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How do I Become a Fashion Buyer?

Article Details
  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The notion of a career as a fashion buyer may conjure up images of jet-setting glamor. In reality, though, the job is fast-paced and demanding, and its prerequisites extend far beyond a simple sense of good taste. Buyers must possess a thorough understanding of their target customers as well as an in-depth understanding of employer accounts. To best prepare to become a fashion buyer, one should secure a mix of retail experience, business-related education, and an exhaustive awareness of current fashion trends, as well as its history.

Anyone who wishes to become a fashion buyer must be able to anticipate what consumers want and understand why certain garments do or do not sell. Working as a retail clerk at a department store or a neighborhood boutique can provide valuable experience that will look attractive on a resume for potential employers. Interacting with customers and observing product sales first-hand provides the potential fashion buyer an opportunity to establish basic knowledge of the inner-workings of the apparel industry, thereby laying a foundation for his or her future career.

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Along with retail experience, any individual who wants to become a fashion buyer should also consider getting a bachelor’s degree. While many colleges and universities offer programs in apparel merchandising, a fashion-specific degree is not necessarily essential. Since some of the key tasks of fashion buying include analyzing sales records, maintaining accounts with apparel suppliers, and negotiating product purchase prices, most buyers will, however, find that some form of business or marketing degree is highly useful. A number of department stores offer further educational opportunities through training programs that take in prospective fashion buyers at entry- or assistant-level positions and guide their advancement up the career ladder.

A comprehensive understanding of the field of fashion is crucial for anyone who wants to become a fashion buyer. For people who are drawn to this career by a passion for style, this may well be the most enjoyable aspect of the job. It is important to note that fashion buyers must purchase apparel for their stores several months in advance of the season in which it will be sold. Buyers, therefore, must stay attuned to upcoming trends by attending industry shows, studying fashion magazines, and monitoring the red carpet for awareness of celebrity styles. They must constantly process these trends in terms of the needs of the store that employs them, deciding what their target customers will want and forecasting how well each product will sell.

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