Fashion Buyer



OFO No: 332301





Other names for Fashion Buyer:

  • General / Company Buyer
  • Merchandise Planner

What is a Fashion Buyer?

Do you enjoy the world of fashion?

Does choosing the fashion that will be sold in our retail stores appeal to you? If you have answered yes, why not study fashion and become a Fashion Buyer?

Fashion Buyers use their sense of colour, style, knowledge of fashion trends and the understanding of their target customers’ desires to create an attractive selection of clothes and accessories for retail stores. 

Fashion Buyers often make their selections and purchases up to 1 or 2 years in advance due to the length of time it takes for designers or manufacturers to make up the orders. It’s therefore, important to have a deep understanding of past, present and future fashion trends.

Fashion Buyers must be good at budgeting and planning so that a good range is always available to customers.

Fashion Buyers usually work for department stores, clothing chains, wholesale clothing distributors or smaller retail establishments.

They are responsible for selecting and purchasing clothes and accessories from designers, manufacturers and/or wholesalers for their company to sell. Fashion Buyers in large stores usually specialise in a particular area of fashion like men’s wear, lingerie, accessories, shoes etc.

What does a Fashion Buyer do?

  • researches and keeps up to date with current fashion trends – constantly!
  • knows the companies target market – what the customer will like
  • oversees the development of a range
  • attends national and international fashion and trade shows
  • international window shopping!
  • travels – buys samples/ideas from all 4 corners of the world
  • liaises with designers and manufacturing companies
  • constantly communicates with management and suppliers
  • orders samples from suppliers
  • works with budgets and pricing
  • negotiates contracts: prices and delivery times with suppliers

Are you . . .?

  • passionate about fashion?
  • a person with foresight?
  • versatile and flexible?
  • enthusiastic and determined?
  • conscientious, professional and decisive? 
  • creative and imaginative ?
  • self motivated?
  • willing to travel?
  • a person with a good sense of colour and style?
  • a person with a good head for business?

How do I become a Fashion Buyer?

Most Fashion Buyers will have a background in fashion. They may have studied fashion design (see under Fashion Designer for study options) or they have a flair for fashion but have studied merchandising instead. 

Some Fashion Buyers have studied both! 

In large stores, you may get on-the-job training for their particular target market. 

Having diplomas or degrees behind your name in relevant fields will be extremely advantageous.

Path 1

  • Work in a fashion retail store from the bottom up.
  • You may start as a Shop Assistant or even as a Packer. 
  • If you work hard and are reliable, the company may send you on training courses and you can work your way up to Fashion Buyer.

Path 2

  • Learnership: National Certificate: Wholesale and Retail – Buying & Planning Level 5

Path 3

  • Diploma or Degree in Fashion Design or Clothing Management
  • Work experience in a fashion retail store


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER:  Fashion Illustrator or Fashion Model 

Is becoming a Fashion Buyer the right career choice for me?