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How Do I Become an Assistant Fashion Buyer?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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An assistant fashion buyer assists a fully qualified buyer in the purchase of clothing, shoes and various types of apparel on behalf of a retail store. Someone wishing to become an assistant fashion buyer must have a broad knowledge of the fashion industry. Additionally, people employed in these roles typically need to have prior sales experience and many assistants also have college degrees.

Many employers require anyone wishing to become an assistant fashion buyer to have completed a college degree in business administration, commerce or a related topic. Alternatively, some colleges offer vocational courses that specifically prepare people to work in these roles. Retailers often buy clothing from designers and manufacturers that are located overseas and some employers require assistants to have second language skills so that language barriers do not disrupt the negotiation process.

Beyond having a keen interest in the industry, someone wishing to become an assistant fashion buyer must gain some industry related experience. Many assistants begin working as sales associates in retail stores since they are able to learn about the mechanics of the retail industry and hone their sales skills while in these roles. Other individuals begin working as wholesalers in the manufacturing industry since people employed in these roles learn how to negotiate contracts with retailers and outlets. Typically, employers require prospective employees to have worked for a certain number of years in one of these roles before applying for a fashion assistant job.

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Some companies offer internships to college undergraduates and people enrolled in business and commerce degree programs often end up taking on these roles. During the internship program, the students work alongside fashion buyers who must predict future fashion trends when making decisions about which types of products to buy. The buyers attempt to negotiate the lowest possible price for the goods, and fashion assistants help the buyers to choose products and to broker deals. Someone wishing to become an assistant fashion buyer may benefit from working as an intern since many companies end up hiring interns once they have completed their studies.

Aside from academic credentials and prior work experience, most employers require applicants for assistant fashion buyer roles to exhibit certain qualities and characteristics. These individuals must have good administrative and interpersonal skills. Buyers are forced to make calculated risks so anyone wishing to work as an assistant must have the strength of character to make difficult decisions and the ability to justify and explain the decision making process. Additionally, many firms promote assistants into fashion buyer’s roles so anyone wishing to become an assistant fashion buyer should ideally have the right kind of character to work into a leadership role.

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