What is Fashion Merchandising?

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  • Written By: Jessica Hobby
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2018
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Fashion merchandising is the combination of the processes that a new fashion item must go through to be available in mass quantities to the consumer after it is left the hands of the designer. Fashion merchandising often gets confused with fashion marketing and although they work together, they are two very different things. To understand fashion merchandising completely, it is important to examine the role that fashion merchandising plays in manufacturing, buying, promoting and selling fashion items.

In regards to manufacturing, a fashion merchandiser will have significant input on the types of fabrics used to make a piece of clothing. Having a strong historical and socio-cultural understanding of the fabrics, help change a designer’s vision into reality. By applying their knowledge about fabric and clothing construction, a fashion merchandiser will take a designer’s piece and find the best way to manufacture the item while taking things like price and target market into consideration.

Buying becomes part of fashion merchandising when a merchandiser buys fashion items to be presented in a store. A fashion merchandiser must be aware of the target market for the fashion item and also very well-versed in fashion trend analysis and forecasting. This allows for more accurate ordering. A fashion merchandiser working with a designer will once again offer expertise to the designer on textiles and fabrics.


In the event that a fashion merchandiser is working for the designer, promoting the designer’s product to stores that may want to buy large quantities is a number one priority. Not only is a fashion merchandiser required to have a creative mind and strong visual merchandising skills, production skills must be sharp as well. Fashion merchandising promotes a designer’s items through the use of fashion shows where creativity and visual effects must run wild to capture the attention of potential buyers. Additionally, fashion merchandisers seek out the target market for a designer’s clothing, such as children’s clothing stores, department stores or discount retailers.

The final component of fashion merchandising is selling. A fashion merchandiser that works with a designer is responsible for selling fashion items to stores, who then sells to consumers. Again the merchandiser must have an idea about forecasting and market trends so they may give their recommendation regarding production of the item. Creativity is important, because a merchandiser must offer suggestions on how to display the items within the store. When a fashion merchandiser works for a retail store, responsibilities include buying and presenting fashion items within the store.


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Post 2

Sunny27- I didn’t know buying a buyer was that stressful. I do know that buyers travel, especially to Europe in order to pick up future potential fashion trends.

They also negotiate with vendors by obtaining the lowest possible price for their merchandise. This helps the profitability of the department store and the buyer’s gross margin numbers.

The larger the store, the easier it is for vendors to offer the best price. But negotiations are still necessary. Being a buyer sounds like an exciting job, but it is not for everyone.

Post 1

Great article, buyers will do need to forecast trends properly. They usually purchase merchandise several seasons ahead and also have to forecast what the optimal stock levels should be because if they run out of stock they also will lose sales.

If a department store buyer happens to buy for the trendy juniors department they need to be especially careful.

Many of these buyers receive bonuses on the actual merchandise turn numbers. So if the merchandise does not sell at a certain rate the buyer’s job may suffer.

The juniors department requires a keen fashion sense because trends change quickly. It’s a great profession but you really need to know your fashion trends in order to be successful.

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