The BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising course aims to set you up for a successful career in the specialist area of buying and merchandising in the global fashion industry. This popular course has been delivered for fifteen years and will give you a thorough understanding of buying practice, finance, sourcing, product development and a knowledge of how fashion business operates in order to maximise profit and will help you to become a successful professional in a truly exciting field of work.
If you are business focused and have a keen interest in fashion, this course combines both; it will aim to develop your fashion awareness alongside your business acumen and you will be encouraged to be innovative and engage with business issues.
You will have the opportunity to benefit from real-world learning experiences during study trips both in the UK and internationally. Previously, students have travelled to Florence, Shanghai and Paris and have visited industry head offices, educational partners, studios, galleries and trade shows.
We also offer a full-time, four-year sandwich route option that provides the opportunity to spend your third year on an industry placement to enhance your employability.
Upon graduating, you will be able to follow careers in a wide variety of sectors across the industry, with career opportunities available in buying, merchandising, product development, sourcing and supply chain management.
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.
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 have taken 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.
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
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.
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.
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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.
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 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.
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.
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.
In your second year, there will be strong focus 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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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 of 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 125% lectures, seminars or similar; 75% independent study
Year 225% lectures, seminars or similar; 75% independent study
Year 325% lectures, seminars or similar; 75% independent study
Year 175% coursework; 25% examination
Year 275% coursework; 25% examination
Year 355% coursework; 45% examination
Optional foundation year
Study25% lectures, seminars or similar; 75% independent study
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 around 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 approximately £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.
Manchester Fashion Institute
Manchester Fashion Institute is a multi-disciplinary partnership that brings together fashion expertise and talent from across the University, Manchester and the world.
An international hub that connects education, research and enterprise to inspire the next generation of industry leaders, the institute empowers students to create opportunities for academic and professional development by taking advantage of our cutting-edge resources and unrivalled connections.
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.
UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £9,250 per year for the foundation year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.
Non-EU international students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £16,000 per year. When progressing from the pre-degree foundation year to the linked degree. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study)
UK, EU and Channel Island students
UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.
Non-EU international students
Non-EU international students: Full-time fee: £16,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).
A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated Masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).
All required course literature is available from the University Library. The University also offers 24-hour computer suites, installed with the relevant software needed to complete the course. Whilst a personal laptop is beneficial, it is not essential as the Library also offer a laptop loan service. Students will also need to print assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page.
Many students choose to purchase some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a personal laptop. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop and up to £100 each year for books and printing.
Living costs for the placement year vary hugely between countries and areas, so it is very important to research costs well ahead of time and budget accurately.
In the first year of the course, there is an optional study trip costing £150, this is usually within the UK but occasionally the destination is elsewhere in Europe. In the second year, there is an optional European study trip (£450). In the students final year (which may be their third or fourth year of study depending on whether they undertook a paid placement year after the second year) there is an optional study trip to the Far East (£850).
For further information on financing your studies or information about whether you may qualify for one of our bursaries and scholarships, follow the links below:
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