Postgraduate Certificate Fashion: Buying and Merchandising
A dynamic, relevant and industry-facing fashion buying and merchandising course, with live briefs, keynote speakers and field trips.
This course has places available for UK and EU applicants only. Applications have now closed for international students.
You can apply for this course via the ‘How to apply’ section on this page.
A fashion retail course aimed at students who wish to pursue a management, or creative, career in omnichannel fashion retailing, to shape current and future international fashion retailing strategy and operations.
MA Fashion Retail Management is a dynamic and academically rigorous course. It is designed to equip students with essential retail management knowledge, international retailing expertise, brand development and creative direction skills demanded by fashion retailers operating in an increasingly competitive and global environment.
The course encourages curiosity, critical thinking and cultivates an ability to deal with a range of contemporary issues in fashion retailing. It embraces leaders from industry, who share their insights on what is happening in fashion retail today, partners with industry on live projects and undertakes industry visits both locally and internationally; this integration ensures the course is highly relevant.
The course has a growing reputation for recruiting high calibre international and home/EU students who go on to develop successful middle management fashion retailing careers globally.
Take a tour of LCF's world renowned fashion library, ideal for research and study.
Take a tour of lecture theatres and tutorial rooms across our central London sites.
Explore our social spaces, for collaborative study and breaks, across our six sites in London.
MA Fashion Retail Management encourages curiosity, critical thinking and cultivates an ability to deal with a range of contemporary issues in fashion retailing.
It embraces leaders from industry, who share their insights on what is happening in fashion retail today, partners with industry on live projects and undertakes industry visits both locally and internationally.
Fashion Retail Management (20 credits)
Fashion Branding (20 credits)
Research Methods (20 credits)
International Retailing Strategies (20 credits)
Creative Retail Spaces (20 credits)
Collaborative Unit (20 credits) - find out more
Masters Project (60 credits)
Industry integration drives course relevancy and dynamism and is a cornerstone of the student experience on MA Fashion Retail Management. This is realised through industry keynote talks, industry panel discussions, master classes and industry projects aligned to the various units of study. Past industry projects have been undertaken for John Smedley, Thomas Pink, Dalziel and Pow, Checkland Kindleysides and Diesel to name a few. The recently initiated sponsored Masters Project is in partnership with Longchamp, Jigsaw, Urban Outfitters and Holition.
Field visits are scheduled during the first two terms, allowing students behind the scenes access directly related to the unit of study. Recent field visits have offered students the opportunity to visit a working factory at John Smedley and Mulberry and to discuss retail strategy, operations and retail technology and innovation with Melissa Galeria, Longchamp, Jigsaw, Superdry and Flux Innovation Lounge plus attendance and participation in trade events like Retail Design Expo, Retail Business Technology Expo and the International Expansion Summit.
Optional local and international study tours are offered to students as an extended learning opportunity to look at retailing with an emphasis on global fashion retail markets and innovative retail concepts. These are arranged in collaboration with host HE partners and have included lectures and field trips in Paris, Milan and New York. These are offered throughout the year which incur an additional cost (E.g. travel and accommodation). Place are limited and costs are circulated to students in advance for students to choose to attend.
The renowned London College of Fashion library is at our John Prince’s Street site, and you will need to travel to this site, and possibly others, during your course to use the library, which is open seven days a week in term time, and for tuition and special events.
The information outlined is an indicative structure of the course. Whilst we will aim to deliver the course as described on this page, there may be situations where it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, for example because of regulatory requirements or operational efficiencies, before or after enrolment. If this occurs, we will communicate all major changes to all applicants and students who have either applied or enrolled on the course.
Please note that due to staff research agreements or availability, not all of the optional modules listed may be available every year.
In addition, the provision of course options which depend upon the availability of specialist teaching, or on a placement at another institution, cannot be guaranteed. Please check this element of the course with the course team before making a decision to apply.
We will update this webpage from time to time with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact a member of the course team.
The Fashion Retail Management unit provides an introduction to the multidisciplinary field of fashion retail management. Taking an international perspective, it examines the retail environment, including an overview of fashion consumers and consumption trends. It surveys retail evolution within the context of omnichannel retailing, providing a thorough understanding of the cross channel strategies adopted by fashion retailers to gain competitive advantage. It includes exploration of business strategy concepts and an understanding of the main challenges fashion retailers face as they seek to navigate complex environments. It investigates the core operational elements of fashion retail business including financial aspects such as operational costs and efficiency approaches and how key performance indicators are set and used, the effective and efficient use of human resources to support the retail operation, the need to understand the fashion supply chain network, corporate social responsibility strategies, the opportunities for channel alignment within buying & merchandising practices, and an evaluation of retail places and spaces, location strategy and operational management.
The international fashion consumer increasingly seeks the tangible and intangible benefits of a wide variety of local and international fashion brands. Fashion brands and their associated marketing communications have now reached revered status throughout the global economy. The design, development, marketing and retailing (DDMR) of fashion brands have now become an increasingly important and integrated part of many fashion businesses. In the Fashion Branding unit will investigate and examine all aspects of international fashion brand marketing and look at its significant modern growth from both a European and global perspective. This will enable you to acquire a sound theoretical and practical understanding of strategic fashion brand development and management.
The purpose of the Research Methods unit is to introduce you to the range of research methods, approaches and tools that are available to you in order to conduct your post graduate project. The unit will cover philosophy and ethics in research, primary and secondary research methods, including quantitative, qualitative and visual research methods, and how to analyse, evaluate and disseminate research findings. The unit will consider research in a range of contexts relevant to the cultural and creative industries and enable you to understand the relationship between theory and practice.
With the increasing globalisation of fashion retailers, a knowledge and understanding of international retail structures and systems are essential requirements for those wanting to pursue a management career in the fashion industry. The International Retailing Strategies unit will enhance your analytical and planning abilities in developing appropriate strategies for international market entry and expansion. The unit will equip you to analyse relevant theories and models and apply them to real fashion retailer situations. The internationalisation of retailer strategies through physical and virtual stores will be explored to guide new omnichannel and digital routes to market.
The Creative Retail Spaces unit provides a blend of theoretical and practice-based knowledge and skills, and examines a variety of visual strategies that can be applied to the retail environment. It considers the use of 2D (including online and virtual environments) and 3D design to present and communicate fashion. This will enable you to explore and develop the concept of customer experience with experiential and sensory design in a multi-channel environment, designing and implementing creative technologies to fit with the retail brand and exploration of the convergence of the physical and virtual store. As well as practice-based learning underpinned with theoretical knowledge, the process and leadership of the management of retail projects in independents, high street and luxury markets will be addressed through the established discipline of project management.
The Collaborative Unit is designed to enable you to innovate, engage in developmental processes and participate in collaborative working practices. You will be encouraged to develop the professional negotiating and networking skills that you will need in order to be successful in the cultural and creative industries. The nature of this collaboration may be within your own course, with students on other courses or with industry. The project that you undertake will depend upon your discipline and the specific requirements of your course. Further details will be available in your unit handbook.
Some recent project partnerships include the Diesel flagship store takeover, Ecco leather, Holition, Kering, Tateossian, Tom Ford Beauty and V&A along with projects at LCF’s Digital Anthropology Lab. 2016-17 saw 24 industry briefs with Diesel and Kering returning, together with Net a Porter, Martina Spetlova and Ottoman Hands to name a few.
The Masters Project is an important piece of work central to achieving the course aims, which will provide an opportunity for you to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in relation to the course learning outcomes. Throughout the Masters Project, you are guided and supported by tutorials and peer and staff evaluation at interim stages. You will be allocated a supervisor for your project and will complete a learning contract outlining how you intend to develop and deliver your project. The Masters Project may take a variety of forms by negotiation and is assessed by presentation in an agreed format.
All students are advised to set up a profile on portfolio.arts.ac.uk, UAL’s new portfolio platform, which can be done at any point during your time at LCF and will last for up to 12 months after graduation. This platform is often used to source student work for promotional use on the website, social media and for print and can be a great way of getting your work seen. You may also be asked to have a portfolio profile for the selection process when it comes to degree shows.
Bethan Alexander is the Course Leader for MA Fashion Retail Management. Bethan is a passionate spokesperson, consultant, senior lecturer and researcher with an expert lens on fashion business strategy, omnichannel retailing, retail futures and fashion brand management. Having spent 18 years working internationally in senior management roles with fashion brands including Converse, Elle, Kangol and establishing her own consultancy business, Brand Baker, Bethan brings the same verve to her academic role. Within Higher Education, Bethan has held senior lecturing positions at London College of Fashion, University of East London and has guest lectured at more than 15 global HE institutions. Bethan is a published author, international conference presenter and active researcher. Her research spans Multi-Sensory Fashion Retailing, Customer Brand Experiences Online and Offline and Innovative Retail Formats. Bethan holds a first-class Bachelor of Science degree in Consumer Product Management: Fashion, a Master of Science degree with distinction in Fashion Marketing & Distribution and a PG Certificate in Teaching & Learning for Higher Education. Bethan is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and was nominated in 2015 and 2016 by students for a Teaching Excellence Award – Winner and Highly Commended respectively. View research profile
Liz Gee is is Associate Dean (acting) of the Fashion Business School. Liz is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and as a Chartered Manager is a member of the CMI. Liz has fashion industry financial experience as Treasurer of Debenhams plc and as a Corporate Banker with Barclays plc. Liz completed her MA in Academic Practice at UAL in 2014 with a thesis on the pedagogy of enterprise and employability and recently received a UAL award for Teaching Excellence. Liz’s subject related research interests lie in new funding paradigms for fashion businesses and she is currently writing several chapters of a textbook of Strategic Fashion Management. Liz teaches on the Fashion Retail Management Unit for MA Fashion Retail Management.
Lisa Henderson is Lecturer in Human Resources Management (MSc International HRM; BA (Hons) Fashion Management; CMgr MCMI; Assoc CIPD). After graduating from LCF’s BA in Fashion Management, Lisa spent nearly 20 years in Retail Operations in the UK and Internationally working with SME's in operational and strategic roles. Gaining lots of real life experience in retail and in leading, managing and developing people and teams, Lisa found her passion in Human Resource Management and completed an MSc in International HRM at Kingston University before joining the Fashion Business School to teach across undergraduate & postgraduate courses. Lisa’s research interests include Future of the Workforce, Women in Retail and Generational Challenges. Lisa teaches on the Fashion Retail Management and International Fashion Retailing Units for MA Fashion Retail Management.
Matteo Montecchi is (acting) Fashion Management Programme Director. His expertise is strategic marketing for fashion, lifestyle and luxury products, digital and social media marketing for luxury brands and online retailing. He has extensive experience in teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level, including MBA and executive courses, both in the context of specialist fashion colleges and business schools. Previously Matteo worked at GCU London/The British School of Fashion where he held the position of Senior Lecturer and Course Director of the MBA Luxury Brand Management. Matteo’s research investigates how digital technologies and emerging social platforms influence the creation, development and management of fashion and luxury brands. His research interests also include legal and regulatory issues associated with the commercialisation of luxury products through various distribution channels in local and international markets. Matteo has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Economics (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia), an Executive Master in Marketing and Sales (SDA Bocconi School of Management and Esade Business School), a Master’s Degree by Research in Marketing (Birkbeck College, University of London) and a PgCert in Academic Practice (University of the Arts London). Matteo teaches on the Fashion Retail Management and Fashion Branding Units for MA Fashion Retail Management.
Dr Mirsini Trigoni holds a first class BA degree in Interior Design, Decoration and Product Design. She completed a MA degree in Art in Architecture and a PhD in set design, target audiences and visual communication. She has worked as an interior designer and display designer in Athens and in London. Her expertise lies in the field of interior design and visual communication, the relationship between commercial spaces and target audiences: how to use retail design, display design and visual merchandising so as to effectively target market segments and enhance a brand and its identity. Since 2009 she has been teaching at the University of the Arts on both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Her current research interests are: retail design, display design, visual merchandising, branding, media and visual communication- visual persuasion Mirsini teaches on the Creative Retail Spaces Unit for MA Fashion Retail Management.
Ana Roncha is Course Director for the Masters in Strategic Fashion Marketing at the London College of Fashion and lectures in the fields of Fashion Business Strategies, Strategic Branding, Marketing Communications and Marketing Management across the BA’s, MA’s and MBA’s. An experienced creative and strategic thinker with more than 12 years specialising in strategic marketing and brand development for the fashion and lifestyle industries. Experience working with established international brands, start up community, academia, international and regional organisations. Ana has a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Enterprise and Innovation and her research has been published in academic journals and featured in conferences worldwide. She holds a PhD in Design and Marketing Management for the Fashion Industry and previous degrees in Communication. Ana teaches on the Fashion Branding Unit for MA Fashion Retail Management.
Rosemary Varley teaches on the Fashion Retail Management Unit for MA Fashion Retail Management. View profile
Julie O’Sullivan is the Course Leader on the Post Graduate Certificate in Buying and Merchandising and teaches on the Fashion Retail Management and International Fashion Retailing Units for MA Fashion Retail Management. View profile
Emmanuel Silva is Course Leader for MSc Strategic Fashion Management at London College of Fashion for the Fashion Business School. Emmanuel teaches on the Research Methods Unit for MA Fashion Retail Management. View profile
Johnny Martin FCA is Entrepreneur in Residence for Fashion Business School at London College of Fashion. He is professionally, The Numbers Coach – an experienced director who now passionately explains business numbers and jargon to help young businesses find their business model. He is a British Library Business and IP Centre partner and runs regular workshops, as well as being a mentor for the Royal College of Art Innovation Unit.
We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and seek to recruit students from diverse socio-economic, cultural and educational backgrounds. We are committed to supporting all our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.
This section includes information on how to apply, course entry requirements and selection criteria.
Both Home/EU and international students can apply for this course using our online application form – the link to this is below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.
Alternatively, international applicants can apply through an overseas representative in your country.
You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:
Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.
Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will need to contact you separately to ask for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).
When you are submitting your application form, you will also need to provide the following pieces of documentation in support of your application:
You will be required to submit a Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) in support of your application. This should include your full education and employment history.
The personal statement is your opportunity to tell us about yourself and your suitability for the course that you intend to study. Please write no more than 500 words.
Some key points to consider:
Write a 500 word essay (excluding references/bibliography) on the following topic:
'The impact of omnichannel fashion retailing'
The study proposal proposal is an outline of a potential research project you intend to do for your final Masters project. At Masters level you must demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge and originality in its application. The Master's project is a chance to do this, applying what you have learnt to a focused research project.
The proposal should contain the following sections:
Note: this should be different to the essay on ‘The Impact of Omnichannel Fashion Retailing.
Entry to this course is highly competitive: applicants are expected to achieve, or already have, the course entry requirements detailed below.
Selection for interview will be made on the basis of your application, including the personal statement, written essay and outline Masters project proposal.
The course seeks to recruit students from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, and welcomes applications from mature students.
The course seeks to recruit students who can demonstrate:
All classes are conducted in English. The level required by the University for this course is IELTS 7.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in each skill.
The International Recruitment Office at the London College of Fashion will help to guide you through the application process and answer any specific questions that you may have regarding our courses. This may include portfolio advice, the application process and fee advice. We offer a ‘drop-in’ facility for applicants who may be in London and wish to obtain further course and admissions information. Please contact us for further information on this facility. We can also arrange a tour of our facilities if we are given prior notice.
International applicants should contact the Admission Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org about portfolio requirements (if applicable), interview times and dates.
This applies for the 2018/19 academic year.
Home/EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 (called the 'ELQ' fee). Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held. For enquiries relating to ELQ fees, please complete the course enquiry form.
This applies for the 2018/19 academic year.
In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.
Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.
There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.
On successful completion of the MA Fashion Retail Management, graduates actively contribute to the development of retail management, whether that be in international development, brand management, buying and merchandising, store operations, research or creative direction. They will be equipped with the critical, professional and creative skills required to flourish in a range of different sectors within the retail industry from start-up businesses to multinational fashion retailers and luxury brands.
The MA also provides an excellent preparation for higher level research degrees (MPhil or PhD) in fashion related subjects, in theory or practice.
Graduate destinations include Net A Porter, Stylus, ASOS, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Harrods, Monsoon, TM Lewin, H&M, Fendi, Coach, Louis Vuitton, LVMH, Mood Media, L’Oreal Luxe, Kering Group, Christian Dior, Fenwick, Michael Kors, Zara, Inditex, Karen Millen, John Lewis, Accessorize, House of Fraser, May Concepts, COS, Zalando, Ebeltoft Group Retail Consultancy, King Power, Stone Gaming Platform, Trendy International Group, Hudson Holdings, Hudson’s Bay Company, Harvey Nichols, Bloomingdales, Ounass, Design Republic, JW Anderson, Longchamp, Calvin Klein, 5xThinking digital consultancy, The Fashion B.A.R.N., Cartier, Fred Perry, Gaysorn Group, Toppy, Diesel, Liverpool, Jack Wills, Brush Agency, Kanjana, Selfridges, Nakama Global, G2000, Salvatore Ferragamo, C&A, The MySale Group, Stylus, American Eagle Outfitters, Comprador, Pivot Marketing Group, Global Fashion Group, More & More, plus entrepreneurs of own retail business start-up.