Updated for the 2024 Admissions Cycle

How do you transform an idea into a successful fashion brand, and how do you define “success”? Fashion Design Management merges creativity, business savvy, and ethics to realize the potential of fashion products and ensure they reach the right consumers.

In the College of Human Ecology, students approach all areas of study by centering the health and well-being of people and communities. In Fashion Design Management, this means thinking about the needs and desires of consumers as well as the impact of fashion products, production, and promotion on the environment, garment workers, and society more generally. How do you learn about your consumer (i.e., “target market”) and then align your branding, communications, product lines, manufacturing, marketing, and retailing with their preferences?

The Fashion Design Management Case Study will provide an opportunity for you to answer some of these questions and showcase your creativity, analytic skills, and understanding of fashion design management. The written statements, though separate from the Case Study, will also offer a space to share your experience, background, and perspective on fashion design management.

The Fashion Design Management Case Study is required of all first-year and transfer applicants interested in this option of the Fashion Design Management option of the Fashion Design & Management major*. This submission will be considered along with your required application materials (Common Application, transcripts, etc). Fashion Design Management applicants who do not submit the Case Study will not be considered. 

*Applicants interested in the Fashion Design option must follow separate fashion design portfolio guidelines.

Submitting your Fashion Design Management Case Study 
All Fashion Design Management Case Study components must be submitted via SlideRoom. Mailed materials will not be accepted, reviewed, or returned.

Your Fashion Design Management Case Study must be submitted to SlideRoom by the application deadline that corresponds with your application status. Late submissions will not be considered.

Fashion Design Management Case Study Components
The Fashion Design Management Case Study consists of the following (2) required components and (1) optional component (see below). Applicants must complete and submit the (2) required components.

  1. Required — Written Statements
  2. Required — Case Study
  3. Optional — Your own creative work

All work must be original and produced by the applicant, WITH NO ASSISTANCE FROM CONSULTANTS, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, ETC. Any images or graphics that are not the work of the applicant must be properly cited (for example, a mood board of collaged images from a magazine must include attributions to the source). Submissions found to have significant similarity to work posted on the internet or from other sources will not be accepted.

Fashion Design Management Case Study Instructions (2024)

Tell us more about yourself and your interest in Fashion Design Management by responding to each question/prompt below. Submit (1 – 2) pages with your responses to SlideRoom.

  • Students in the College of Human Ecology approach the study of human health and well-being by considering many different scholarly perspectives, including human development, nutrition, psychology, history, economics, design, and the social and material sciences, among others. What interests you about studying Fashion Design Management in this kind of interdisciplinary educational context? (Maximum: 150 words)
  • Please describe any fashion and/or business related experiences (including jobs, courses, internships, and volunteer work) in which you have participated. Share more about the creative, as well as the business, financial, and management aspects of these positions. (Maximum: 100 words)
  • What do you believe is the greatest challenge facing the fashion industry today? What solutions would you recommend from the perspective of fashion design management? (Maximum: 150 words)
  • Of all the places, people, and media platforms where fashion is seen, which has most informed and influenced you and why? (Maximum: 100 words)

The Fashion Design Management Case Study allows you to present your perspective on the business side of fashion and the management of design.

Prompt: Create a new fashion brand or expand/revamp an existing brand for an underserved or niche consumer. Develop a cohesive presentation of your work that you would pitch to an investor (in the case of a new fashion brand) or to upper-level management (in the case of an existing brand). Respond to each portion of the Case Study as outlined below.

  1. Brand identity and target market. Develop a brand identity and describe the target customer for your brand. Indicate what research and resources you used to select and understand this consumer group. Describe how your proposed brand would meet the needs and preferences of this customer. Develop a brand identity that clearly and cohesively communicates the mission, values, and personality of your brand through both visuals and written word. Submit (1 – 2) page to SlideRoom.
  2. Product line. Create or curate three looks that would be worn by the target customer and indicate the product category or categories that are part of the brand. For example, a brand might specialize in footwear, accessories, or a particular category of apparel, like swimwear, sleepwear, activewear, etc., whereas other brands might manufacture across a range of different product categories.  To illustrate the consumer looks, you may provide original sketches, take photos of models you have styled, or use existing images from other sources, such as catalogs, magazines, or the internet. Be sure to identify your original work and accurately credit the work that you sourced. For each look, indicate how it exemplifies your brand identity. Submit (1) page per look (maximum 3 pages) to SlideRoom.
  3. Brand promotion. Consider how you would advertise this new brand to your target customers. Explain why your promotional strategy will effectively reach your customers and what will make you stand out from other competing fashion brands. Think outside the box for a unique approach. You could provide a sample advertisement, social media post, or promotional video. Submit (1 – 2) pages to SlideRoom.
  4. Production, distribution, and retailing. Share production and/or sourcing choices you might make for the product line(s).  Identify and describe the distribution channel(s) the brand will use to reach consumers. Provide a general overview of the anticipated financial, environmental, and social considerations affecting your choices. Submit (1 – 2) pages to SlideRoom.

Submit up to three (3) additional images of your original creative work for consideration. Submissions can include photos, videos, and blog posts, as well as garments or accessories you have made.

Submit optional creative work (maximum of 3 pages) to SlideRoom.

  • Think about the mission of the College of Human Ecology — Improving lives by exploring and shaping connections to the natural, social, and built environment — and consider developing a brand that articulates with this commitment to health and well-being in some way.      
  • To start your research, you may want to create a list of potential brands you think would be interesting for this challenge. Visit their websites and look for “Company Information” or “About Us” information to learn more about their background and customer. 
  • Explore the media platforms you use to learn about fashion and think about consumers who may be underrepresented in these spaces. How will you address both the needs and the desires of an overlooked consumer group?
  • Consider identifying a target consumer who is different from you in some way and use the Case Study as an opportunity to research and learn about the needs of this consumer group. You may conduct research in the library, talk with people who identify in this consumer category, search for research reports, read journal articles, and find magazines or social media accounts targeted to this group, among many other research approaches.
  • Visit a store in your area to look more closely at the merchandise and to talk to store employees.
  • Be sure that if you use images, media, or styling looks with garments you did not create, that you indicate the sources owned/created by others.

Frequently Asked Questions

The fashion industry and fashion design management bridge creative and business components. The Case Study is intended to give prospective Fashion Design Management students a platform to highlight their business acumen, creativity, and consideration of social and cultural contexts. We are interested in understanding how you perceive fashion around you and the innovations, improvements, and interventions you might bring to the industry.

By creating a brand and detailing the products, consumers, branding, promotion, production, and distribution, your Case Study will show us a bit more about your perspective on fashion and your hopes for the future of the industry.

To start your research, you may create a list of potential retailers you think would be interesting for this challenge. Visit their websites and look for “Company Information” or “About Us” information to learn more about their background and customer. You can also see if there is a store in your area and take a visit to look more closely at the merchandise and talk to store employees.

Resources for images can come from print catalogs, fair use image databases, or you may take your own photographs. Be sure to appropriately credit images and photos if you use those owned by someone else.

The written statement portion of the Case Study allows you to describe your work experience. If you have visuals (images or designs) that resulted from your work experience, you can add this as your “Optional Creative Work” in SlideRoom.

Email us if you have additional questions about the design supplement.