Three times a year, prestigious fashion institution and home to many of fashion's most iconic designers, London College of Fashion flee their nest to educate the Middle Eastern market on different aspects of the fashion industry. This particular month was 'Fashion Buying', a three day short course conducted by LCF lecturer and a hippie at heart business guru, Sue Dean. The 72 hour course gave an intense insight into the world of a buyer and the brillance that makes a fashion brand so commercially successful. Why study this course? Here's five reasons-
1. You get to understand why shops look so pretty- Saint Laurent prettiness doesnt just happen, there's lots of logistics, organisation and a strong marriage between the buyer and merchandising team to make your favorite store look as visually pleasing as it is. The buyer is usually specialised in a certain aspect of the store i.e womenswear, menswear or accessories, making their jobs an intense and pressured role- often buyers are judged for the sales and profit in a store. Whereas a visual merchandiser has the key responsibility of playing with a consumers five scenes to create an inviting and harmonious environment. So the next time you're in a store and it smells, looks and feels good, thank the VM.
2. You get an insight into the role of the person who's responsible for choosing what goes on the rails-In the 21st century, the current job that everyone seems to want is being a buyer. You often see buyers sitting front row, travelling the world and wearing the latest items that everyone drools over. But, like all other parts of the fashion industry, strip the glitz and the glamour, you have one of the most demanding and stressful sectors of the business. Being a buyer requires intense planning, overseeing the buying calendar, working with trend forecasters and ensuring you have the exact understanding of the companies target consumer- which means knowing their every want and desire through seasonal change both online and in store.
3. There's a science behind it all- They often say you are either a creative or an academic, meaning you use either your left or right side of your brain. For a buyer? They are right-brained, so their job roles allow them to be good with images, colour and creativity. For a merchandiser? They use the left side, allowing them to enjoy the words, numbers and logistics part of the job, which they both merge and lean off of each other for product development, and to make sales and profit.
4. Your maths GCSE comes in handy- Your maths teachers were right, adding, multiplying and all those endless algebra equations do actually matter when your a buyer! Why? Range planning- setting a sales budget, launching ranges on time, reviewing trades, overseeing sales, size ratios and best and worst sellers. One of the key principles of having a good buyer is ensuring a strong product and price architecture, which looks onwards, rather than purely internally. Analysing history, the future and the current stance of the market is vital to any buyer to become commercially successful in the industry.
5. Justin O'Shea knows exactly what everyone will be wearing in two years- The Australian buying director for Mytheresa.com, also known as street style's favourite man to capture, Justin O Shea, has a leading role at the online store knowing exactly what his consumer want. That being said, a buying director must also work very closely with the trend forecasting team ensuring they know what comes next will sell. The approximate time that trend forecasters work? Two years in advance, meaning people like Justin O'Shea and Tiffany Hsu know what will be in everyone's closet four seasons ahead of time.
With everything said, are you interested in becoming a fashion buyer? Sign up to the only course that can teach you everything there is to know under 72 hours-