Introduction to Fashion Buying 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.
The Professional Skills Portfolio unit introduces the core skills required to develop a career in buying and merchandising. Through focused lectures and workshops you will develop excel skills to manage and manipulate merchandising data. You will develop technical competence in creative digital software and create a portfolio of work to evidence your creative communication applicable to the workplace. The unit will support the exploration of roles and opportunities within buying and merchandising, help you understand your skill levels and reflect on your strengths and interests for your professional development. Guidance will be given to help you become ‘industry ready’ by creating a CV, covering letter, developing your job search skills and interview techniques. You will develop your numerical ability to meet standards required by industry via an equivalent numeracy test.
The Product Development unit you will examine the processes and procedures of product development within the fashion retail industry. You will examine how ranges are researched, planned, sourced and developed by the buying and merchandising team in conjunction with other key stakeholders. You will explore the sales and trend analysis and the product development process to satisfy the needs of the demanding consumer. The unit will address the current issues involved in sourcing and manufacturing fashion products from an ethical and sustainable perspective to the required levels of quality, delivery and cost. Key to planning a successful range will be the ability to utilise your creative, commercial and business acumen as well as the ability to manage a critical path. You will develop skills to communicate, present and collaborate with others in your group in order to effectively showcase your work.
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.
London College of Fashion, UAL (LCF) is a leader in fashion design, media and business education. We have been nurturing creative talent for over a century, offering courses in all things fashion. We encourage students to examine the past and challenge the present. To have inventive, assertive ideas that challenge social and political agendas. We give students the skills, opportunities – and above all, the freedom – to put those ideas into practice. By leading the way in fashion design, business, and the media, we influence culture, economics and our society. This unit will provide you with a solid understanding of LCF’ core values and how they connect to your practice. As part of this unit you will explore diversity, social responsibility and sustainability, themes which you will then apply to a selected project. At this stage the emphasis is on how you apply your thinking across these important themes to your practice. Your thinking is more important than a finished piece of work at this point. Fashion can change lives. Through teaching, specialist research, and collaborative work, this unit will get you thinking differently. We want you to use fashion to examine the past, build a sustainable future and improve the way we live. That’s why we call this unit ‘Better Lives’.
The Research Methods for Fashion Business unit gives you the opportunity to develop your research skills in order to lay the foundations for future self-directed projects. With a focus on emerging consumer needs and sustainable business models you will apply your primary and secondary research skills to become a self-directed learner. You should demonstrate academic underpinning, evaluative thought processes and investigative skills. This will provide you with the confidence to undertake an in depth review of a specific area within the fashion business environment. A range of primary research methods will be designed and evaluated and there will be a detailed investigation and evaluation of the secondary data available to you through the College and University library and e-library. You will be shown how to manage the research process and how present your insights in context of the fashion industry.
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.
Merchandise Planning and Trading unit you will apply your understanding of Buying and merchandising processes to the creation of a stock assortment and the evaluation of trading and risk management options. The aim is to optimise profit through an agile and resilient approach to trading. The assortment should be fully coordinated and integrated in order to ensure that the stock is delivered at the right price to the right locations, in the right quantity, at the right time. You will be introduced to space management techniques such as product placement and adjacencies to ensure the planned range entices the shopper whilst promoting brand values. Building on existing knowledge of the fashion supply chain, you will be equipped to actively take part in industry meetings for future projects or in the workplace.
Retail Concept Development and Product Management unit you will be given the opportunity to explore emerging fashion business models, market opportunities and product management solutions in the context of a live industry brief. You will showcase your creative, commercial and decision-making skills by developing a business concept that satisfies an emerging opportunity within the wider context of the global fashion industry. This unit builds upon your understanding of sustainable product development, merchandising, business planning principles and research methodologies you have developed over the duration of your course. By refining your business presentation and communication skills you will learn to articulate a convincing and engaging proposal that is well structured and commercially viable.
The Work Experience Based Learning unit gives you the opportunity to apply your subject knowledge in a work-based context. This could be a work placement or internship, a live industry consultancy or a simulated industry project within the fashion industry. You will undertake an industry scoping exercise to identify suitable opportunities for your work based learning experience and deliver a reflective account of this and assess your performance against appropriate professional criteria.
Diploma in Professional Studies (optional professional placement year)
The Diploma in Professional Studies (the Diploma) is a University of the Arts London Award for a period of professional placement of at least 30 weeks duration. The placement is undertaken after successful completion of stage 2 of the four-year Bachelor’s degree or a five-year integrated Master’s degree. The 30 weeks must be completed in full.
The Diploma in Professional Studies aims to:
- develop an appreciation of the culture and practice of the work place;
- put course content and study into perspective;
- develop transferable skills;enhance students' opportunities for career or academic progression.
There is flexibility to combine a placement in industry either in the United Kingdom or overseas (of at least 20 weeks) with a period of studying abroad (of at least 10 weeks). It is recommended that the placement in industry be with one organisation for a minimum of 30 weeks (if you are not undertaking a period of studying abroad) to benefit fully from your placement experience. In exceptional circumstances more than one placement in industry can occur to meet the minimum requirements for the award of the Diploma. During the placement, your academic studies continue through the compilation of a written report and reflection, which focuses on the opportunities and challenges relating to the professional placement. This not only continues the development of your study skills but also allows the ongoing development of your research, analytical and evaluative skills.
In the 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.
Showing your work
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.