Every person on the planet has a relationship with fashion. The term conjures up images of statuesque women gliding down the runway with their hips swaying so precisely; it’s hypnotic.
Underneath the glamorous veneer of fashion is a very complex and challenging industry, and arguably the most important players within it are buyers and merchandisers. There is a host of other players, but none can be effective without talented buyers and merchandisers who understand their role and responsibilities; the strategies and tools they must employ to be effective, and how to remain competitive in the dynamic world of fashion.
In this book, we take you on a journey from concept to runway to rack. We pull back the veil and reveal the complexities and demands of a fashion organization from the view of a buyer or merchandiser. This includes exploration of a buyer’s challenging role and the rich, analytical role of a merchandiser.
You will learn about:
• The specific demands of each role
• The complex decision processes that make a concept a reality
• The major players in the production and technical analysis process
• The key areas of networking and professional development
• The demands of modern fashion business
If you are considering fashion studies, are a current student, or you would like to develop your career further, you will receive critical information that will help you navigate a career in fashion.
After reading this book, you will be armed with a wealth of fashion knowledge, and be prepared to tackle the industry from any angle whether as a buyer, merchandiser, or other professional.
Recently, I met an entrepreneur who secured funding on Dragon’s Den, the UK version of Shark Tank. I have been addicted to the show ever since and I wanted to share my two favorite fashion business pitches.
After a few episodes, you learn how the dragons scrutinize businesses; its concept, market size and barriers to protect the product from competitors. Sales history, plan for the investment, Fashion buying and a reasonable valuation are also key aspects affecting the outcome.
I once read that the fashion industry is like football – everybody wants to get in. This is true in many ways. Although fashion is tough and competitive, it is also highly rewarding. In my experience, fashion companies are nothing like we’ve seen in movies like The Devil Wears Prada—a great movie though! Fashion companies tend to have flat hierarchies with fewer politics and more creativity. Be advised; however, that the fashion industry is not as lucrative as banking or management consultancy, so if you are in it for the money perhaps you should reconsider your options.
What worked for me—and I think it’s the norm now—is to gain a qualification in business or, more specifically, in fashion, to opt to fashion buying jobs. I graduated in Fashion Business at the London College of Fashion and that worked out beautifully for me. I also had high-quality retail experience on the shop floor so it was the right match. You can see my Linkedin profile here.
Before, during or even after you graduate—or before your first few interviews—I am going to recommend that you read 3 books. Two of them aren’t technically fashion buying books, but trust me, that knowledge will be invaluable.
- Fashion Buying and Merchandising: From mass-market to luxury retail by Miguel Hebrero. This fashion buying book will equip you with the knowledge you need about who is who and who does what in a fashion company. I wrote it in 2015 and covers the basic that you MUST know.
- Principles of Marketing, Global Edition by Kotler and Armstrong. Every fashion buyer is a half marketeer, that’s why you must learn how to make meaningful connections with your target audience.
- Mathematics for Retail Buying: Bundle Book + Studio Access Card by Tepper. Karl Lagerfeld once said, “There is no fashion if nobody buys it”. This is very true that’s why you need to learn how to develop a profitable buying operation. Interviewers will love that you display business acumen since some buyers can end up being all over the place creative people, and that’s not good!
You should read all three of these books. They are equally important and the knowledge you acquire will accompany you forever. Additionally, don’t forget to follow my Youtube channel: Fashion Business Education. Enjoy!
Continue reading “3 Fashion Buying Books You Must Read to Become a Buyer”
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Why do some fashion organizations succeed and others don’t?
How do the best fashion brands achieve long lasting success?
What do the best fashion companies do that set them apart?
Why some companies make it to the top only to go bankrupt a few years later?
Is fashion dying? Some seem to think so. Or is it merely a matter of mismanagement? Ralph Lauren closed his flagship Polo store. But Amancio Ortega’s fashion empire is still strong, making him one of the richest men in the entire world across all industries.
In this book, we will examine what makes a great fashion company and brand. We look at five key dynamics from various perspectives:
• Problem solving
• How we see our people
• Building creativity and innovation
There is no magic bullet that solves everything. There is no overnight success. But there are tested techniques that, when used consistently, build the momentum of an organization until it is unstoppable. It takes a certain amount of toughness to get there, and Michael Kors said it best, “fashion is not for sissies.”
The buyer has to ensure that the products for sale meet the needs of the target consumer; furthermore, the products need to sell in sufficient quantities to satisfy top line and bottom line expectations.
Continue reading “How to Become a Fashion Buyer”
In the past decade, prices have dropped drastically in the clothing world.
Fast-fashion companies like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21 have changed the market in a big way, and prices have plummeted.
Continue reading “The Hidden Costs of Running a Fashion Business”