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The Textile Industry

Textiles and fashion apparel is a huge global industry and is a major component of the U.S. economy. Globally, textiles, apparel and apparel retailing totals $2 trillion annually. Sales of apparel and footwear contributed $350 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012, greater than that of new cars ($175 billion) and fast food ($75 billion). (Learn more at https://www.wewear.org/thefacts/)

Across the supply chain, the U.S. textile and apparel industry directly employs more than 4 million people, including sourcing managers, wholesalers, retailers, merchandisers, buyers, creative and technical designers, and marketing professionals. The United States is the fourth largest textile exporter in the world.

Here is a guide that you may find interesting and helpful:
Fashion Design for the Curious: Why Study Fashion Design? (A Decision-Making Guide to College Major, Research & Scholarships, and Future Career for Students and Parents))
(Our department chair Dr. Hannel and previous chair, Dr. Welters are both contributors!)

The Department

Our degrees cover every aspect of the textile and fashion industry supply chain, and prepare you for the wide range of careers that the industry has to offer. Study abroad and the completion of an internship is a typical part of the degree.  At the same time, the degrees provide the academic rigor appropriate to study at a four-year land grant institution. Courses in the program deal with textiles and fashion from the perspectives of business, art and design, science, sociology/anthropology and history.

Our graduates start their careers in positions such as assistant designers, fashion merchandisers, production coordinators, retail managers, allocation analysts, assistant buyers, and quality control specialists.

Our Mission Statement

The mission of the Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design (TMD) Department in the College of Business Administration at the University of Rhode Island is to create and extend knowledge about the production, distribution, and consumption of textile, apparel, and related products both in Rhode Island and the northeastern United States, and beyond to the global community.

Undergraduate and master’s level graduate students prepare for careers as professionals in business, industry, education, government and cultural institutions. The Department’s efforts are aligned with the broad textile and apparel complex:

(1) Specialized textile manufacturing, particularly quality control, dyeing and finishing.

(2) Production and marketing/merchandising of textile, apparel, and interior furnishings products.

(3) Design of apparel and interiors.(4) the interpretation and conservation of historic textiles and costume.

(4) The interpretation and conservation of historic textiles and costume.

The mission is achieved by offering a curriculum that includes general education and opportunities for experiential learning, including internships and study abroad, to complement the major courses.  The mission depends on a faculty current in their sub-disciplines and active in research. To augment both research and instruction, TMD maintains a textile gallery, a historic textile and costume collection, and laboratories for textile science, textile conservation, and apparel studies. (Revised 6/26/2017)


The TMD Department at URI is proud to be endorsed by the AAFA

Quick Facts

  • Undergraduate Students: 330
  • Graduate Students: 15-20
  • Full-Time Faculty: 8
  • Adjunct Faculty: 7

Degrees Offered

Undergraduate Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Textile Marketing
  • Bachelor of Science in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design
  • Minor in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design

Graduate Programs

  • Master of Science in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design

Certificate Programs

  • Certificate in Fashion Merchandising
  • Master Seamstress Certificate Program (Providence Campus)

Outreach Services

  • Textile Testing and Conservation Services
  • Training Seminars

Collections and Exhibits

  • Historic Textile and Costume Collection
  • Textile Gallery
  • Commercial Pattern Archive
  • Bainbridge Lace Collection

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