Want to be a Trendsetter? Design Fashion

Fashion design is an exciting field at the intersection of art, design and technical prowess. Not only should successful designers be skilled tailors, but they should also have a good sense for beauty, practicality, comfort and all of the elements that make for trendy fashion. Black fashion designers have come into their own in recent years and turned heads with inspired looks like those for Beyoncé’s “Black is King” film to Michelle Obama’s plum pant suit from Sergio Hudson worn during President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

On the other hand, designers need to know how to sell their products and immerse themselves in the business realm of fashion and clothing. As such, success in this major requires a plethora of skills balanced with a keen eye and thoughtful understanding, but promises a robust education and promising career in the world of fashion.

Model standing with mannequin

Design by Stephanie Moore, CAU student

Careers in Fashion Design and Merchandising

  • Fashion Designer: Designers are at the creative forefront of the industry, designing and defining the fashion trends of the day. Designers use their knowledge to create clothes, shoes and accessories for sale. Note that this is a highly competitive career, though well paid at a median income of $75,810 per year.
  • Purchasing Manager: These professionals work on behalf of fashion design firms, ensuring that the firm has the materials necessary to succeed. With training in fashion design and merchandising, purchasing managers can make valuable decisions about what materials are most valuable to the firm.
  • Retail Buyer: Located further down the fashion supply chain, retail buyers procure fashion items for retail stores. Where the items are procured depends on the store, but buyers must be able to network with suppliers and find the best deal for their store.

Want to learn more about this possible career path and college major?
Have questions about which UNCF colleges and universities offer degrees in fashion design and merchandising?
Looking for help with financing this degree? 

Click Here so We can Help You!


How to Prepare for Success

Successful majors of fashion design and merchandising should have knowledge of tailoring, aesthetics and business.

UNCF Schools to Consider

One UNCF-member school offers a program for students wishing to work in the field of fashion design and merchandising:


Global Fashion Business Alliance logoProfessional Organizations

There are thousands of organizations in various enterprises of fashion design and merchandising that offer more insight into working in those fields. A sample list includes:



Several scholarships are available through UNCF. The Target Scholars Program offers incoming freshmen interested in studying design and who are attending select HBCUs $5,000 a year to attend college. The UNCF General Scholarship Awards are an excellent opportunity for any student going to a UNCF-member college, regardless of their major. The UNCF/Koch Scholars Program offers scholarships, mentorship, academic support and networking opportunities to undergraduate African American students. The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program awards a $10,000 scholarship to one exceptional HBCU senior each year who has demonstrated high academic achievement, strong leadership skills, commitment to community service and unmet financial need.

There are also regional scholarships available to students who live or learn in specific geographic areas. One such scholarship is the AFLAC Foundation Scholarship, awarding $1,000 – $3,000 to students in the Columbus, GA area.

Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are other scholarships available to study fashion design and merchandising.

Reach out for guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in fashion design and merchandising. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!