Apparel, Merchandising, and Design

ISU is the place to be for textiles and clothing. Our students, faculty, and staff are on the cutting edge of education in this industry. Here are some of reasons hundreds of students choose the ISU Apparel, Merchandising, and Design program:

  • Getting opportunities to model in, design for, or produce the annual Fashion Show — one of the largest student-produced fashion shows in the nation.

  • Learning in state-of-the-art facilities, such as a textiles conservation laboratory, detailed historical garment collection, apparel production center, and clothing museum expose you to new equipment and complex processes.

  • Using high-tech equipment like the 3-D body scanner, industrial-sized digital printer, and new design software. Hands-on experience with this equipment is hard to find at other schools and gives you an edge for internships, jobs, and graduate school.

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



As an Apparel, Merchandising, and Design student, you will build a comprehensive base of knowledge about the textiles and apparel industry, including merchandising and marketing strategies, product development, and production processes. You’ll further define your career path by choosing from either the design or merchandising programs.


The design program focuses on the jobs and skills necessary to bring an apparel product to life. Within the design program, you will choose one of four concentration areas:

Creative design

If you like to sketch out your ideas, doodle new designs, and envision a garment before it’s made, the creative design option may be for you. A background in textiles, patternmaking, illustration, and aesthetics will give you the skills to create new looks and designs.

Technical design

In the technical design option, you’ll build an understanding of industry assembly methods and quality assurance standards, such as differences in fabric coloration, performance, cost, and quality. Your skills will increase the quality in apparel products and the methods in which they’re made.

Product development

Students in the product development option work to meet both the needs of consumers and designers. You’ll learn about trends and business demands and have the knowledge to plan, create, and present apparel products to fill niches within the market.

Production and sourcing management

If buttons come from Russia, and fabric comes from Indonesia, what does that mean for a consumer in the United States? Students studying production and sourcing management explore the latest technology and methods used to assemble garments in mass quantities from around the world. You’ll learn the fundamentals of production, including sourcing materials, timing deliveries, and managing cost.


If the role marketing plays in the apparel industry interests you, then the merchandising program may be right for you. Students in this option applying marketing strategies and entrepreneurial practices when buying, displaying, promoting, and selling products.

Curriculum requirements

4-year plans

Course catalog

Course syllabi

For current and recent class syllabus examples go to the Class Websites page for Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management.


Course catalog

The minor Apparel, Merchandising, and Design can be earned by taking (16 -17 credits):

  • TC131, Overview of the Fashion Industry or TC165, Dress and Diversity in Society (3 credits)
  • TC204, Textile Science (4 credits)
  • TC231, Product Development and Manufacturing,  or TC 245, Aesthetics and Brand Image , or AESHM 275, Merchandising (3-4 credits)
  • 6 credits of the 300-400 level at Iowa State



Transfer plans

Learning communities

Incoming Apparel, Merchandising, and Design students can participate in the following learning communities:

Common Threads

Adult Non-traditional Students (ANTS)

Related majors and minors

International programs

Apparel, Merchandising, and Design study abroad programs

The Apparel, Merchandising, and Design program offers:

  • Two field study courses for international field experiences
  • Semester-long study abroad agreements with colleges and universities in England, France, Ireland
  • Summer international internships


Dr. Ann Marie Fiore
1062 LeBaron Hall

Semester-long study abroad programs

College of Human Sciences International Programs


Eligible AESHM students can participate in an honors program that is administered by both Iowa State University and the College of Human Sciences.


Faculty and Staff

Graduate degrees

The Apparel, Merchandising, and Design Program offers the Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Science degrees, and Master of Science non-thesis degrees, as well as minor work for students with majors in other departments.

Program emphases for graduate study and research in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design include:

  • Consumer behavior
  • Design — creative, technical, and functional
  • History and conservation
  • Merchandising, management, and entrepreneurship


  • Student Internships Across the Globe

    More than 100 Iowa State University apparel, merchandising, and design students are interning with businesses across the country and world this summer. Each intern gets on-the-job experience with well-known fashion designers and companies while springboarding their careers.


    Slideshow >>

  • Student Internship Video

    Anna Harmon, recipient of the Steamboat Foundation Scholarship, talks about her challenging internship at Vineyard Vines. Video >>

  • Did You Know?

    Todd Snyder, 1992 graduate with a bachelor's degree in apparel design, made a name for himself by reinventing J.Crew menswear. Now with his own label, Snyder is listed among the "Best New Menswear Designers" by GQ magazine!

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