BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising
Places available 2017/18
This course has places available. View the ‘How to apply’ section on this page for more details. For a full list of UAL courses open for 2017/18 entry, including others available at London College of Fashion, visit the Places available page.
This fashion buying and merchandise course prepares you for a successful career working in the global fashion industry in the specialised areas of buying and merchandising.
Use UAL's fees and funding calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.
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|Study Mode||Full time|
|Course Length||3 years / 4 years (with placement year in industry)|
Tuition fees for undergraduate degree courses have been set at £9,250 per year for full-time study. This applies from the 2017/18 academic year, subject to changes in the law. Tuition fees may increase in future academic years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our Undergraduate Tuition Fees page for full information on tuition fees.
Use UAL's fees and funding calculator as a guide to how much your studies may cost in your first year.
Fees are subject to an inflationary increase as students progress through their course.
Use UAL's fees and funding calculator as a guide to how much your studies may cost in your first year.
|Autumn Term Dates||25 Sep - 8 Dec 2017|
|Spring Term Dates||8 Jan - 16 Mar 2018|
|Summer Term Dates||16 April - 22 June 2018|
|Application Deadline||Open for 2017/18 entry. Applications for 2018/19 entry will open in Autumn 2017.|
Content and structure
BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising is situated in the School of Management and Science, which is a member of the Association of Business Schools. It is a highly specialised course designed for individuals who want to work in the fashion industry in the areas of buying and / or merchandising. The course is situated in the fashion business programme and facilitates your understanding of the structure of the global fashion market, trend research, design and product development, garment sourcing, supply chain management, range planning and distribution, visual communication, sales analysis and profit management. You will consider how the strategic contribution of buying and merchandising to the long term development of a fashion business works through the inclusion of internationalisation, sustainability, customer enhancement, business strategy, leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation. The course explores all levels of the market from value orientated retailers to luxury brands. You will learn the importance of developing fashion awareness and business acumen through the analysis of buying and merchandising practice within both established and new and emerging organisations. The strategic relationship between a fashion business and its customers will be explored, and you will discover how a business can develop through establishing different retail formats and entering new markets. You will have the opportunity to place your practice in context through theoretical, historical and professional study. There are opportunities for collaborative projects with other students in the fashion business programme where you will gain industry relevant knowledge and practice by working with a prestigious company. National and international industry professionals interact with the course on projects, as visiting speakers, and through industrial visits. The opportunity for a placement year between the second and final year of the course enhances the employability of students through offering valuable experience and contacts within the industry. LCF Careers offer support throughout the course on increasing your career profile, and, through First Move, continue support after graduation.
BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising 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.
The course team arrange a variety of optional trips and visits to supplement your studies. These trips are often local and where possible provided at nil or reduced cost. Opportunities for extended trips to fashion industry events or areas of interest are usually offered in the first and second year and where these trips involve accommodation and travel costs we aim to offer good value for students.
Year One - Stage One - level 4 - 120 credits
Term One: Introduction to the Fashion Business for Fashion Buying and Merchandising (20 credits); The Principles of Fashion Buying and Merchandising (20 credits)
Term Two: Introduction to Cultural and Historical Studies (20 credits); Planning the Fashion Range (20 credits)
Term Three: Collaborative Project (40 credits)
Year Two - Stage Two - level 5 - 120 credits
Term One: Cultural and Historical Studies (20 credits); Visual Retail Planning (20 credits)
Term Two: Fashion Analysis and Trading (20 credits); Research Methods for Fashion Buying and Merchandising (20 credits)
Term Three: Fashion Buying and Merchandising Business Development Project (40 credits)
Professional Placement Year (optional)
Diploma in Professional Studies and Diploma Supplement
Final Year - Stage Three - level 6 - 120 credits
Term One: Futures and Innovation (20 credits)
Terms One and Two: Fashion Buying and Merchandising Business Strategy (40 credits)
Terms One Two and Three: Final Major Project (60 credits)
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.
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 structureThe 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.
Our excellent resources for educating our students are two-fold: people and premises. People includes everyone at the College who contributes directly in some way to your education, whether as a subject tutor, a technician, an Open Access officer, a librarian or a study support tutor. Premises include the buildings and the facilities contained in them, such as specialist machinery, design studios and workshops, lecture and seminar rooms, and the library.
The facilities at High Holborn include excellent lecture theatres, seminar and tutorial rooms and breakout spaces. The building is shared between the College and many of the central services of the University, including the Student Centre next to the Students’ Union, the Learning Zone and the Cafe and Bar.
Chloe Mason is the Course Leader. She has 15 years of teaching experience in further and higher education, specialising in buying, supply chain, product development and sustainability. She previously worked as Buyer at Urban Outfitters, French Connection and George at Asda.
Dan Henderson is the Developments Director for the School of Management and Science. His fashion industry experience includes working at Marks and Spencer and Debenhams as a Senior Buyer in Menswear and at Blacks Leisure and Fat Face as the Head of Buying for Clothing. His research interests centre on the role that fashion plays in the social hierarchy of football and rugby club supporters, and the impact this has on clubs managing their ‘own-label’ branded merchandise.
Rosemary Varley is the Subject Director (Marketing and Retail) and Research Coordinator for the School of Management and Science and is responsible for academic curriculum and research development. She teaches fashion brand strategy across courses and her research interests focus on the relationship between fashion brands and their retail environment. She has authored Retail Product Management, co-authored Principles of Retail Management, and presented a wide variety of conference papers.
Rob Lakin is the Creative Director of the Fashion Business School, and started his career designing fashion menswear, womenswear and childrenswear, working for a number of brands within Coats Viyella plc and the Sears Group plc. He has extensive experience of Far East product development, manufacturing, sourcing, and CMT operations. From 2008 to 2013 Rob headed up London College of Fashion’s Flexible Programme: a unique specialist portfolio of part time undergraduate courses representing Fashion Business, Fashion Media, and Fashion Design. He has been responsible for enhancing the student experience through the development of a creative curriculum, with a variety of live industry collaborative projects including CoolBrands, Brands Incorporated, and Amnesty International. Rob continues to make a major contribution to the creative identity of the School through the design and development of new courses aimed at international students allowing them to successfully prepare for an exciting academic undergraduate career at London College of Fashion.
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, matchesfashion.com, 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.
Developing your skills
All our undergraduate courses are concerned with the development of your personal and professional skills. On your course you will evolve from learning basic skills in your discipline through to a position where you are an independent creative thinker capable of making an effective contribution to the relevant sector of the fashion industry. Personal and Professional Development (PPD) skills are embedded in all units on every course. Speaker programmes with contributions from alumni, members of industry and others are a part of many courses, as are work placement opportunities in industry. Where relevant, students have the chance to attend trade fairs, enter industry competitions, visit exhibitions and go on field trips and visits. The central position of our John Prince’s Street site in the West End affords students easy access to all sectors of the fashion retail market. In addition, our position as a constituent College in the University of the Arts London means that our students have access to the wide range of activities and events that occur in all the Colleges and at the University’s centre. Last but not least, being in London gives every student opportunities to explore and be inspired by the cultural, intellectual and social life of one of the great capital cities of the world.
Future Careers and Graduate Prospects
Graduates who wish to continue their education at postgraduate level are encouraged to progress to suitable courses within the College, the University or elsewhere.
This is a new course so we have no graduates as yet. Graduates from the Foundation Degree in buying and merchandising, which is replaced by this course, have gained employment in a variety of buying and merchandising roles with a number of companies including Matches, John Lewis, Disney, Whistles, Jigsaw, ASOS, Debenhams, Marks and Spencers, Primark, Ralph Lauren, River Island, Finery, New Look, Harrods, Selfidge’s, Liberty’s, Ted Baker, Jaques Vert, H&M, AllSaints, TopShop, Reiss, Arcadia, Whistles, Jaeger, Burberry and ASOS. Two graduates from that course have moved into the visual merchandising field through the transferable skills they acquired, and are working as visual merchandisers at Abercrombie and Fitch and Urban Outfitters.
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.
- Visit LCF Careers
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
Entry to this course is highly competitive: applicants are expected to achieve, or already have, the course entry requirements detailed below.
The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:
- A Level Passes at Grade C or Above 96 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 220 old UCAS tariff points); preferred subjects include Maths, Economics, Business Studies, Science subjects, IT, Geography, Psychology and Languages;
- or Merit in Foundation Diploma in Art and Design;
- or at least an MMM BTEC Extended Diploma
- or Merit in UAL Extended Diploma;
- or Access Diploma with at least 45 credits at Merit level or 96 tariff points from the Access to HE Diploma;
- or 96 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 220 old UCAS tariff points) from a combination of the above qualifications or an equivalent full Level 3 qualification;
- or equivalent EU or non-EU qualifications;
- And six GCSE passes at grade A*-C with a grade B for Maths.
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; a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.
Applicants are expected to show evidence of work experience or placement.
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.
Student Selection Criteria
What We Look For
The course team seeks to recruit students who can demonstrate:
- Appropriate knowledge and skills commensurate with entry requirements for the course
- Clear academic interest in the study of buying and merchandising
- Evidence of intelligent independent thinking
- An engagement with analytical and evaluative activities
- The ability to communicate visually, verbally and in writing
This might, for example, may be demonstrated by: related academic or work experience preferably within a fashion retail store environment or a work placement at a fashion retailer; the quality of the personal statement, a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.
Applicants will be expected to evidence reasons in the application for:
- why you want to come on the course and what you will bring to the course
- an understanding of the different roles of buying and merchandising within the fashion industry
- an awareness of fashion and the role it plays in the culture of a society
- the ability to work in a team
- a motivation to succeed on the course
- a motivation for working in buying and merchandising in the fashion industry.
How to apply
You can apply online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
Go to ‘Apply’ from the UCAS home page, where you will be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your application form.
You will need the University code, the UCAS code for this course, and the deadline date for your application. You will find these on the Facts tab.
Contact us on:
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7514 7973 / 7582 / 7344
Or you can use the UAL Course Enquiry Form
International applicants may apply through one of three routes only:
Further information on applying via UCAS is provided on the Applying through UCAS page.
For applicants who want to apply directly to UAL, the direct application form may be found here:
For full details on the application process, visit the Undergraduate application page.
Applications for the academic year 2017/18 will be accepted from November.
We continue to accept applications throughout the year, but please note that the equal consideration deadline was 15 January.
For full details on the application process, visit the Undergraduate application page or contact the UAL admissions team who can answer any specific questions that you may have regarding LCF's courses tailored for international students. This can include guidance for your portfolio, advice on 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.
Deferred Entry is normally only allowed in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before you submit your application if you are considering applying for deferred entry.
What Happens Next?
All application forms, personal statements and references are read and considered by the course team against the selection criteria listed on the Entry Requirements tab, under What We Look For.
International applicants will undertake a business numeracy test and an interview (in person or by telephone) and the outcome will be communicated to you.
If you applied through UCAS the result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS through ucastrack. You will only receive further communication directly from the College if your application has been successful. This will be in the form of a full offer pack including details of accommodation, fees, and other important information.
Showing your Work
All final year students are given the opportunity to profile their work online via Showtime. London College of Fashion can make no guarantee that your work (either in sum or in part) will be shown, exhibited or profiled in any way as part of your course. All student work appearing in College organised events, catwalk shows, exhibitions and other forms of showcase, is selected by a panel of senior staff and, in some instances, external industry judges.
In the first term you will study two units.
Introduction to the Fashion Business for Fashion Buying and Merchandising introduces you to your course and its subject specialism as well as to effective learning and studentship at undergraduate level. It will orientate you to the practices and knowledge-base needed to understand your discipline and help you to develop your skills for independent & collaborative learning, reflection and your own self development. Students come from many diverse educational backgrounds and a part of this unit will enable to reflect on your own background and how that shapes the way you approach your course.
The Principles of Buying and Merchandising unit introduces you to the core aspects of the course and the shape of the modern fashion landscape. You will learn about the role of the fashion buyer and merchandiser, and the vital function that they perform within the fashion industry at both micro and macro levels. You will be introduced to the main key performance indicators that are used by the buying and merchandising team to monitor performance, along with key academic theories on segmentation, consumer profiling and the product life cycle. You will learn how the buying and merchandising specialisms work together in corporate planning and brand development.
In the second term you will study two units.
Introduction to Cultural and Historical Studies introduces you to key concepts and ways of thinking about fashion and its context in society and culture. You will attend lectures, seminars and workshops, and do a significant amount of reading of academic texts in order to complete a formal academic essay for assessment. Completion of this unit will allow you to make an informed choice of subject for study in the second year Cultural and Historical Studies unit.
Planning the Fashion Range looks at the processes and procedures of product development within the fashion industry. You will examine how ranges are researched, planned, sourced and developed by the buying and merchandising team in conjunction with the other key stakeholders. You will learn about the analysis of sales history and the interface between the prototype development process and the planning, organisation and control of factory production for the target customer. The unit investigates the current issues involved in the manufacture of fashion products to the required levels of quality, delivery, cost and safety from an ethical and global perspective.You will start to learn how to develop your creative, commercial and business insight, and how to manage a critical path.
In the third term you will undertake the Collaborative Project unit. This gives you the opportunity to work collaboratively with other students. This mirrors the real-world challenges faced by fashion enterprises that depend on close working relationships between departments. You will consolidate the knowledge and skills that you have already acquired, and the project will give you opportunities for fieldwork and research, as well as increasing your teamwork and presentation skills. The project will be concerned with the development and expression of brands in the marketplace, will have an operational focus, and will address key themes such as sustainability, ethics, entrepreneurship and globalisation. You will begin to look at the industry from a managerial viewpoint.
In the first term you will be able to study a Cultural and Historical Studies unit of your choice that will broaden or deepen your learning of areas relating to your interests in your chosen field. You will have the opportunity to participate in lectures, seminars and workshops with students from other courses within your School, and will read relevant academic texts and complete a formal academic essay for assessment.
Also in the first term, the Visual Retail Planning unit gives you an understanding of the importance of creating a ‘look-book’ and a visual layout plan which is fully coordinated and integrated. You will learn how the allocation process and logistics work so that the stock is delivered to the right stores, in the right quantity, at the right time. You will examine the primary elements of visual merchandising, such as window displays, in-store product placement and adjacencies, to ensure the planned range entices the shopper whilst promoting brand values and encouraging linked sales. You will look at current practice to establish the best solutions for various multichannel selling spaces. You will also explore commercial restraints on visual retail planning and risk management.
In the second term the Fashion Analysis and Trading unit gives you an understanding of the issues around profitability and in-season trading. Within this problem-solving unit you will be building and analysing spreadsheets, and investigating how buying and merchandising staff respond to trading performance on an ongoing basis. You will learn a variety of strategies and different approaches to trading and risk management that buyers and merchandisers can use to optimise profit, and this will be underpinned by key academic theories.
Also in the second term, the Research Methods for Fashion Buying and Merchandising unit gives you the opportunity to develop your research skills and lay down the foundations for research future projects. Academic underpinning, evaluative thought processes and problem-solving skills will be essential in demonstrating that you have the required tools to undertake an in depth critical review of a specific area within the fashion business environment. A full range of primary research methods such as focus groups, interviews and questionnaires will be designed and evaluated. You will also learn more about the secondary research resources available to you through the College and University library and e-library, and will be shown how to manage the research process and analyse and present your research findings in the context of the fashion industry.
In the third term you will undertake the Fashion Buying and Merchandising Business Development Project, which will give you the opportunity to undertake an individual or small group project that allows you to apply the underlying theoretical principles of buying and merchandising to the fashion industry. Your project will showcase your creative, entrepreneurial and decision-making skills by creating a business development plan which identifies and exploits a business opportunity arising from a gap in the marketplace, at the same time as producing an outcome with a feasible and realistic commercial application. You will use all the appropriate research methodologies learnt earlier to justify your viable, realistic and commercial business opportunity.
Professional Placement Year
You can opt to undertake the Diploma in Professional Studies (the Diploma), a University of the Arts London Award for a period of industrial placement of at least 30 weeks duration. The placement is undertaken during the third year of the four-year Bachelor’s degree during which you normally will be working full-time in a company. You will be able to experience the pace, atmosphere and discipline of working in the industry through your involvement in the day-to-day activities of a fashion business. This will give you practical experience of the roles, functions and operations in the fashion industry that you have studied on your course. There is flexibility to combine a work placement overseas (minimum 20 weeks) with a period of overseas study (minimum 10 weeks). You will be required to write a negotiated report on your placement, which will focus on issues or opportunities related to the placement company. This will develop your study skills and allow you to demonstrate your research, analytical and evaluative skills. Successful completion of the year will give you the additional qualifications of a Diploma in Professional Studies.
In the first term you will study Futures and Innovation unit. You will look at current issues affecting the fashion industry in general and buying and merchandising in particular. You will explore various trend indicators that are likely to point to important influencing factors in the future. Scenario planning and futures forecasting will be investigated, and the specific content of the unit will evolve as the fashion industry changes.
In the first and second terms you will undertake the Fashion Buying and Merchandising Fashion Strategy unit. This gives you the opportunity to develop your understanding of corporate strategy and business models, which will enable you to analyse fashion strategies at both corporate and business levels. You will also learn how to formulate strategic plans for businesses in different contexts, such as online and international markets. You can choose a specialist direction that reflects your career aspirations.
Throughout the final year you will do your Final Major Project. This gives you the opportunity to develop your project proposal from your initial idea, and negotiate your final project brief within the general area of buying and merchandising with your supervisor. This will reflect your particular interests and your future career aspirations, and the final outcome of your project will be a considerable body of work. This will be communicated to a relevant audience via an appropriate medium as the culmination of your project.
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.