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. Students develop product, market and consumer insight, an understanding of the supply chain and strong negotiating skills.

Graduating students from across the Fashion Business School took part in FBS Summit 16, a showcase of student work that included talks, film and products.

Hear from former students of the course

Justin Cooke, CEO of innovate7 (previously Chief Marketing Officer at Topshop and Vice President of PR at Burberry) speaks to LCF students on this fashion buying course.

Read more on LCF News

Justin Cooke, CEO of innovate7 (previously CMO at Topshop and VP of PR at Burberry) speaks to LCF students.


Course Leader

Julie O'Sullivan

Course Location

High Holborn and John Prince’s Street

Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length15 weeks
Home/EU Fee


International Fee


Start DateSeptember or January
Autumn Term Dates25 Sep - 8 Dec 2017 (January intake dates TBC)
Spring Term Dates8 Jan - 26 Jan 2018
Application Route

Direct to College

Application DeadlineApplications are accepted, and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Content and Structure

The Postgraduate Certificate Fashion: Buying and Merchandising is a fashion business course with a vocational focus on buying and merchandising. It combines a post graduate level academic experience with the vocational realities of retailer buying and merchandising operations. The course covers a range of vocational knowledge and skills for students seeking a career in fashion buying and merchandising, and develops knowledge of both theoretical and practical issues relevant to current practice in the UK buying and merchandising sector. This is integrated with practical professional skills in communication, negotiation and presentation. Distinctive features of the course are the strong links with fashion buying and merchandising offices in the UK and the opportunity afforded by the practical emphasis on skills negotiation in the final project.

The course is designed for graduates aiming at a first career position in fashion buying or merchandising but who need to supplement their first degree with a more relevant academic qualification. The course may also be suitable as a preparation for higher level postgraduate study in related subject areas.

The Postgraduate Certificate Fashion: Buying and Merchandising course is based at High Holborn, adjacent to Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Other green spaces in the area include Gray’s Inn Gardens and Coram’s Fields. Situated nearby are Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the Foundling Museum in Brunswick Square, and the British Museum in Bloomsbury. Markets worth visiting are the weekday lunchtime markets in Leather Lane and Exmouth Market. Covent Garden, with its numerous shops, bars and restaurants, the Royal Opera House and many of the West End’s theatres, is a ten minute walk away. The John Prince’s Street site, with the library, Oxford Street and Regent Street, is two tube stops along the Central line.

Course Structure

Weeks 1-10            level 7                        40 credits

Buying and Merchandising (20 credits)

Marketing and Supply Chain Management (20 credits)

Weeks 11-15            level 7                        20 credits

Integrated Project (20 credits)

Course Units

Unit One

In the Buying and Merchandising unit you will develop your understanding of the integration of buying, merchandising, design and garment technology functions in contributing to a fashion range. You will consider a variety of factors in range planning including commercially balanced groups of design options, lead times, the significance of pricing strategies, effective sourcing strategies, the movement of stock into and around the business, and the use of merchandising data to help in the development of a range plan.

Unit Two

In the Marketing and Supply Chain Management unit you will develop an understanding of the market context in which fashion buyers and merchandisers function and the commercial implications for product ranges. Factors affecting the supply chain are studied including product market strategies, and implications of external forces. You will study a typical supply chain for a large multiple fashion retail business and marketing mixes appropriate to UK and overseas markets in a multichannel environment.

Unit Three

Integrated Project This final unit provides you with an opportunity to apply the range of knowledge and skills developed on the course to a complex buying scenario requiring applied problem solving and negotiating skills. You will complete the project during the last five weeks of the course. The project will involve you preparing a response to a negotiation problem set within a hypothetical buying scenario between a clothing supplier and retailer. This will be conducted by allocating negotiating roles to teams of students, with individual and team responses.

Travelling across London

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.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. We strongly suggest you read the information on our Additional Costs page.

Course structure

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.

Webpage updates

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.


Julie O’Sullivan is the Course Leader on the Post Graduate Certificate in Buying and Merchandising. She has extensive cross-sector industry experience, including the luxury sector as the Merchandise Manager for Gucci in the UK. Her career in Higher Education began as the Business Development Manager for the Creative Industries at Brighton University. She has 12 years’ teaching experience developing and delivering fashion business curriculum and delivers across a number of courses in the Fashion Business School; including MA Strategic Fashion Marketing, MA Fashion Retail Management, MSc Cosmetic Science and BA Buying and Merchandising. Specialisms include the changing role of Buyers and Merchandisers, Sourcing and Supply Chain Management and Strategic Market Development.

Julie is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and was nominated in 2016 by students for a Teaching Award – Highly Recommended.

Craig Crawford is Founder of CrawfordIT, a London based consultancy that drives momentum and growth through digital innovation for brands such as Hugo Boss, Jaeger,, Diane von Furstenberg, MaxMara, and Tory Burch.  Prior to this, Craig Crawford was Burberry’s VP in IT Strategy, Architecture and Relationships for seven years. As a creative with nearly 30 years’ experience in global fashion brands, Craig is often referred to as “the right brain of IT.” Craig is also Chairman of Product Innovation Apparel, where he connects global industry leaders and technology innovators. He advises fashion tech start-ups in both the UK and US. His articles, videos, and webcasts appear on both sides of the Atlantic. As an Adviser for London College of Fashion, Craig brings industry relevance to the classroom.

Johnny Martin FCA is Entrepreneur in Residence 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 & IP Centre partner and runs regular workshops, as well as being a mentor for the Royal College of Art Innovation Unit.

Helen Beney is Programme Director for the Fashion Business Programme within the Fashion Business School. She has an MA in Higher Education, is a fellow of the Higher Education academy and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Helen has also been awarded her HEA (Higher Education Academy) Senior Fellowship as recognition for her impact and influence through leading and managing within a learning and teaching context. She has worked in the fashion industry for thirty years and has held Buying, Design  and Merchandising Director roles in a number of British brands including Arcadia. Helen specialises in product strategy and  consumer insight development.


Future Careers and Graduate Prospects

Some graduates from this course progress to suitable MA courses in the areas of business and management, while others enter employment in the industry, gaining entry-level (and above) positions in both fashion buying and merchandising departments of retail organisations. 

Graduates from 2015/16 cohorts have secured roles such as Trainee Assistant Buyers at Debenhams, Allocator at All Saints, Merchandising Assistant at JD Sports Fashion plc, Buyer Assistant at ASOS, Merchandising Trainee at Zalando, Buying Co-ordinator at Nike Amsterdam and Fashion Director at Cosmopolitan, Kazakhstan.

LCF Careers

LCF Careers provides a comprehensive career management service supporting our students to become informed and self-reliant individuals able to plan and manage their own careers.

Entry Requirements

Opportunities for All

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.

Course entry requirements

  • a good first degree (2.1 or above) (or equivalent) in fashion or business plus GCSE Mathematics grade C or above (or equivalent)
  • or sufficient relevant experience in the fashion industry (retail or manufacturing)
  • IT skills

Exceptionally, applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered if the course team judges the application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement; or a combination of these factors.                         

Student selection criteria

What we look for

The course team seeks to recruit students who can demonstrate:

  • an enthusiasm for fashion and awareness of current ideas
  • knowledge of the fashion industry and a strong vocational interest in buying and merchandising
  • an open minded approach and commitment to self development through analysis and willingness to experiment with new ideas
  • an ability to successfully complete a business numeracy test
  • computer literacy, preferably on a Microsoft Windows platform

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability when you enrol.

The level required by the University for this course is IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one skill.

Please visit the UAL Language Requirements page. Read carefully and look at the relevant documents.  

Interview advice

At interview, applicants will be expected to demonstrate an awareness of fashion and business in general and buying and merchandising in particular. You will be asked to complete a timed essay and business numeracy exercise under test conditions.

How to Apply

You 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.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:  

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history

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).

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the form, you will receive a confirmation email that includes links to where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process.

Curriculum Vitae

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. 

Before you start your application, please read the Guidance Notes for this course, as they give information on what to include in your application.

Guidance notes

Start your application now

Applications are accepted, and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Apply for September 2017 entry

Apply for February 2018 entry

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

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