Fashion is one of the most illustrious industries known to humankind. A perfect amalgamation of beauty, glamour and creativity, the fashion industry has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception. According to Fashion United, this makes up 2% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is worth 3 trillion dollars!
Fashion comprises a series of smaller sections that make up for the vast industry. One of the important aspects of this industry is fashion buying and this blog focuses on the pathway to becoming a fashion buyer.
What does a fashion buyer do?
Fashion buyers are professionals who are responsible for picking out apparel and accessories that will be put up for sale in a retail store. They are also known as retail buyers or purchasing managers. While the job role of a fashion buyer seems to be quite easy, venturing deeper into it shows that they have, in fact, an elaborate set of responsibilities. Let’s find out what the role of a fashion buyer entails in detail:
- The primary job role of a retail buyer is to carefully select and order the apparel that is sold in stores;
- They hold the vital responsibility of ensuring that an appropriate image of the store is projected to customers;
- They are required to communicate with vendors, suppliers and fashion designers to ensure that the purchasing transaction is smooth;
- They take into consideration the store’s budget, quality of products and pricing before selecting the apparel for retail stores;
- They analyse and predict fashion trends and changes;
- Purchasing managers keep themselves updated with competitors’ activities and strategies;
- They use customer feedback to introduce new product lines and improve the old ones.
How to become a fashion buyer
Fashion buying, as a profession, does not necessarily need you to have a specific degree. However, with the rapid growth of fashion industry, it has become extremely competitive. In order to increase your chances at a job, it is better to have a relevant degree that will give you an edge over other applicants. So what exactly do you need to become a fashion buyer? Let’s find out:
- Educational requirements: a graduate or postgraduate degree in business, fashion or any other retail-related subject.
- Skills: the job role of a purchasing manager requires you to make quick decisions and apparel selection that is beneficial to the retail store. Hence, it is essential that you possess sound decision-making skills.
- Analytical skills: A major part of a fashion buyer’s job is to analyse fashion trends and make predictions based on that.
- Communication skills: communications skills are imperative in every profession, as it gives way to smooth functioning of operations. Similarly, a retail buyer must have impeccable communications skills as interacting with vendors and fashion designers is a vital component of their job.
- Presentation skills: as a purchasing manager, you will be required to present your ideas and vision behind product lines before going ahead with them. This could be for your company’s stakeholders or fashion designers.
- Numeracy skills: while analysing fashion trends and subsequently creating reports based on them, you will need to rely on numeracy skills. Therefore, having good numeracy skills always plays to the advantage of a retail buyer.
The career path
- Associate or bachelor’s degree in marketing, fashion merchandising or any other relevant field;
- During your course, you can opt for an internship that will help you understand the rules and tricks of the game.
- Post your degree, you can apply for an entry-level job in fashion buying, which can be the stepping stone for your career.
How much does a fashion buyer earn?
As advertised on payscale.com, the average annual salary of an assistant buyer is £21,058 whereas that of a senior buyer is £37,074. However, this may vary depending on the amount of experience you have.
Though the entry of automation has posed a potential threat, the pivotal need for human creativity in the fashion business has helped avoid the decline of the profession.
If you want to start a career in fashion buying, you don’t have to look any further. London College of Contemporary Arts is offering a CPD (Continuous Professional Development) course in Fashion Buying and Merchandising. This course focuses on the core aspects of fashion industry. It ventures into different areas of fashion buying and merchandising that will be instrumental in your career.
LCCA is located in a creatively-charged Central London location and offers a great platform for student engagement. For more information about the courses offered by LCCA, click here.
This article was written by Meghdeep Patnaik and edited by Anisa Choudhary.