Fashion industry crying-out for skilled buyers and merchandisers

If you think a career in fashion buying and merchandising is all about swanky shows and simply selecting outfits that waltz by on the catwalk then you’re in for a rude awakening, explains retail and buying guru, Tim Jackson.

In fact, he explains, an excellent understanding of maths and how retail really works are two of the most crucial areas to harness for those aspiring to enter this highly competitive sector.

Having worked across both buying and merchandising functions for brands including Burton Menswear, Jaeger, Dash and Harrod, and co-author of ‘Mastering Fashion Buying and Merchandising,’ Tim is on a mission to address a serious lack of skills growth in the sector.

He explains: “Fashion companies are crying-out for switched-on buyers and merchandisers who are able to create new ranges, maximise sales, forecast and react to trends and changes in demand.

“However, people new to the market can’t get work experience because companies don’t have the time to train them. At the same time, organisations won’t employ people who don’t have the necessary skills.”

This classic Catch-22 has led Tim to create a new type of course to support the challenges faced by new starters, which is already attracting praise from industry heads.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Fashion Buying & Merchandising is an intensive two-term programme which starts at Regent’s University London this September 2015.

Tim continues: “This full-time course will deliver a realistic and vocational experience for individuals who are knocking on the door of fashion companies.

“Study and practise will include exposure to buying and merchandising problem-solving, merchandise planning, range planning, retail pricing and competitor analysis.

Caren Downie, one of the most influential women in British fashion and a former fashion director of and buying director for Topshop, says the development is long overdue.

She adds: “I think this course is particularly great as businesses are increasingly looking for a buying and merchandising qualification from graduates who have degrees in other disciplines.”

Tim believes this level of industry recognition and expert input behind the scenes is vital in shaping the future success of his programme.

“We’re working closely with leading fashion names to push for the creation of two-week internships as part of this course. We’ve got to break through the glass ceiling in order to create the next generation of fashion high-flyers.”

Click HERE to register for Regent’s University London’s Postgraduate Diploma Fashion Open Evening on Thursday 3rd September 2015.