Does the idea of retail and fashion excite you, the thought of being in charge of sourcing a selection of clothes for a shop, while being fully attentive to trends? Buying roles differ between companies but all fashion buyers are responsible for overseeing the development of a range of products aimed at a specific type of customer and price bracket. 

A buyer ultimately requires a clear understanding of the customers they're buying for, prices they're willing to pay and the likely demand for products. Reacting to, and forecasting market trends and changes are key aspects of the job. Keeping on top of the latest fashion and industry news is essential, along with a real passion for the product. Attention to detail is crucial alongside creativity with the ability to predict and react to future trends. 

Snapshot - progression of a buyer

There are various levels of seniority within a buying team, ranging from small independent stores to a major fashion multiple which has trainee buyers, assistant buyers, buyers and buying managers. At the most basic level the buyer ensures that the correct merchandise is in a store at the correct time with the correct quantities to satisfy the customer needs. 

An experienced buyer is primarily in charge of a product category. This means reviewing the marketplace landscape for a customer base. You then determine what products fit your category. Negotiation plays a vital role.  Typically, helping to visualise and design the floor landscape for a collection can all be part and parcel of this role.

Notable skills:

Effective communication skills is key as a large proportion of time at work is spent liaising with suppliers or internal departments

Good analytical skills


The ability to recognise future trends

Excellent commercial awareness

Confidence and presentation skills

Ability to make decisions under pressure

Negotiation skills 

Forward thinking is essential 


The ability to meet deadlines

Alot of relationships to manage

High expectations  


Seeing your vision in store

Dynamic role

Variety in daily work


The ability to travel

To be successful within buying you need to have a keen interest in the role and have a real passion for your product. Attention to detail and creativity is crucial along with an ability to predict and react to future trends.

Portobello Institute makes becoming a professional fashion buyer possible.  Students learn to prepare mood boards, retail displays or analyse fashion trends in line with customer needs. Our courses prepare students to undertake a variety of roles within the fashion industry by introducing relevant subjects from the worlds of fashion, business and retailing which are customised to the needs of the fashion industry.  

Our students are always in high demand, with many getting full time employment from their work experience and/or shortly after completing the course. Within industry prospective employers can include Arnotts, Penny’s and New Look to name a few.   Read just our student success stories here!

We are now enrolling for the intensive programme in fashion buying which will run in the Institute for 3 weeks commencing on 2nd July and students will cover visual display, fashion buying, trends. 

To start your stylish career now contact Jenny on 01 8920007 or email