BA (Hons)

Fashion Buying and Merchandising

2018 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • Technology and creativity are at the heart of our courses with a major emphasis on developing your business skills, and exposure to a wide range of businesses and employers. Our courses give you the option of spending a year working in industry to gain valuable skills and contacts.  
  • We’ll provide you with practical experience of the international fashion industry through optional overseas study trips. Previous destinations have included Shanghai, New York, Istanbul and Paris.
  • You’ll benefit from the multi-million pound, newly refurbished facilities, with access to industry-standard equipment including more than 150 specialised sewing and joining machines and equipment, 3D bodyscanner, sew-free bonding equipment, automated and laser cutting equipment, 3D printing and the latest digital pattern-cutting software.  
  • Our students and graduates win many awards, including most recently the Arts   Thread/Urban Outfitters Award, Humen Cup Silver Award, Drapers’ Company Award for Technical Textiles, the Survitec Group Award for Innovation in Functional Clothing Design, Best Gap Stylist at Vogue’s Fashion Night Out, and finalist at Graduate Fashion Week.  

Placement options

At Manchester Fashion Institute, employability is at the heart of our teaching. All of our undergraduate courses offer an optional sandwich year route that gives you the opportunity to apply for an industry placement between your second and final year. If you choose this route, you will commit to working full-time in the fashion industry for the entirety of your third year, before returning to complete your degree in your fourth year.

A placement year is an incredibly valuable element of your course as it allows you to apply your university-based knowledge, skills and understanding to your job role. During your placement, you will make your own industry contacts and enhance your CV by gaining real-world industry experience. Currently, 40% of our student cohort take part in a one-year full-time industry placement. 

We have a dedicated placements team with over three decades of experience sourcing and securing outstanding placement opportunities and facilitating £3 million industry investment each year for placements. They will provide you with extensive support and advice prior to and during your industry placement. 

Placement opportunities are available both in the UK and internationally, with students previously working in countries such as Austria, Germany, Norway, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and the USA.

For more information go to our Placements page.

About the course

On this course, you will develop your understanding of the strategic communications and decisions, involved in the development of product, specific to the role of the Buyer and the Merchandiser. You will gain knowledge of financial, commercial and creative IT systems, in order to increase the efficiency of the product lifecycle management.

You will gain a broad perspective of the challenges and rewards of building profitable ranges, whilst developing strong critical and contextual skills within your research. As the industry’s decision makers of the future, you will critically evaluate the wider global issues of the supply chain, ethical trading and sustainability as well as exploring the contemporary issues of ethical sourcing decisions and automation in the manufacturing process.

Through each year of study, you will explore buying and merchandising from the perspective of a retailer (Year 1), a supplier (Year 2) and a new enterprise or project (Final Year). You will have the chance to enhance your learning through real-world educational experiences, such as live projects and events. 

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

Your first year on the BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising course will provide an overview of the fundamental theories, concepts and principles of buying and merchandising and their influence on clothing manufacturing. There will be a strong focus on retail and ranging planning, where you will be introduced to the development process of a complete range for a variety of retail channels. 

Core Units
Fashion Cultures 1

The Fashion Cultures 1 unit introduces you to fashion as a cultural concept and creative endeavour. You will develop skills in critical thinking and academic enquiry, which will form the basis of subsequent study.

In the Fashion Cultures 1 unit, you will study a broad overview of fashion contexts and will be introduced to a wide range of key cultural concepts, whilst developing skills in research methods, literature reviews, critical thinking, reading, analysis and academic writing that will inform subsequent study. The unit is delivered through a series of lectures, workshops and seminars in which you will be given the opportunity to critically discuss key issues and apply these to your own practice. 

Introduction to Fashion Buying

This unit will introduce you to the fundamental principles and processes of fashion buying and will explore the function and structure of buying within a variety of head-office environments. You will evaluate a wide range of goods in relation to price and profit and will explore fibres and fabric types and analyse their suitability for specific end uses and market levels. 

Introduction to Fashion Merchandising

In this unit, you will be introduced to the concept of merchandising across different retail channels and will explore finance and management through the roles and responsibilities of the merchandiser, in relation to the overall buying process. You will also examine the range of retail channels, different trading environments and critical path management from a merchandising perspective. 

Introduction to Range Building and Product Development

In this unit, you will gain an understanding of the processes that go into building a range for a variety of markets and customers. You will research different market levels and retailers to produce a suitable garment range offer, which will include relevant product knowledge and technical information. 

Professional Communication

In the Professional Communication unit, you will examine multiple business communication strategies and their application within the fashion industry. You will have the opportunity to explore the key principles and processes of communication management in the retail-trading environment, culminating in the use of relevant Computer Aided Design technologies to build a personal portfolio of communication work. 

Year 2

In your second year, there will be strong concentration on the supplier and product innovation. You will build upon the skills and knowledge you gained in Year 1 of the course by gaining further understanding of developing a product as a supplier, with particular emphasis on technology and sustainability. There will also be a focus on employability, which will allow you to enhance your CV and prepare you for a placement or for future employment.

Core Units
Business Analysis and Finance

The Business Analysis and Finance unit addresses the links between business practices of suppliers, logistics and retailers in the global fashion industry. You will explore and analyse business models and theory by developing numerical communication, analysis and planning within the fashion industry. You will analyse elements of national and international sourcing including lead times, critical path management, processes and delivery.  

Buying and product Innovation

In this unit, you will explore the fashion-product development process, from concept to prototype. You will research and analyse the fashion environment, market trends, product lifecycle, supply chain management, commercial production, logistics and quality control of fashion products. This unit will cover areas such as product development, range building and planning, souring products/components and stock forecasting, whilst implementing new technology and innovation. There will be the opportunity to work collaboratively to develop your presentation techniques and produce an appropriate body of work to a professional standard. 

Fashion Cultures 2

This unit will build upon and extend the knowledge and skills that you will have developed in Fashion Cultures 1, studied in Year 1 of the course. You will critically contextualise and analyse contemporary issues and cultural shifts in the fashion industry through a series of lectures, workshops and seminars. You will have the opportunity to specialise in an area of critical and contextual study that aligns with your personal practice. 

Professional Preparation

This unit will focus on developing and enhancing your employability skill and will focus on professionalism, specific career routes and continuing self-development practices. You will be encouraged to reflect on your strengths and explore potential career choices. The broad content of this unit covers employability, career routes and pathways, personal and professional development, development of CVs and portfolios, brand communication and self-promotion. 

Year 3

If you decide to opt for the four-year sandwich route, you will spend Year 3 on a full-time placement before returning to complete your degree in your final year. Placement opportunities are available in both the UK and abroad.

Your final year will focus on building entrepreneurial, research and strategic-level problem solving skills. You will undertake both a final major project and a fashion cultures project, while also developing senior management skills.

Core Units
Fashion Business Strategy

This unit aims to build your understanding of fashion, leadership and ethics within the fashion industry. You will study the role of leadership and ethics in the strategic management of organisations and explore different leadership styles and models, strategic management concepts and you will apply these to a range of real-world scenarios. Through both theory and case study, you will also study change management processes and there will be a strong focus on motivation, teamwork, company culture and recruitment alongside the legal requirements of a fashion workplace.  

Fashion Cultures 3

This unit builds on and extends the knowledge and skills you will have developed in Fashion Cultures 1 and 2, taught in Years 1 and 2. You will have the opportunity to specialise in an area of research within the framework of critical, cultural, contextual and/or industrial contexts that aligns with your personal practice and career interests.

In this unit, you will undertake an individual project in response to a negotiated research question that maps onto your own practice and critical, cultural, contextual and/or industrial contexts. 

Final Major Project

In this unit, you will create a proposal for a substantial piece of independent or collaborative research for a project or enterprise. Based on this research, you will then produce a creative and critically informed project for the fashion industry; this could take the form of an enterprise start up project, a publication, video, exhibition or service. You will be encouraged to be innovative and contemporary in your approach to the Final Major Project, and can tailor the outcomes of the unit towards your individual interests. 

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Methods of Assessment

Individual and group project work, written assignments and examinations.

Assessment Weightings and Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

  • Year 1 25% lectures, seminars or similar; 75% independent study
  • Year 2 25% lectures, seminars or similar; 75% independent study
  • Year 3 25% lectures, seminars or similar; 75% independent study
  • Year 1 75% coursework; 25% examination
  • Year 2 75% coursework; 25% examination
  • Year 3 55% coursework; 45% examination
Optional foundation year
  • Study 25% lectures, seminars or similar; 75% independent study
  • Assessment 100% coursework

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

These typical entry requirements apply to the 2017 academic year of entry and may be subject to change for the 2018 academic year. Please check back for further details.

UCAS Tariff points/Grades required


112 UCAS Tariff Points at A2 (Grades BBC) or acceptable alternatives e.g. BTEC Subsidiary Diploma, Diploma, Extended Diploma at Level 3 (Grades DMM)

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C or grade 4. Equivalent qualifications (eg. Functional Skills) may be considered

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Pass Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with a minimum 112 UCAS Tariff Points

International Baccalaureate points

26 IB Diploma Points

IELTS score required for international students

6.0. with no element below 5.5

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Additional Requirements

 Personal statement should demonstrate a background and/or experience in and/or a commitment to the fashion industry.

A Foundation Course is also available UCAS Course Code N591

Your career prospects after the course

The BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising course has a worldwide reputation for producing industry ready, professional and highly capable fashion business experts.

Successful graduates take up roles within fashion trading retail head offices and importers, and often return to the company where they undertook their placement, working in areas such as fashion forecasting, buying, merchandising, product development and sourcing.

Previous graduates have gone on to a wide range of careers in companies such as River Island, Next, Dolce and Gabbana, Topshop, Abercrombie and Fitch, Reebok, ASOS, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Paul Smith and many more companies in the UK and internationally. 


In 2014, over 94% of our graduates went directly into work or further study within 6 months of graduation

DHLE survey 2014, for all respondents available for employment or further study and whose destinations are known

How do I apply for this course?

Applications through UCAS

Remember to use the correct institution code for Manchester Metropolitan University on your application: our institution code is M40

Unistats Information

Find out more about Unistats and the Key Information Set.

Find out more about Unistats and the Key Information Set.

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.

Undergraduate Study