University of Rhode Island  
Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design

TMD 402J - Current Issues in Retailing

Today's fashion scene is  highly competitive. Analysts say this sector of the economy is fraught with problems. First, the rampant consumerism of the nineties has resulted in overcrowding. Simply, there are too many stores competing for the consumer's dollar. As a result, many retailers who sell fashion goods are overextended. Second, fashion today lacks a clear direction that would compel consumers to go out and shop for new clothes. The major specialty store chains offer bland merchandise that does not inspire consumers to open their wallets. Michelle Lee, author of Fashion Victim, calls this phenomenon "McFashion." Third, apparel and other manufactured goods like cars and electronics are actually going down in price because of reduced manufacturing costs and oversupply. Lackluster retail sales reports spur talk of deflation.

The seminar will explore these and other challenges facing the fashion retail field today. Guest speakers will discuss the  problems from their perspectives as experienced observers of the retail scene, industry consultants, senior personnel at the nation's leading retailers, authors of books on retailing and fashion, small store owners and more. Student speakers will research specific topics not covered by the invited speakers, thereby extending our knowledge. The seminar is an advanced class designed to bring together subject matter from the entire TMD curriculum.

Navy turtleneck sweater with leather accent belts and "mud-splattered" wool pants.

1 cr. students attend guest lectures and student presentations, and write a one-page summary.

Annick Gouin, TMD major 

2 cr. students perform all requirements for 1 cr. plus research a specific topic for presentation to the class.


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