How To Become A Fashion Buyer

A fashion buyer plays a crucial role within the fashion industry, as they are the individual who selects what garments and accessories will be in store for next season. Fashion buyers typically work in close connection with fashion designers and their sales representatives to understand what will be trendy with retail
shoppers. A fashion buyer always needs to be ahead of the curve; the fashion-buying career is heavily involved in fashion forecasting for each season.

Fashion buyers attend fashion trade shows, visit showrooms, and most importantly, fashion shows, to understand the next fashion trends. Fashion buyers can work in a variety of settings, including large, corporate retail stores, boutiques, and small retail establishments. In the end, a fashion buyer makes crucial fashion and retail decisions for the company, which can affect the overall revenue of the retail establishment. If you have a passion for retail and fashion, combined with a strong work ethic, exemplary attention to detail, and analytical skills, you may want to explore the realm of the fashion buyer.

Why Become A Fashion Buyer

Fostering new connections, and keeping them, is key to understanding the fashion buying process. As a fashion buyer, your main responsibility will be to evaluate and make solid connections with your suppliers of the products you wish to buy. Fashion buyers need to obtain the best deal for their company, so it is essential to cultivate a positive relationship with your suppliers.

A fashion buyer will need to be sure that their supplier will not only deliver the correct, quality garments or accessories, but also deliver them on time to the buyer. In order to be a successful fashion buyer, it is imperative that you understand the trends, suppliers, and technical knowledge of the apparel industry. It is an exhilarating field to be a part of because you will determine what garments or accessories will be in stores for each season.

Essential Skills For A Fashion Buyer

If you are seeking employment within the field of fashion buying, it is imperative that you possess the following skills in order to obtain a fashion buyer position.

  1. Math Skills – As a fashion buyer, it is imperative that you have strong mathematical skills. You must be able to calculate and compare different prices from various vendors, while ensuring that your company is receiving the best discount or price.
  2. Decision-Making Skills – Fashion buyers must have an exemplary ability to make decisions on what should be purchased for their company. As a fashion buyer, you must be able to understand if a product will appeal to your customers and if it will sell.
  3. Analytical Skills – Fashion buyers analyze and evaluate their suppliers or vendors, therefore, it is imperative for a fashion buyer to analyze the quality and price of the items they wish to purchase. It is imperative for a fashion buyer to analyze their customers and fashion trends as well.
  4. Negotiating Skills – As a fashion buyer, you will be constantly negotiating with suppliers or vendors to achieve the best deal for your company. You will negotiate contract agreements, shipping costs, and terms. It is imperative that you have a confident and a kind demeanor, but remain firm to promote a successful negotiation.

Fashion Buyer Work Environment

The work environment of the fashion buyer can be rather time consuming and stressful. A fashion buyer can work up to 10 hours a day, sometimes more, depending on the upcoming holiday seasons and trends. A fashion buyer usually works within an office setting, with many opportunities to travel to fashion shows, trade shows, and conferences.

Fashion Buyer Salary

The Occupational Employment and Wages Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor showed that the mean annual wage of a fashion buyer is approximately $61,000. The hourly wage or annual salary may vary for a fashion buyer because it depends on their previous buying experience and qualifications.

Fashion Buyer Career Outlook

The career outlook for a fashion buyer appears to be somewhat promising. From 2012 to 2022, the overall employment of fashion buyers is expected to grow at least 7%, which is slower than average for all occupations. The growth of the fashion buyer will be determined by our economic climate and the retail industry as a whole.

Fashion Buyer Degree

To become a fashion buyer, you will need to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising, retail, buying, or business. The buying field does not necessarily rely on a potential employee having a fashion background, however, it is helpful to understand the apparel industry. It is important to have previous experience in the retail field, such as a sales manager or sales associate. A potential employer wants to see that you understand the trends in apparel, in addition to strong mathematical and analytical skills.

Coursework in a related field may include fashion planning and control, visual merchandising, apparel and society, human relations, and fashion analysis. Furthermore, your coursework may include fashion trends, fashion marketing, retail sales, color theory, and textiles.

Additionally, extensive coursework in the areas of fashion buying or merchandising may include accounting, international fashion, fashion accessories, costume history, fashion promotion, apparel production, and retail buying principles. You may need to receive further training or education within the field, such as a graduate degree in business.

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