What I Did During My First Year of Fashion Buying

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Studying fashion has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, and a career I’ve known I wanted to pursue since I was a little girl. Fashion has always been something I’ve been so interested in, and as I’ve got older and been able to get closer and closer to actually studying pure fashion, the more I’ve loved it and wanted to just surround myself around it. So, as I’m now only one step away from my dream career, I thought I would share what I’ve done throughout my first year studying a Fashion Buying degree.

What is it?

What actually is Fashion Buying? Well to be honest I don’t think that you will actually ever really understand what crucial job a fashion buyer does until you’ve worked in the industry yourself or you know someone who has. Basically, a fashion buyer is the main middle man between a design for an item and it coming to life. Even though there is so many other people involved, like suppliers and manufacturers, a fashion buyer works with the designer to take a design concept, sources the materials and organises it all to get made. Not only do you have to love fashion, you also need to be super organised, driven, keep on top of the latest colours and trends, and I think most of all you need to absolutely love your job.

The Modules: 

The degree I’m doing is not purely fashion buying, but it is also mixed with fashion marketing as well, so you get to work within both subjects alongside each other. The whole degree is then split up into five modules, in which four are related more towards fashion buying and one towards marketing. Even though it is a buying degree, it covers every aspect of the job and in first year really creates foundations for the whole job role.

Core Buying One:  This has to be one of my favourite modules because it looks at all the things you need to know purely to do with buying. So you look at sourcing, negotiation, the buying cycle, range building, visual merchandising and so many other skills. This module had two really creative assignments, one producing a sketch book and a mood board and another doing a comp shop. That’s for another day, as they’re so interesting. Then to finish the year we did a report on psychological buying habits, which was a bit stressful to end the year on.

Textiles Materials: This is another big module, which runs throughout the whole year. It’s all about learning the key elements to the fabrics you might source as a buyer. It was split up into four main area’s and a group project to review it all at the end of the year. Five weeks were dedicated to weave, learning about all the different structures and actually hand weaving on a machine. Five weeks were dedicated to knitting, where we learnt about different types of knit and the stitches and knitted various forms on industrial machines. Then there was another five weeks for fibres and yarns; learning about different types of fabrics and their characteristic’s and the final five to colouration. This was where we learnt about the dyeing process and the different types of fabric dyes appropriate for each fabric type.

The assessment for this module was a mini phase test at the end of each area and a big group presentation to finish.

Introduction To Fashion Business: This is my all time favourite module, as it takes all the business elements, some of which I learnt in a-level economics, and mixes them with tons of fashion examples. It’s like mixing two of my favourite things together and I found it so interesting. We focused on the role of the marketer and the merchandiser, as well as theories about business and lots of industry talks. They really made a 9.00am start on a Tuesday worthwhile.

The assignments for this module were quite varied, as we had an individual essay to write about the role of the merchandiser, in the fashion retail market, and then had to create a marketing infographic for a business, in a group project. They were both really interesting and I particularly enjoyed creating the infographic and being in a team with all my girlfriends.

Digital Communication: This was one of the harder modules on the course as there was so much new and technical information. This whole module was all about the digital aspect of buying, with practical sessions in Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as lectures about how we see colour and the different types. The assignments made the module quite hard as we had a big phase test at the end of the lectures to test all our knowledge, although it was open book, and we also had to build a five piece range on illustrator. Even though they were both hard assignments, all the information will be invaluable and I know I will always relate to it in the future.

Design Cultures: This is a module all about the history of clothing, retail and trends. It takes you all the way back to where clothing began, all the different styles, status symbols and also how retail itself evolved. Before I started the course I thought this was going to be so boring, however I actually really enjoyed it and cant wait for it to start again next year.

The assignment was really interesting and played to my strengths, as it was to create an educational blog. So I couldn’t use this one and had to write a lot more formally, but it used all my design skills on WordPress and just how to generally write a blog. You had to focus on your own fashion influences, a global fashion week, analyse a historical item and also analyse a portrait or advertisement.

My Experience: 

Overall, my experience of the whole course so far has been amazing. I searched for a long time to find a fashion degree that was right for me, and I’m honestly so happy I chose this one. Its just so varied, I’m learning new things every day and loving every second. It doesn’t feel like a chore because I love it and every assignment we have done. I’m already so proud of myself for how far I’ve come and I can’t wait for second year.

Do you have any questions about a fashion buying career or thinking of doing one yourself?

Rachel x

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