Fashion Buying and Merchandising (3 Years) [BSc]

Having the right product, in the right place, at the right time, is critical to the success of any fashion business. Fashion buying is concerned with identifying the next seasonal trends, interpreting the changing consumption patterns of consumers whilst responding to technological developments in textiles, in order to select the new product ranges and turn them into successful commercial propositions. Fashion merchandising works alongside the buying cycle reducing risk by managing and controlling range development, production and delivery, to ensure the range is produced on time, at the right level of quality, on budget and to the right store locations.

Fashion buyers and merchandisers will work closely, often in integrated teams, each having a creative/design and commercial focus. The teams need an eye for the next up-and-coming trend, translating this for the appropriate consumers whilst bring the products to the market on time, having negotiated the best rates from the suppliers. Continual analysis of data, ensuring decisions about product performance in store and forecasting accordingly, is a skilful balancing act for the buying and merchandising teams, reacting to sales patterns to maximise profit opportunities. The buying and merchandising team dynamics within fashion product development are that of visionaries and strategists, analysing statistical data whilst having an unerring instinct of the trends that underpin the new season.

The course is designed to provide students with an appreciation of the creative fashion drivers needed to be a successful fashion buyer or merchandiser. Developing skills such as the ability to pick out and identify trends, as well as building a solid understanding of the business acumen required for fashion products to be a commercial success. The strong textile science underpinning of the course, offer students a unique understanding as to the technical performance and construction of the garments, critical for gaining successful commercial propositions.

With the changing dynamics of the supply chain, in terms of the speed to market and continual buying cycles, buyers and merchandisers are required to continuously analyse and forecast successful products. This degree course introduces these concepts including fast fashion and seasonal buying strategies, for the global fashion industry. The course also provides an emphasis on the numerical and data analysis skills, essential to careers in fashion buying and fashion merchandising.

Do you think you have an eye for the next big fashion trend? Have a passion for seeking out new trends, scouring fashion blogs and Instagram to search for inspiration in order to predict new concepts for fashion ranges? Have a strong commercial awareness and analytical foundation? The Fashion Buying and Merchandising degree course at the University of Manchester is for you. Students who graduate from this course would be ideally equipped with the knowledge and skills needed for a fashion buying or mechanising role with employers such as Arcadia, Marks and Spencer, and Abercrombie and Fitch.

Read our Fashion Business brochure.

Teaching and learning

If you choose to study textiles at Manchester you will enjoy great facilities. Our laboratories include textile chemistry, materials testing, manufacturing technology, information technology and computer aided design. We also have dedicated creative design studios and state-of-the-art multimedia learning packages.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment is normally by a mixture of traditional written examination and course work which includes laboratory reports and practical projects. You have the chance to simulate real-life experiences and your final year project gives you an opportunity to do genuine and original scientific research leading to a written dissertation.

If you choose to take the four-year pathway with industrial experience, your year in industry is assessed through a written report, appraisal by the host organisation and an oral presentation contributing 10% towards your final mark.

Fashion Works at Manchester

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Our lecturer and researcher Rachel Parker-Strak discusses the benefits of studying fashion in Manchester

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