- Plan and buy stock for fashion retail stores
- Exciting work for anyone with an interest in fashion and the latest trends
- You'll need excellent business skills as well as an eye for future trends
Fashion buyers work for fashion retailers and their job is to decide what kinds of clothing the stores should stock to make sure they are following the latest trends and meeting customer needs. Fashion buyers play a crucial role in retail organisations as their choices determine what clothing lines are on offer to shoppers when they go into a store or browse online.
- Analyse past sales figures
- Look at what is happening in popular culture and in the world of haute couture (high fashion designers) to help make decisions about what the key looks are likely to be for the seasons ahead
- Research potential products
- Visit trade fairs
- Work with designers and merchandising teams to ensure they have the right collections of clothes for the seasons ahead
- Spend time negotiating with suppliers to get the best deals
- Stay on top of competitor activity and customer feedback
You may have early starts and late finishes, and have to travel to different retailers or fashion shows.
The fashion buyer must stay well ahead of the latest trends, thinking and working several seasons ahead to predict trends.
Most fashion buyers have a degree in fashion or another relevant subject, but this is not always essential. Some buyers start out by working in a retail store for a brand they love and find opportunities to move into fashion buying through their internal networks. This can be a good way of finding out about 'hidden roles' that might not always be widely publicised elsewhere. It will also give you a good understanding of customers and the sorts of things that appeal to them.
As the fashion industry shifts towards more online stores, there may also be opportunities to start out in other roles within a fashion retail organisation like customer service, or marketing, and then move into fashion buying from there.
This is a highly competitive industry so building up your network of contacts is essential and starting out by finding a brand that you really love and finding a way to work for them in another capacity is a good way to start.
Most fashion buyers start out by working in the industry in a junior capacity and then work their way up from junior buyer to buyer and then to senior buying roles.