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Research Guide: SST 1503-Introduction to Fashion   Merchandising

Scope: This guide is a selected list of resources that will be useful for locating information on fashion design. These resources include print materials available in the Stewart Library, and electronic resources, some of which may be available only to WSU students, faculty, and staff.


Table of Contents



Top French Fashion Houses of Today

  • Pierre Balmain
    The beautiful dresses of the firm are designed by Erik Mortensen.
  • Louis Feraud
    Excels in colorful, artistsic, luxurious, women's attire.
  • Jean-Paul Gaultier
    Designs for the young market and does "single-sex" dressing that both men and women can wear.
  • Hubert de Givenchy
    Especially boig in the 1950's; glamorous evening wear, ladies' suits and dresses; perfection of cut and lasting quality.
  • Kenzo
    Of Japanese descent; colorful, casual, multilayer sillouettes.
  • Karl Lagerfeld
    Of German descent; creates many inventive, wearable designs in France, Italy, and the United States for his own collection and, especially, for the Chanel label.
  • Guy Laroche
    A master of understated, quality fashions for mature, elegant women; also menswear, accessories, and perfumes.
  • Claude Montana
    Strong on silhouette, color, and texture.
  • Hanae Mori
    Of Japanese descent; fashions with poetic colors and patterns; also accessories.
  • Thierry Mugler
    Often creates sexy, clingy dresses.
  • Sonia Rykiel
    The red-haired 'queen' of knits and sweater dressing.
  • Yves Saint Laurent
    Creates stylish, elegant, trend-setting designs; has been called 'the king of fashion'.
  • Emanual Ungaro
    Known for sensuously draped dresses; also loud prints and textures.
  • Valentino
    Italian who moved business from Rome to Paris; ladylike, sophisticated fashions for famous clientele.

Top American Fashion Designers and Firms

  • Adolfo
    Cuban born; started with dramatic hats; now tasteful, classic, feminine dresses and suits; some licensing but no RTW collection.
  • Geoffrey Beene
    A Coty Award winner; sophisticated elegance with unusual details since the 1940's.
  • Bill Blass
    Does stylish, wearable, elegant clothes; Coty Hall of Fame
  • Liz Claiborne
    Retired, bu firm continues with comfortable fashion-right clothes, especially for working women.
  • Oscar De La Renta
    Dominican of Spanish descent; creates romantic, colorful, glamorous fashions with ruffles and flourishes; Coty Hall of Fame
  • Louis Dell'Olio
    Designs the Ann Klein lines; clazssic sportswear and uncomplicated separates.
  • James Galanos
    Los Angeles based Coty Award winnder; luxurious quality garments.
  • David Hayes
    Less expensive classics for women in beautiful fabrics designed in California.
  • Caroline Herrera
    Elegant women's creations.
  • Norma Kamali
    Designs avant-garde fashions with unusual materials and ease of movement.
  • Donna Karen
    Formerly with Anne Klein, now has own firm; simple, sensual women's clothess that stretch and move well; Coty Hall of Fame.
  • Calvin Klein
    "All-American" sportswear designs wit sophisticated simplicity; status jeans; has many famous clients; Coty Hall of Fame.
  • Michael Kors
    Provocative, comfortable women's clothes.
  • Ralph Lauren
    Coty Hall of Fame; uses blazers with looks from "prairire rugged" to "English gentry" to romantic; home fashions and retail stores; Polo logo.
  • Michael Leva
    Young designer known for easy 'experimental' classics.
  • Bob Mackie
    Designs for Hollywood stars; lots of beaded work.
  • Mary McFadden
    Unusual, artistic, eccentric desins in decorative fabrics; luxurious evening clothes; Coty Hall of Fame.
  • Nolan Miller
    Hollywood glamour designer for stars in movies and TV shows.
  • Isaac Mizrahi
    Creates easy, fun, comfortable clothes in elegant, refined shapes.
  • Todd Oldham
    Whimsical young women's fashions.
  • Arnold Scaasi
    Glamourous gowns; Coty Award winner.
  • Adrienne Vittadini
    Patterned knits; several lines; licenses; boutiques.

Italian Fashion Names of Today

Other Fashion Names Around the World


History/Profile of Companies

Company profiles will give you a company description, company histories, competitors, and other general company information.

  • Hoover's Handbooks Reference Desk
  • International Directory of Company Histories Reference Table 6 HD2721.I63
  • Company Web Sites
    Useful for financial information, products, and services of the company. Try using the most common form of the internet address:
  • Hoover's Online
    A good place to start.  For more complete Hoovers profiles, consult Hoovers via Lexis-Nexis or the Hoovers Handbooks at the reference desk.
  • Use the Company Profiles tab in the Business Source Premier database for a report on that company that includes a company overview, key facts, business description, company history, key employees, major products and services, top competitors, company view, and locations and subsidiaries.




Use the databases to find information on your company, or articles on your designer.  This might be useful for finding current news, or information on their marketing approach or company culture.  A good strategy is to use the 'advanced' or 'guided' search options from the database menus.  Type in your company name in one search box, and keywords in the other search box.  If one keyword doesn't work, try other similar terms (marketing approach; market strategy/strategies; market penetration, market positioning, etc.).

  • WWD (Women's Wear Daily)
    This magazine can be access in full text from Business & Industry.  Coverage is from 1995 to 2003.  To access articles from this magazine ONLY, click on the Advanced Search button on the main search page. When th advanced search page comes up, type in "womens wear daily" (without the quotations marks) in the top search box, and select Source from the drop down menu to the right of that box.  In the next box, type in a keyword, and you'll find articles having to do with your keyword from that journal.
  • Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe
    Lexis provides extensive information on industries and corporations through full text access to newspapers, magazines, newsletters and financial reports. To access industry news, select 'Business', then 'Industry & Market' to access news from over 25 industries.

  • Business & Industry
    Coverage includes important facts, figures, and key events for international public and private companies, industries, products, and markets. Includes trade magazines, newsletters, and the general business press to international business dailies. Some full text. 1994-present. Updated daily.

  • Business Source Premier
    Coverage includes management, economics, finance, accounting, and international business topics. Selected full-text.  Use the Company Profiles tab in the database for a report on that company that includes a company overview, key facts, business description, company history, key employees, major products and services, top competitors, company view, and locations and subsidiaries. 

  • ABI/Inform
    Coverage includes advertising, business conditions, economics, finance, trends, corporate strategies, management techniques, marketing, taxation, and product information. Selected full-text. Early 80's-date.

  • Business Abstracts
    Coverage includes finance, investments, advertising, public relations, accounting, insurance, industries, labor, management, and economics. 1983 - present. No full text.

  • Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion
    Tracing the stylistic and functional threads that unite clothing across time and cultures -- as well as delving into the divergent styles and significance of apparel -- this A to Z encyclopedia is the essential resource for exploring the relationship between culture and couture.

Fashion Web Sites

(See also Designer Web sites, above.)


Fashion Reference Books

Reference books are authoritative sources on a particular topic.  These books are located in the reference area of the Stewart Library. 

  • Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion
    Tracing the stylistic and functional threads that unite clothing across time and cultures -- as well as delving into the divergent styles and significance of apparel -- this A to Z encyclopedia is the essential resource for exploring the relationship between culture and couture.
  • Costume & Fashion Reference GT 510.N6
  • A to Z of Women in World History Reference CT3202.K84 2002
    Includes a section on fashion designers and trendsetters.
  • 20th Century Fashion Series Includes the following titles:
    • 1900-20 linen & lace  Reference GT596.M44 2000
    • The 60's: mods & hippies  Reference GT596.P68 2000
    • The 40's & 50's: utility to new look  Reference GT596.R49 2000
    • The 70's:  punks, glam rockers, & new romantics  Reference GT596.G53 2000
    • The 80's & 90's: power dressing to sportswear  Reference GT596.L585 2000  
  • The Complete History of Costume and Fashion: From Egypt to the Present Day  Reference GT375.C67 2000
  • Four Hundred Years of Fashion Reference GT733.V532 1999
  • Fairchild's Dictionary of Fashion Reference TT503.C34 1998
  • The Fashion Book Reference TT503.F37 1998
  • Who's Who in Fashion Reference TT505.A1S74 1996
  • Contemporary Fashion Reference TT505.A1C66 1995
  • The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Costume and Fashion:  From 1066 to the Present Day Reference GT720.C37 1994
  • The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Costume and Fashion: From 1550-1920 Reference GT580.C38 1986
  • American Decades  Reference Table 2B E169.12.A419 1994
  • American Eras  Reference Table 2B  E169.1.A471979 1997
  • World Eras  Reference Table 2B  D20.W67 2001



Associations are potential sources of detailed information on companies and industries. Many have Web pages.

  • Encyclopedia of Associations Reference Desk
  • Encyclopedia of Associations (International Organizations) Reference Desk
  • Yearbook of International Organizations JX1904 .A42
  • National trade and professional associations of the United States, 1999 Reference HD2425.N37 1999
  • The Directory of Business Information Sources Reference HF54.52 .U5 D567 2000
    Includes associations, newsletters, magazines & journals, trade shows, directories & databases, and Web sites.
  • Associations on the Net (Internet Public Library)
    "A collection of over 2000 Internet sites providing information about a wide variety of professional and trade associations, cultural and art organizations, political parties and advocacy groups, labor unions, academic societies, and research institutions. Abstracts summarizing information about the association and its site are provided."

Jobs and Career Options

For information on training programs, benefits, and any other career information specific to that company, it is a good idea to contact HR at that company.  Many company representatives are willing to send you information.  For job openings, check the company homepage or local papers for listings.

  • Occupational Outlook Handbook
    Working conditions, job requirements, outlook and more for hundreds of occupations.
  • Also check company homepages for job openings in that company.

Research Tips for Company Research

A few questions to ask yourself before you begin:

  • What company are you researching?
    If you need help in selecting a company, try the Fortune 500 web site. This site lists the Fortune 500 companies in order of Fortune 500 rank and provides links to their homepages, a company snapshot, industry information, and other information pertaining to the company. Since these companies are large publicly held companies, it will be relatively easy to find information.
  • Is the company public or private?
    . Determine whether the company is publicly held, privately owned, or a subsidiary of a publicly held organization. Remember, information is more easily found for publicly held companies.
    b. Public Company stock can be bought on public stock exchanges. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires that public companies disclose financial information to the public. Therefore, there is a lot of financial data and disclosures about public company practices.
    c. Private Company stock is typically owned by the principles in the company (founders, family members key employees, etc.). Financial disclosures do not have to be made to the public. The best strategy is to search for a company web site, news sources or inquire directly to the company. See Private Company Resources for suggestions on how to research privately held companies.

Beware of 'hidden company names' when researching a company. If you cannot find any information on a public company after searching by company name, try potential variants of the company name or use the ticker symbol. Here are a few examples:

  • DuPont: The company's name is actually E I Du Pont de Nemours & Company. For companies with initials in their name, try searching both forms. Another example is E. W. Scripps.
  • IBM: is actually International Business Machines
  • AT&T: really IS AT&T (but used to be American Telephone and Telegraph Company)
  • The Gap: Some directories will list this company under the T's, while others will list it under G. If a company has a 'The' at the beginning of its name, try both.
  • Alcoa: Commonly known as 'Alcoa', it's proper legal name is Aluminum Company of America. Some directories list it under 'Alcoa', and some under its proper name.
  • Using punctuation: Some databases don't mind periods or commas- they simply ignore them. Others are more picky: if you don't include punctuation, you won't get results, OR including punctuation gives you no results. Again, if you're unsure, try both.


Sample Completed Projects

These are examples of exemplary projects completed for this course.


Preparing the Bibliography

Completely and accurately documenting sources used for research is an important part of the writing and research process. Documentation is important because:

  • It is used to give credit for information originally written elsewhere.
  • Documentation enables others to find the same information again.
  • Failure to give credit for drawing on the work of others constitutes plagiarism.

Select examples in APA style appear below. For any source, electronic or print, there isn't always a perfect example. If appropriate examples do not exist, consult the official style manual (e.g. APA, MLA, etc.) or an authoritative Web site and adapt the closest example found. It may be necessary to take parts of separate examples and make a "hybrid" citation. When in doubt, it is better to include more information than less. 

Book (with two authors):

Mitchell, T.R., & Larson, J.R., Jr. (1987). People in organizations: An introduction to organizational behavior (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Scholarly journal article:

White, E. C. (1992). Sound bite news. Journal of Communication , 42, 5-18.

Popular magazine article:

Hirsch, M., Brant, M., Lipper, T., & Hosenball, M. (2002, August 2). Hawks, doves, and dubya. Newsweek , 140, 24.

Journal article (found on the Internet):

Denning, W. M. (1997). Business curricula for the new university. Educom Review , 31. Retrieved May 23, 2001, from

Web site:

Canarie, Inc. (1997, September 27). Towards a Canadian health IWAY: Vision, opportunities and future steps. Retrieved November 8, 2000, from


Need Additional Help?

When searching for materials, try a variety of databases- ask a librarian for suggestions based on your topic.  Remember- different databases will have different coverage, and will look a little different.  One good strategy is to try to find one or two GOOD articles- once you've found them, look at the terms they use, and try another search using those terms.  For more detailed information on finding full text articles from business database, see 'finding full text articles online'.

GET STARTED EARLY!  If you can find it, we can get it, but you need to start your research early.  You might find some really great stuff that is not available in full text, or articles from journals that we don't have access to.  If this is the case, all you have to do is fill out the online article request form, and it will be sent to the WSU library for you to pick up.    These things might take a few days or a week.


If you STILL can't find exactly what you need, or have questions...

  • CALL the Reference desk at:  626-6514
  • CLICK on the Live assistance button for real time help during library hours.
  • Email us at
  • or COME IN! The Reference Desk is on the main floor, North.


Updated March 10, 2009 . Please send comments to Ed Hahn.
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