I Research International Fashion Trends, What Do you Do?

Immersing yourself in fashion day in day out as a job.  Let's face it, I can almost hear the swooning of many teenagers (and adults) at the thought of a career as a fashion buyer.

The great news is that shopping for the latest trends and photographing looks and styles is considered research.  It might even be research that needs to be conducted internationally.  Too good to be true?

It is true.  Choosing styles, selecting material, watching for trends and a passion for fashion are all parts of a fashion buyers job.  There is a slight reality check, in that this is one part of the job and probably reserved for those that are in slightly more senior positions.  Deb Becroft, fashion buyer for The Warehouse's Garage brand is quick to point out there are also business skills required for the job.  The ability to negotiate and communicate with a variety of suppliers and deciding on quantities are just some of the other facets of a fashion buyers job.  So fashion buyers also have to be good communicators, savvy business people, able to understand foreign markets and multitask. Now we're hitting on the reality.

Wade Hawkins is a retail buyer for Barker's menswear.  He says that an eye for detail is imperative - product is everything and ensuring that the product fits the target consumer is the goal.  Looking for quality construction and keeping an eye on overseas trends helps to determine the styles and fabrics for each season.

It is clear that the job of fashion buyer is more than just shopping.  It doesn't even just stop at choosing the right fabric and styles.  There are measurements, fittings and stock logistics, not to mention being responsible for predicting which looks will be popular and fly off the shelf.

It is generally agreed that retail or fashion buyers need to start at or gain experience at shop level.  Having an excellent working knowledge of retail and particularly the business you are working for is a must. It is a position you can work your way up to through retail experience, hard work, patience and focus. Qualifications in Business and Fashion areas are advised especially if you aspire to those senior positions that open the doors to international research. A formal qualification may also speed up your entry into the junior roles of  fashion buyer.

A career in fashion buying may be just the ticket for those with a passion for trends, fabrics and retail with a business twist.  Calling all budding fashion gurus - this one's for you.  Just make sure you leave the rose tinted (or should that be shopping constantly at Dior tinted) glasses at home.




Emma Bettle