion Design Management




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Who should attend

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Designers seeking a business background
  • Anyone hoping to build or grow a career in the fashion industry

About the course

Have you ever seen a stunning piece of clothing in a store window or on a runway that took your breath away? Have you ever wanted to be a part of making trendsetting fashion products? Fashion is ready for innovation; the time has never been better for newcomers to disrupt the market as fashion brands seek out inventive new ways to sell products, promote diversity, and emphasize sustainability practices.

Whether your goal is to be a designer, trend forecaster, merchandiser, buyer, or production manager, this certificate program provides an overview of the fashion industry that combines consumer and industry knowledge with business and economics.

The courses in the program cover four major areas of fashion design management: trend forecasting, product line development, production planning, and distribution and marketing. After examining current trends, you will have the opportunity to conceptually design your own six-product fashion line that considers style, silhouette, color, and fabric choices. From there, you will explore the world of production planning and how factories are chosen to manufacture items for fashion brands. Finally, you’ll create a marketing and distribution plan to determine how to best bring your fashion line to market.

Once you’ve completed the program, you’ll have gained a strong foundation in how the business of fashion operates that can help you launch or grow your career in the industry.


Fashion Trends and Forecasting

What does it mean for something to be "on trend"? In fashion, trends guide everything from design to consumer behavior, evolving and changing over years and even decades. Trend forecasting is how industry experts predict what new trends will become popular with consumers and how existing trends will evolve over time. A knowledge of trend forecasting is necessary for staying relevant in fashion, whether you are working for an established fashion house or starting your own line. This course will guide you through the trend forecasting process so you can create a relevant trend forecast, be it for your own fashion brand, a large industry brand, or a trend forecasting service.

You will research current fashion trends using primary and secondary sources to determine what trends will be prominent with consumers. This research will be used to choose a trend for your trend forecast report. You will then gather the data from your research and, using the GRAB method, interpret your findings around a target market of your choice. Once your data is collected and synthesized, you will use your findings to complete your trend forecast report.

Fashion Line Product Development

When you think about fashion, you often imagine a fashion line displayed at a store or coming down a runway. The development of the fashion line is a process that begins long before clothing is constructed and placed on a model. Product line development involves a significant amount of planning on the part of the designer as well as the other fashion professionals involved in the process.

In this course, you will develop a fashion product line, either for your own brand or for a brand of your choice. You'll start by identifying the target market, brand, and product type toward which you will design. Once you establish this foundation, you will develop the concept for your line and get feedback from your peers. You will use this feedback to conceptually design a six-piece fashion product line and an accompanying line sheet.

Production Planning

The quality of your product is integral to managing a successful fashion brand. When fashion garments are created in a factory setting for a brand, every element of the garment's production cycle must be planned. Forward thinking in garment production ensures that every piece is completed to your specifications in a timely manner and that the manufacturing facilities you choose will be the best fit for your product line.

In this course, you will explore the process of production planning used to create a fashion product line. You will begin by creating a bill of materials that can be used to communicate the fabric needs of each product in manufacturing. You will then consider how stitching, construction, and fit are used by manufacturers to create a garment that will appropriately fit your consumer. You'll conclude the course by examining how factories and manufacturers operate and filling out a time and action calendar that you can use to plan the manufacturing timeline of your product line.

Distribution and Marketing

Fashion is made to be worn, and consumers must have access to it in order to make that happen. Successful fashion product lines are not just well designed; they also meet sales goals, whether those goals are set by a larger fashion brand or by an independent designer. Distribution and marketing are the methods that fashion brands use to get product lines into stores and into the hands of consumers. Every element, from your sales plan and retail pricing scheme to your selected distribution channels, can be used to help reach your target customer.

In this course, you will begin by setting a sales goal and creating a sales plan using resources such as the apparel retail calendar and assortment planning. After you create your sales plan, you will examine how fashion brands set a retail cost for their products and establish a retail cost for key products. You will then design a marketing strategy using distribution and promotion methods to ensure that your products are accessible and appealing to your target consumers. By using this process, you can create an appropriate targeted marketing and distribution strategy for any fashion retail space and product assortment.

Key course takeaways

  • Produce a cohesive trend forecast report that can inform fashion product lines
  • Conceptually design a six-product fashion line using a line creation toolkit and additional resources provided on color and fabric selection
  • Explore fashion production from fit and stitching to selecting a factory
  • Create a distribution and marketing plan for bringing a fashion pop-up shop to market


Mikaila Brown

Mikaila Brown is a fashion anthropologist, who has a doctorate in Anthropology and Education from Columbia University. After working for designers like Oscar de la Renta, Pamela Roland and Betsey Johnson, she ran a socially conscious fashion line for 4 years. This has evolved into The Common Thre...

Tasha Lewis

Tasha Lewis, PhD., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design and teaches in the area of fashion design management. Her research interests include the disruptive impact of technology in the apparel industry, the behavior of fashion brands, global and domesti...

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Fashion Design Management at eCornell

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