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L4 Fashion Buying

   •  85% of grads go straight into job roles

   •  Includes unrivalled three week work placement to gain invaluable experience with a well known fashion brand

   •  Industry recognised for producing graduates who are job ready

This one year course will prepare you for a Buying role within a Head Office environment. Buyers work closely with merchandising teams to maximise profit and ensure that stock is exciting, contemporary and sells well in a competitive market.

You will balance practical and creative skills with theoretical studies to include communication, negotiation and presentation alongside supply chain, marketing and external factors which influence the development of a commercial product range.

Find out more about the life of a Buyer here.

Some of the key subjects covered include; customer profiling and consumer behaviour, trend history and development, turning trends into commercial range plans, garment technology, use of fabrics, costing and sourcing, manufacturing regions and critical path management. You will also study how Buyers respond to the ever changing fast pace of both in store and on line fashion. Merchandising is a key unit and students will learn how to interpret data using excel to industry standard.

You will be invited to attend a range of masterclasses from some of retails biggest names. Previous speakers have included ASOS; Chloe Miles – Fashion Blogger; Zalando; FRA Alumni Sorcha Kelly, Junior Merchandiser - Accessories at NET-A-PORTER; TK Maxx & New Look. During these sessions held in our state of the art lecture theatre, fashion retail experts advise and inform about a range of subjects affecting the industry with an interactive Q&A session at the end to enable students to have their say.

During these sessions held in our state of the art lecture theatre, fashion retail experts advise and inform about a range of subjects affecting the industry with an interactive Q&A session at the end to enable students to have their say.

This course is in its 7th year and has developed over 600 graduates with job roles in the industry.

Your day may include researching current trends using industry websites such as WGSN and Style sight in order to put together mood boards, to working with current product to develop ranges for different customer profiles.

You could be out comp shopping on the high street in order to prepare a report of recommendations for an industry head office team or listening to exciting industry speakers to inspire your journey towards becoming a Buying Admin Assistant (BAA).

This course includes a three week internship at a high street brand aimed at developing on the job skills to enable graduates to go straight into the workplace with unrivalled hands on experience.

Previous Buying students have worked with River Island to develop a new concept for Chelsea girl and design a 20 piece capsule collection, taking into consideration lead time and costings. They also had to consider how they would promote and launch the collection.

The winning students were offered internships opportunities with RI and in many cases offered permanent positions.

This course is a direct route into industry and can lead to a variety of career paths including BAA, MAA, Allocators, Buyer’s Clerk, Sourcing & Supply Chain.

Awarding Body: University Arts London

Age Requirement: 18+

Start date: September 2018

Course duration: One year (two days per week)

Entry Criteria: 
1 A-Level or the equivalent grade C or above and 5 GCSE’s grade 4/5-9 including Maths and English or 5 GCSE's A*-C grade including Maths and English, or a BTEC National Diploma or NVQ level 3, or a one year one year foundation diploma in Art and Design plus 5 GCSE’s grade 4/5-9 including Maths and English or 5 GCSE's A*-C grade including Maths and English. Please provide us with a NARIC Statement of Comparability, if you have any non-UK qualifications. We will not be able to process your application without this information.

Applicant Guidance:  Applicants should demonstrate an interest in fashion and retail, looking at high street trends.

Interview: Interviews take place at The Fashion Retail Academy, or online by Skype or Facetime (in exceptional circumstances). If successful, you will usually receive an offer by post within two weeks of your interview.

Fees: If you are 16-18 as of 31st August in the academic year of which your course starts and are a UK resident you will be eligible for full fee remission and do not have to pay any tuition fees.

If you are 19 or over at the start of your course your fees are £4220 per annum. For a full list of course fees please visit our Fees page. Advanced Learning Loans will be available for anyone aged 19 or over. Click this link to find out more about course fees.

Disclaimer on fees: Tuition fees are subject to change - the fees due are effective at enrolment.

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Meet The Tutor

Meet The Tutor

Debbie Taylor, L4 Buying & Merchandising Tutor.

Debbie joined Selfridges as a graduate trainee where she spent 2 years working across all levels of head office before finding her true vocation in Fashion Buying. Over a career spanning 20 years she travelled the world in pursuit of new brands and concepts, working with some of the world’s most famous designers and attending the RTW shows. She has worked across Accessories, Ladies Contemporary and Designer and childrenswear. Her specialities are Brand Buying and Trend development. In 2000 she was awarded the Drapers Record Fashion Buyer of the year and in 2015 the FRA Teacher of the Year Award.



Thom Scherdel, Graduated 2006, L3 Fashion Retail, works at The Idle Man.

"The FRA was totally and utterly life changing. Without the tutors and experience that I had there, my life would not be the same. They spotted skills in me that I didn't even know I had - and they nurtured and supported me in my career choices. It changed my life and I hope it continues to change the lives of others."



Callie Walters, Graduated 2015, works at Topshop.

"The FRA introduced me to a range of exciting opportunities such as work placements, industry projects and competitions linked to high-profile retailers throughout the year. This challenged me to think professionally and offered the chance to work with the companies I aspire to."

Meet the Buying Manager

Meet the Buying Manager

Paul Phipps, Buying Manager, River Island


"Being a Buying Manager is challenging every day yet a truly fantastic and rewarding experience. Leading and inspiring teams to deliver the overall business strategy and ensuring we are consistently exceeding our customers’ product expectations is paramount.


Travelling the world to see new and existing suppliers, reviewing our international stores and understanding new markets is a great part of the role. We live in a international world and understanding the global market is key to personal and business success."

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