MSc Strategic Fashion Management
A course for those seeking a high-flying career in supply chain, merchandising, financial and people management in the global fashion industry.
This course has places available for UK and EU applicants. Once you've read the ‘How to apply’ information, apply using the link above. For a full list of UAL courses open for 2017/18 entry, including others available at LCF, visit the Places available page.
BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising prepares you for a successful career working in the global fashion industry in the specialised areas of buying and merchandising.
This course 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.
Take a tour of LCF's world renowned fashion library, ideal for research and study.
Take a tour of our fashion business facilities at John Prince's Street and High Holborn.
Explore our social spaces, for collaborative study and breaks, across our six sites in London.
BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising 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 LCF Carerers Live - our jobsboard - continued support after graduation.
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)
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.
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.
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 Strategyunit. 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.
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 a PGCE and 17 years of teaching experience in higher education, principally as pathway and course leader. Her subject specialism in buying, supply chain, product development and sustainability and the supervision of dissertations in the final year. In her academic life she has a breadth of knowledge of curricular development, widening participation and learning and teaching co-ordination and personal tutorship. The course is highly regarded by industry and Chloe is the Diploma in Professional Studies Industries (DiPS) placement co-ordinator and regularly visits students in the head offices of fashion brands in their placement year. As the course is so industry focussed most of the assignment briefs are industry linked and as such there is many collaborations and projects to be organised with brands such as Levi’s Asos, John Lewis and Whistles. Her previous life was as a Buyer for Urban Outfitters, French Connection and George at Asda buying across the categories of ladies, men’s and children’s outerwear and underwear has given her the experience to spread her knowledge and help nurture students and enjoy their progress through the 3 or 4 years that they are with the Fashion Buying and Merchandising course.
Stephanie Liberman is a Lecturer in Fashion Buying and Merchandising. Following a 22 year buying career she moved into teaching with the aim to inspire the next generation. Product speciality areas include buying lingerie, swimwear, knitwear and stationery and working for multi-channel retailers Debenhams, Very.co.uk, Sainsburys and Paperchase. She has also run her own lingerie boutique. Having started teaching and developing short courses for Artscom she then became Course Leader for the BA (hons) Fashion Marketing at Regent’s University London before re-joining LCF.
Katie de Ley is a Lecturer in Fashion Buying and Merchandising at LCF. She has an inherent passion for fashion and the clothing industry having been involved in selecting the clothing range for her family's chain of franchised Benetton stores from a young age. In her career, Katie has worked as a Merchandiser for Etam PLC, House of Fraser, Arcadia Group and Mosaic Fashions.
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.
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, selection criteria, information about interviews and portfolio advice.
You must apply through Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), where you’ll need the following information:
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.
Contact us on:
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7514 7344
Or you can use the UAL Course Enquiry Form
Please note that the equal consideration deadline was 15 January.
For full details on the application process, visit the Undergraduate application page.
This section includes information on how to apply, course entry requirements, selection criteria, information about interviews and portfolio advice.
International applicants may apply through one of three routes only:
Further information on applying via UCAS is provided on the Applying through UCAS page.
If applying through UCAS, you will need the following information:
For applicants who want to apply directly to UAL, the direct application form may be found here:
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.
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:
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.
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.
What we look for
The course team seeks to recruit students who can demonstrate:
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:
All application forms, personal statements and references are read and considered by the course team against the selection criteria listed in the Entry requirements and What we look for sections.
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.
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.
Applicants on some courses may be invited to attend an Interview. Further details will be sent to you with your interview letter, confirming location and date. International applicants should contact the Admission Office by emailing email@example.com about portfolio requirements (if applicable), interview times and dates.
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.
Please note: 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.
This applies for the 2017/18 academic year.
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 years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our Undergraduate tuition fees page for more information.
This applies for the 2017/18 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.
All of 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.
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 Zalander, Top Shop, JD Sports, 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.
I graduated from the BAFBM course in 2012 and my Buying career started with a bit of good luck - I completed work experience at John Lewis and off the back off that was offered to interview for a Buying Administrator role in Men’s Own Brand Casualwear. I was successful and started before I graduated! I have since been promoted to Assistant buyer and have spent time in Men's Accessories, Children's Shoes and Toys.
Holly Clark, Alumni and Assistant Buyer at John Lewis
Know The Origin is a fairtrade and organic fashion label based in East London. We create Mens and Womenswear essentials from producers around India, from cotton farm through to final factory. We visit every producer to be sure that people are paid fairly and valued for their work.
Charlotte Instone, founder of www.knowtheorigin.com, graduated in 2015