CWU News

CWU to Launch Only Fashion Marketing Specialization in the State

An Apparel, Textiles and Marketing student works on a project.

The Apparel, Textiles, and Merchandising (ATM) department at Central Washington University will launch a new Fashion Marketing specialization this fall, hoping to take advantage of the growing demand across the region.

As the only program of its kind in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, the new specialization is designed to educate future leaders in the fashion marketing industry by providing them with knowledge and skills they will need to start their careers — and make an immediate impact.  

“Marketing is a huge field, but fashion marketing requires a very specific skill set,” said CWU Professor and ATM Department Director Andrea Eklund, who has wanted to add the specialization for about five years. “It’s a huge industry, especially in Seattle. There’s a lot of opportunity for students looking for employment in the Northwest.”

The creation of the specialization comes during a time of growth for the Washington fashion industry. The region has become a center of the fashion industry in the U.S., ranking fourth in corporate headquarters and manufacturing and serving as a shipping and communications hub for the global industry.

During the process of creating the specialization, Eklund and her colleague studied industry job listings throughout the nation to identify the most common skill requirements. They also sent a survey to members of the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) and professionals throughout the industry to determine which core proficiencies employers look for in prospective hires.

More than 150 industry professionals with at least three years of industry experience responded, giving the CWU team very clear goals when designing the curriculum. With approved credits in five different programs, the Fashion Marketing specialization is expected to help fill the industry demand for well-rounded, diversely trained professionals.

Most importantly, developing fashion marketing skills as part of their training will give ATM students a decided edge in the job market. That’s always been Eklund’s goal for her department, and she is passionate about helping her students graduate with the tools they need for the professional world.

“The goal for our program is for our students to graduate with a portfolio of professional-level work,” Eklund said. “It’s a very unique program that is intensely hands-on.”

Media contact: Rune Torgersen, Department of Public Affairs,