Fashion Buyer

Fashion is a trend that comes and goes and good fashion buyers are able to predict or force the next trend or fashion.   To do this, fashion buyers need to be artistic, fashion-conscious, imaginative, creative, have excellent business sense, be self-assured, perceptive and possess sound judgement.

A fashion buyer is responsible for selecting merchandise, planning the long-term buying strategy and negotiating contractual terms with suppliers. Mistakes can cost a company a great deal of money if the purchased goods remain on the shelves because no one wants to buy them or they are out-of-date. Prediction about sizes and colours are also often vital so fashion buyers need to have a very good idea of what the local market needs and wants.

Fashion buyers interpret the trends of seasonal fashion by being in constant contact with the market. The selection of styles is done to conform with planned assortment requirements, unit and size breakdown requirements, quality and finish. Fashion buyers must understand the market and contribute to the overall buying strategy in financial, styling and distribution terms. They contribute to merchandise distribution plans and assist in budget formulation.

The working conditions are usually hectic as time is very often essential when planning a new sales strategy and delivery deadlines have to be met but it is an exciting career for an enterprising person. Fashion buyers usually work in friendly office environments and they can travel a lot to attend fashion shows and to keep abreast of new trends. Successful buyers are in great demand by the clothing industry.


  • department stores

  • retail firms

  • self-employment, with the necessary experience and capital, can start own business, for example a boutique

Getting Started

  • try to obtain part-time or vacation work in a clothing retail shop

  • make an appointment to speak to a fashion buyer in a clothing chain store about this type of career.


Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Central Johannesburg TVET College, City Varsity, Design Academy of Fashion, Durban University of Technology , Elizabeth Galloway Academy of Fashion Design, FEDISA, Gaborone Academy of Education, Inscape Education Group, Kyambogo University, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, LISOF, Motheo TVET College, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Spero Villioti Elite Design Academy, University of Johannesburg, University of Pretoria, Vaal University of Technology, Vega School of Brand Communications, Walter Sisulu University

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