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Undergraduate

BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising

Close up of jewelled fabric.
BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising. © University of Arts London
College
London College of Fashion
Start date
September 2021
Course length
3 years / 4 years (with placement year in industry)
UCAS code
2F32

BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising builds understanding of the global fashion market. The course teaches essential skills to equip students to apply for entry level buying and merchandising roles and those in related areas.  Subjects taught include sustainability, trend research, product development, supply chain management and trading. The future of fashion business is also a significant focus.

Why choose this course at London College of Fashion

    • Where graduates have gone on to work: graduates of this course are now working in merchandising and buying roles at companies including Yoox, Net-a-Porter, Urban Outfitters, Lipsy, Mulberry, The White Company, ASOS, H&M and River Island.
    • Industry links: students will have the opportunity to work with industry on collaborative projects, as well as having the opportunity to undertake an optional placement year. Current students are working for Nike, H&M, Disney, Rixo and ASOS.
    • Textile institute associateship level accreditation: BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising students can enjoy membership benefits and graduates may apply to join the Textile Institute as Graduate members.

Fashion Means Business 2020

Discover more about the Fashion Business School digital takeover including panel events with course leaders and guest speakers, and highlights from this year's UAL Graduate Showcase.

Fashion Means Business 2020

Location

The course is based at High Holborn. Find out about the local area, including Lincoln’s Inn Fields and Clerkenwell, in our local area guides on the Student Life pages.

London College of Fashion is planning to move to a new single campus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2023. This is part of a new development for London, prioritising culture, education and innovation, known as East Bank. Some students studying this course from September 2021 may start their studies in Lime Grove and transfer to LCF’s new site in East London to complete them. Please see LCF’s move to the Olympic Park for more information about the College’s relocation.

Textile Institute logo

TEXTILE INSTITUTE

BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising (BA FBM) has been awarded Associateship level accreditation, CText ATI, by the Textile Institute. Internationally recognised, the Textile Institute is the chartered professional body for all the textile, clothing and footwear industries. As a student on this course you are eligible to apply for LTI (Licentiateship) when you graduate and CText ATI (Associateship) after one year working in industry (normally this would take 5 years). This qualification demonstrates to employers that as well as academic knowledge you have the vocational skills needed in the workplace. The qualification is globally recognised and internationally transferrable.

Each year, London College of Fashion hosts a Fashion Business School Summit, showcasing the graduate talent from the fashion business courses. The event includes, talks, workshops and student work.

Collaborative Student Project with ASOS - Fashion Business School at London College of Fashion

Retail Futures presented in association with Shaftesbury PLC: Fashion Business School Summit 17

Latest news from this course

Facilities

Library, John Princes Street
Library, John Princes Street Photography by: Ideal Insight

LCF library and archives

Take a tour of LCF's world renowned fashion library, ideal for research and study.

Business facilities at JPS and High Holborn

Fashion business facilities

Take a tour of our fashion business facilities at John Prince's Street and High Holborn.

Canteen, Mare Street
Canteen, Mare Street Photography by: Ideal Insight

LCF's social spaces

Explore our social spaces, for collaborative study and breaks, across our six sites in London.

Course overview

Introduction 

BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising explores all levels of the market from value-orientated retailers to luxury brands. 

What to expect 

  • Students will learn the importance of developing fashion awareness and business acumen through the analysis of buying and merchandising practice in both established, and new and emerging organisations.  

  • Students will explore the strategic relationship between a fashion business and its customers.  

  • Students will learn how businesses can develop through establishing different retail formats and entering new markets.  

  • The course incorporates theoretical, historical and professional study. 

Work experience and opportunities 

Students will be given the opportunity to undertake collaborative projects with other students, simulating industry practice. Students will also gain industry relevant knowledge by working with a prestigious fashion company. National and international industry professionals are an integral part of study, with industry providing guest lectures and student projects. The opportunity to undertake an optional industry placement year between the second and final year of the course enhances the employability of students by offering valuable experience and contacts within the industry as well as earning an additional Diploma in Professional Studies qualification. 

Mode of study 

BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising runs for 90 weeks in full time mode. It is divided into 3 stages over 3 academic years. Each stage lasts 30 weeks. 

Course units

In Stage 1 (Year 1) you are required to complete 120 credits at level 4 in order to progress to Stage 2 (Year 2):

  • Introduction to Fashion Buying (20 credits)
  • The Principles of Buying and Merchandising (20 credits)
  • Professional Skills Portfolio (20 credits)
  • Product Development (20 credits)
  • Fashion Cultures and Histories (20 credits)
  • Better Lives (20 credits)

In Stage 2 (Year 2) you are required to complete 120 credits at level 5 to progress to Stage 3 (Year 3):

  • Research Methods for Fashion Business (20 credits)
  • Critical Issues in Fashion Research (20 credits)
  • Merchandise Planning and Trading (20 credits)
  • Retail Concept Development and Product Management (40 credits)
  • Work Experience Based Learning (20 credits)

The Diploma in Professional Studies carries 120 credits, and constitutes an independent award. Credits achieved on the Diploma are not part of the final degree award.

The Diploma year is a single unit, undertaken as a form of full time study, with placement activity at its core. For those who take up the option of studying the Diploma, the experience is designed to be an integrated and assessed part of a student’s journey through the course. It allows students the opportunity to experience the atmosphere, pace and discipline of working in the industry, through total involvement in the day-to-day activities of a company. It will build on the knowledge gathered through course work to practically demonstrate the roles and functions, and operations typical of the fashion industry and the student’s chosen specialism.

In Stage 3 (Year 3) you are required to complete 120 credits at level 6:

  • Futures and Innovation (20 credits)
  • Fashion Buying and Merchandising Strategy (40 credits)
  • Final Major Project (60 credits)

Students successfully completing Stage 3 will be awarded the degree BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising.

A 20-credit unit is approximately equivalent to 200 hours of learning time, which includes a mixture of taught time, independent study and assessment.

Learning and teaching methods

The following teaching and learning methods are employed to support the integrated aims of the course outcomes:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Tutorials
  • Visiting Speakers
  • Self-directed study
  • Collaboration

Assessment methods

The following assessment methods are employed to support the integrated aims of the course outcomes:

  • Individual and group projects
  • Summative testing
  • Self-evaluation
  • Exams
  • Essays
  • Business reports
  • Presentations
  • Industry projects
  • Final major project

Staff

Zoe Hinton is the course leader. She has an extensive background in retail, having spent almost 15 years in industry across various retailers. She ran buying teams at House of Fraser and New Look, managing the departmental finance to repeatedly deliver record profits. She spent her time in multi-product areas, buying products across categories and working with factories all over the world. She holds an external examiner post at Instituto Marangoni in both London and Paris, and has also taught for both Conde Nast College of Fashion and Milano Politecnico. She has a PGCERT in Academic practice at distinction level, and is a Fellow of the HEA. Zoe has a keen interest in student engagement and digital pedagogy, as well as experimentation with online platforms and interactive sites in order to improve student experience, and has published research regarding this.

Chloe Mason's has a breadth of knowledge of curricular, development, widening participation and learning and teaching co-ordination and personal tutorship. 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.

Nicole Dunlop is the programme director. Nicole's career began with a degree in clothing and management at Manchester University where she was sponsored by Marks & Spencer, this also included a short spell in Paris at the Sorbonne. She started her career with Jaeger, as a member of their buying team, and eventually moved on to become the sourcing manager for Adams. Having gained a qualification for marketing with the CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) Nicole moved on to manage various consultancy projects with various retailers throughout Europe including Etam, Graduate Fashion Week, Harrods, Karstadt, La Rinascente, London Fashion Week, Matalan, Tencel, and Wrangler. She ultimately became head of marketing for the Hunter family of brands (best known for their iconic green welly), transforming it from the historic workwear brand into the fashion icon that it is today. Nicole gained a distinction in her Post Graduate Teaching degree and has extensive experience teaching at degree and masters level at several London business Universities, and CIM.

Ginny Hutt is a lecturer in Buying and Merchandising and started teaching at UAL after a 30 year career in buying. She is a direct sourcing specialist, and has extensive experience working for UK and international brands such as Arcadia, BHS, F&F at Tesco and Ralph Lauren where she was Buying Director. Ginny loves product and has covered most garment types during her career, working across Menswear, Womenswear, Childrenswear, Sportswear and Footwear. Ginny loves to share her experience and knowledge with students. She is the DiPS placement year leader and works with students to support them with their placements.

Mikael Persson is fashion lecturer in Future and Innovation, Creative Digital and Visual Communications. He graduated with a degree in Design Technology for the Fashion Industry followed by experience working with brands such as Michiko Koshino and Alexander McQueen and ran a London-based fashion streetwear brand, delivering graphic printed apparels to trend savvy, ethically conscious millennials and Gen Z consumers.

Mikael entered fashion related education as a creative digital specialist to develop a strategy for delivering digital skills to fashion students based on industry demand. In addition to completing a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) for Post Compulsory Education Mikael has also completed a Post Graduate Cert in Learning and Teaching Art and Design at Higher Education, from which he achieved a 1st.

His ongoing research interests include current and future creative fashion tech, design and visual communication.

Working in the fashion industry is an exciting and challenging career.  Buyers are at the forefront of today's marketplace working at all levels from value to luxury.  The challenges of an every changing global economy attract students from around the world to learn their skills in London, one of the most attractive fashion capitals.  Live projects, industry speakers and professionals come together to offer a unique educational experience that aims to deliver the next generation of graduates for the Fashion Business School at London College of Fashion.

Stephanie Liberman, lecturer in Fashion Buying and Merchandising

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, 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.

Merchandising is the backbone of the Buying and Merchandising retail environment.  It requires someone who is strategic, analytical and results driven.  The BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising course at LCF teaches you the importance of meeting customer demands whilst balancing budgets and and making profit.  The key role of the Merchandiser is to minimise risks whilst optimising opportunity - the Merchandiser has to ensure the right stock is delivered to the right stores at the right time!

Katie de Ley, lecturer in Fashion Buying and Merchandising

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.

There is such a requirement for developed skills to support the successful global retailers of the future . Courses provided by LCF gives students insight to the ever changing and demanding world of fashion retailing. The College equips students for a greater understanding of the principles and methods employed within the industry and gives them an introduction to the reality of working within successful trading businesses.

Lois Baile, lecturer in Fashion Buying and Merchandising

Lois Baile is a part-time lecturer in Fashion Buying and Merchandising at LCF. She started her career in the late 1980s through a merchandising route leading to UK and international directorships within major corporate fashion multi channel retailers. She has extensive experience of planning, trading , allocation and replenishment including change management within businesses to effectively prepare for strategic redirection. Her career started within the Arcadia Group and progressed with BHS, Debenhams , House of Fraser, New Look, First Friday ( consulting and training). The last 5 years have been spent abroad working in Italy and Turkey for Global Retailers Bata, LC Waikiki and Defacto.

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.

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on disability@arts.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:

One or a combination of the following accepted full level 3 qualifications.

  • A Level Passes at Grade C or above to total 96 new UCAS tariff points (preferred subjects include Maths, Economics, Business Studies, Science subjects, IT, Geography, Psychology and Languages);
  • Merit in Foundation Diploma in Art and Design;
  • at least Merit, Merit, Merit BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Merit in UAL Extended Diploma;
  • Access Diploma with at least 45 credits at Merit level or 96 tariff points from the Access to HE Diploma;
  • 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 such as International Baccalaureate Diploma;
  • and six GCSE passes at grade A*-C or grade 9-4, with a grade B or 6 for Maths.

APEL (Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning)

 

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, 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

 

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English Language Requirements

IELTS level 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Please check our main English Language Requirements .

Selection criteria

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

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.

Making your application

This section includes all the information you need on how to apply and how your application is considered, and what happens next.

You should apply through UCAS – Universities and Colleges Admissions Service – and you will need the following information:

University code:          U65

UCAS Code:                 2F32

Deferring your place

This course allows offer holders to defer. If you have an offer of a place, but you would like to defer starting for a year, please contact our Admissions Service as soon as possible via your UAL Portal. Make sure you check our Admissions Policy before requesting a deferral.

If you are an EU offer holder, it is important to consider that, from 2021-22, you may be charged International fees, which are higher. Read our Coronavirus guidance for prospective students for details.

Transfers

If you are currently studying somewhere else on a course in an equivalent subject area and would like to transfer to this course, you can transfer to:

  • Year 2 - if you’ve completed 120 credits in Year 1.
  • Year 3 - if you’ve completely 240 credits in Years 1 and 2.

Apply via UCAS and choose Year 2 or 3 for your POE (Point of Entry)

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and Year 1/Year 2 unit transcripts.

Please be ready to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15th January for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

What happens next

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 Selection Criteria sections.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

If you applied through UCAS the result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS through UCAS Track. 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.

This section includes all the information you need on how to apply and how your application is considered, and what happens next.

There are three ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at London College of Fashion:

If you choose to apply though UCAS – Universities and Colleges Admissions Service – you will need the following information:

University code:          U65

UCAS Code:                 2F32

You can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UCAS, UAL Representative or using the UAL online application system. Any duplicate application will be withdrawn.

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page.

Deferring your place

This course allows offer holders to defer. If you have an offer of a place, but you would like to defer starting for a year, please contact our Admissions Service as soon as possible via your UAL Portal. Make sure you check our Admissions Policy before requesting a deferral.

Transfers

If you are currently studying somewhere else on a course in an equivalent subject area and would like to transfer to this course, you can transfer to:

  • Year 2 - if you’ve completed 120 credits in Year 1.
  • Year 3 - if you’ve completely 240 credits in Years 1 and 2.

Apply via UCAS and choose Year 2 or 3 for your POE (Point of Entry)

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and Year 1/Year 2 unit transcripts.

If you are an International applicant and studying outside the UK, please complete your Direct application and then contact us via your UAL Portal to ask to be considered for Year 2/Year 3.

Please be ready to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15th January for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

What happens next

Immigration History Check

Whether you are applying online via UCAS or through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History Check to identify whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  Do be aware, if you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

Initial application check

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 Selection Criteria sections. If the academic team wish to consider your application further, you will be invited to attend an interview - these will take place online using Teams from Microsoft – please ensure that you download this software prior to the interview date; this is available as a free download from the Microsoft website. We will send you further details at a later point about how we will connect with you for your interview. At interview an international academic will ask you questions to establish your suitability for the course.

If you are successful at the interview stage you will be offered a place. Applicants are not guaranteed to be asked to attend an interview.

Please note that if you are unable to attend interview, the College may not be able to re-schedule.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

If you applied through UCAS the result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS through UCAS Track. If you have applied directly or through an agent, we will notify you through the UAL portal. 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.


After you apply

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this Portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Once we’ve reviewed and assessed your application, we’ll contact you via UCAS Track or the UAL Portal to let you know whether your application has been successful.

Potential changes to course structure

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.

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 use this register your interest form.

Fees and funding

Home fee

£9,250 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students.

Home fees are currently charged to UK resident nationals . However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, depending on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students.

International fee

£22,920 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course.

Students from countries outside of the UK are currently charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about our tuition fees.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, depending on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

All of our undergraduate courses offer career development, so that you become a creative thinker, making effective contributions to your relevant sector of the fashion industry.

LCF offers students the opportunity to develop Personal and Professional Development (PPD) skills while studying through:

  • An on-course work experience or placement year. Please note, this is not available on every course; please see the Course Details section for information about work placement opportunities.
  • Access to to speaker programmes and events featuring alumni and industry.
  • Access to careers activities, such as CV clinics and one-to-one advice sessions.
  • Access to a graduate careers service
  • Access to a live jobsboard for all years.
  • Advice on setting up your own brand or company.

Graduates who wish to continue their education at postgraduate level can progress to suitable courses within the College, the University or elsewhere.

Career paths

Students have gained employment in a variety of roles in Buying and Merchandising with a number of companies including Matches, John Lewis, Marks and Spencers, H&M and Topshop. The transferable skills students have acquired have also seen our alumni progress into aligned roles in areas such as supply chain, visual merchandising, and marketing. 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 Yoox Net-a-Porter, Phase 8, The White Company, Lipsy, Zalando, 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.