[Introduction] With the continuous improvement of purchasing power, people's demand for brands and luxury goods continues to grow. Many students who are passionate about fashion have become interested in the profession of fashion management. So which schools offer this major in Canada? What professional skills can they learn? What are the employment prospects and salaries? How do netizens and UtoCanada view this profession? Let’s take a look!

Introduction to the Fashion Management Program in Canada

Fashion management is a wide-ranging profession. The brand planning, strategy formulation, fashion trend control, fashion photography, and advertising planning related to the fashion industry can be categorized into the profession of fashion management.

The fashion industry is one of Toronto's pillar industries in its economy. According to statistics, more than 4,600 fashion retail stores in the Greater Toronto Area have annual sales of up to 2.6 billion Canadian dollars. There are many different options for the career of a professional working in the fashion industry. Fashion management is based on exploring the needs of potential customers and grasping trends; the management of the supply chain, production lines; public relations activities planning and marketing; the formulation of sales strategies and other links; and promoting products and enterprises to obtain widespread social recognition.

As the world's famous fashion brands continue to expand into the Chinese market, the fashion industry needs a large number of professionals with popular fashion ideas and fashion sense. Meanwhile, Chinese apparel brands want to enter the international market, so their demand for buyers and merchandisers with knowledge of international fashion trends and market sales is equally as high. From this, it is clear to see the bright future of education in fashion management.

Unlike the fashion design major, fashion management is more commercialized. Students applying for this major usually do not need to prepare a portfolio.

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What knowledge and skills can students learn in the Canadian fashion management major?

According to different majors, the direction of learning varies. This major in Canada aims to provide students with professional skills and knowledge. At the same time, students will participate in industry field visits and overseas exchange programs to prepare them for the fashion management industry. The fashion schools providing this major also offer a diverse hands-on learning environment, including many extracurricular activities for students.

Fashion management students will learn the basic theories of marketing, store planning and sales, brand management, cosmetics marketing, event planning and retail purchase. It will also provide in-depth knowledge of fashion trend forecasting, sales techniques and color modeling analysis, as well as the basic skills of product promotion. It is worth mentioning that Canadian colleges regularly review professional curriculum settings and adjust curriculums to increase capital investment and to ensure that the major is always at the forefront of industry developments.

The curriculum of Canadian colleges usually combines the theoretical concepts in the classroom with internship experience for students, so that they can be exposed to all aspects of the operation of fashion brands. Students can also conduct extensive field visits in fashion capitals such as New York, Milan, Paris, etc. during the exchange study periods to gain entrepreneurial skills and practical work experience.

Throughout the course, students mainly develop the following skills for their career:

  • Fashion buying skills and product category management
  • Product development
  • Social media and digital commerce
  • Communication skills

Employment prospects of Canadian fashion management graduates

According to data from the city of Toronto, nearly 50,000 people work in the fashion industry. Over the past five years, the fashion design, wholesale and retail industries have grown rapidly, increasing 10,000 fashion-related jobs. There are 4,600 fashion retail companies in Toronto with annual sales of $2.6 billion. Last year sales increased by 6.4%. Over the past five years, employment in wholesale and retail has increased by 34.5%.

Graduates can find work in companies that develop, manufacture, market, import, wholesale, distribute or retail fashion and accessories. Employment areas include apparel suppliers, wholesale distribution companies, fashion retail companies, importers and logistics companies, marketing departments of major retail businesses, and e-commerce online businesses. Nowadays, many students who study fashion management have gotten jobs as fashion buyers, which is also a popular occupation in the fashion industry. Fashion buyers purchase fashion goods for various large shopping malls and brands. Professionals, because of the special nature of their work, have a pivotal position in the fashion industry.

Graduates can choose positions such as product development manager, brand manager, retail manager, event manager, retail buyer, fashion manager responsible for purchasing, logistics coordinator, inventory manager, promotion manager or planner, as well as event planner, store planner, photo stylist, brand development and management, social media expert, marketing coordinator, digital entrepreneur, fashion blogger, etc.

》Job description of a fashion buyer

According to the PayScale description,

Fashion buyers are the bridge between designers and consumers. They travel from all over the world, find the latest fashion information, learn fashion trends, pursue fashionable styles and deal with large orders. They organize goods to enter the market to meet the demands of consumers.

The main duties of fashion buyers are to:

  • Understand fashion trends through various channels and predict future fashion trends
  • Communicate and negotiate with suppliers and participate in brand launches
  • Provide branding plans to design department with new season design directions and commodity demands
  • Work with sales department and finance department to formulate purchasing budgets
  • Improve brand competitiveness
  • Track and analyze sales data
  • Purchase commodity samples

It should be noted that this profession requires students to have the following qualities:

  1. Passion about fashion
  2. Strong analysis ability, and ability to make judgment on market demands
  3. Ability to follow strict work principles and professional ethics
  4. Good physical strength and adaptability to cope with frequent business trips
  5. Strong interpersonal skills, good coordination, communication and negotiation skills

》Salary of graduates of fashion management majors: The decisive factors

According to PayScale statistics, in Canada, the average annual salary of a fashion buyer is $58,000 CAD, with the lower-end annual salary at $28,940, and the higher end at $90,000.

The best schools in Canada for fashion management

Humber College

Humber College is one of the largest public colleges in Canada. It was founded in 1967 and islocated in the west of Toronto, Ontario. Its excellent academic atmosphere has given Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning a good reputation in Ontario. Humber offers a four-year Bachelor of Commerce - Fashion Management program designed for students interested in the business of fashion, and offers a management program tailored specifically for the industry. Students will gain practical skills through applied projects, during which they will experience the development of processes and products from the idea stage to execution. The college also offers full-semester and summer study abroad courses. Students have the opportunity to study in Scotland, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

George Brown College

George Brown College offers a two-year college diploma programand is the only academic program in Canada that is accredited by the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA). Its fashion management students will learn the basic theories of marketing, store planning and sales, brand management, cosmetics marketing, event planning and retail purchase. It also teaches students in-depth knowledge of fashion trend forecasting, sales techniques and color modeling analysis, as well as the basic skills of fashion product promotion. The college regularly reviews the major’s curriculum and makes adjustments to increase capital investment and ensure that their program is always at the forefront of industry development.

Seneca College Seneca College

Seneca College is a comprehensive higher education institution that cultivates practical skill-based talents and has earned a high reputation in the Canadian education community. At the same time, it is also one of the first batch of Canadian colleges and universities approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education. The college offers a three-year advanced college diploma course, collaborating with several official industry associations such as the Ontario Garment Association, and students are given the opportunity to participate in internships and learn about the fashion industry. Students will also have the opportunity to complete the fourth semester at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen, Scotland. The overseas study agreement with Seneca and RGU will allow students to study abroad for a semester without additional tuition fees. Upon completion, students will receive full credits for the three-year Ontario College Advanced Diploma in Fashion Business Management.

Centennial College Centennial College

Centennial College’s two-year college diploma program is designed to help students become leaders in the fashion industry. This business course is unique to the fashion industry and covers topics including design and manufacturing processes; the evolution of fashion and design and its relationship with designers, producers and retailers; sustainable and innovative practices; current design trends and technologies; marketing and retail, promotional strategies based on contemporary consumer psychology concepts; creative concepts for fashion products and services; foundations for business management; financial practices used in the fashion industry; and stylish computer applications such as Adobe Creative Suite. Students interact in small class environments, learning from experienced, knowledgeable instructors in the industry. The field trip in the final semester will provide them with practical experience and valuable exchange opportunities.

Fanshawe College

Fanshawe College is located in London, Ontario in Canada. It provides a two-year college diploma program. As a vibrant and growing industry center, London is home to many international hotel brands and many local and international sports events. The college aims to deepen students' understanding of retail management, brand development, purchase, textile technology, photo styling, event production and fashion technology. Students also have multiple opportunities to communicate with professionals in the fashion and retail industries. In addition, they can choose to travel to and from fashion capitals such as Paris, Milan and New York City. After graduation, the combination of valuable experience and practical training will enable students to achieve career development in online/brand management, purchasing, sales, inventory, merchandising, visual display, marketing, social media or other industries. The college has a fashion retail store, “Live Chic” on the London campus, allowing students a chance work while experimenting and applying what they have learned. Click here for updates.

Summary: UtoCanada’s views on the fashion management major

The employment direction of the fashion management profession is very wide-ranging. Professionals can operate their own brands, become clothing brand agents, product managers, marketing managers, brand managers, store managers, retail managers, and fashion buyers in the fashion industry. At present, major brands are competing to start subsidiaries in China, and local brands are growing rapidly. Therefore, professional fashion management talents with international backgrounds and familiar with local markets have been highly sought after.

Canadian colleges provide students with a large number of internships and field visits. As a fashion management student, in addition to having a keen sense of fashion, they must also have certain management skills, because in addition to understanding the company's operations, they also need to consider purchasing costs, scheduled sales, and the collection and analysis of consumer information. It is necessary to communicate and collaborate with multiple parties to achieve the ultimate goal. Fashion management majors not only include courses covering trends and design research, but also management in the fashion industry. So, if you think you have the qualifications mentioned above, then this major is for you.