Store Buyers: Fashion Careers for High-level Shoppers

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

March 21, 2007

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What is a career in fashion as a store buyer like? It can be quite alluring. You may even find yourself globe trotting with the fashion elite as you select clothing that will define next season's trends.

Buyers work for stores that sell clothing, such as Harrods, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom. They spend much of their time attending fashion shows or viewing recent collections of designers most beloved by their customers.

Experts of Fashion Design Markets
Successful store buyers must have a keen sense of what will sell in their markets. In Miami's South Beach, they know that Versace is consistently popular and that clothing should be somewhat revealing and comfortable in warm, humid weather. In New York, fashion buyers know that clothing basics are always essential along with streamlined looks reflected in brands like Jil Sander. And in London there's a wealthy Middle Eastern clientele to wow - one that prefers expensive looks. There's also a younger, fashion-forward set that embraces the whimsical style of Stella McCartney.

Do Fashion Buyers Attend Fashion School?
Fashion buyers are borne out of a variety of backgrounds. Some may have degrees in merchandising from a fashion design school. Others may have attended fashion design school to become designers, only to later discover that their true love is large-scale fashion buying.

A Career in Fashion for Jet Setters
Like fashion designers, store buyers also enjoy a career in fashion that requires a good deal of travel to attend fashion shows and meet with potential sources like YSL, Givenchy, and Chloe. They are always on the go, searching for the next "it" bag or the best-selling dress of the season. Fashion design school and fashion merchandising school can both provide excellent training for a career in fashion buying.

But remember, if you get a fashion design degree, make sure you take a few classes on the business side of the fashion industry. It will serve you well in a career as either a fashion designer or a fashion buyer.

About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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