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L4 Merchandising for Fashion

With an emphasis on practical skills, this in-depth, one-year course will equip you with all the commercial and analytical skills and knowledge you’ll need to succeed in a career in merchandising. The course is taught by industry specialists and combines theoretical learning with hands-on placements, workshops and masterclasses.

Merchandisers are key to every life cycle of a garment, and this field is a varied, pivotal and exciting one to be in. You’ll be sitting right at the heart of the action, at the intersection of business and creativity, deciding how to sell products to customers. It’s a Merchandiser’s job to boost sales and maximise profits, and this can include making sure that stock is monitored and available, working with Buyers to advise on successful lines, and working with Operations to agree on production stock levels, and much more.

So, what will you learn? Over the duration of this unique course, you’ll explore the impact of historical, social and cultural factors on fashion retail, the merchandising environment on a global scale, and the impact of globalisation on the industry. You’ll gain a solid understanding of the importance of financial data and how to use this to forecast future trends, and will also be taught to use a range of systems to prepare you for future merchandising job roles. The course also offers a number of broad and transferable skills; in various modules, you’ll develop your collaborative, presentation and critical thinking abilities. Your independent study and research skills will be improved by an individually negotiated fashion retail project and a work placement with a recognised high street fashion brand.

This fusion of theoretical and hands-on skills is effective in preparing you for your career progression following graduation. L4 Merchandising for Fashion Graduates go on to secure roles such as Merchandise Administrative Assistant (MAA) and Assistant Merchandiser. To help you get there, we’ll help you to prepare a portfolio and CV and recognise promising job opportunities.

What does it take to become a Merchandiser? Find out here.

Preparation for progression in fashion retail: Through a mixture of lectures, seminars and workshops, you’ll develop the skills which will help you to maximise career progression, including writing a CV, preparing a portfolio and analysing job descriptions. You will be taught how to research and approach entry level merchandising positions and assess their suitability.

As part of this unit, you’ll hone your presentation abilities to effectively communicate to appropriate audiences and learn to work in a team to become an effective member of a workforce.  

Individual Negotiated Fashion Retail Project: In this unit, you will develop research, creative and analytical skills relevant to a career in merchandising. Through a mixture of taught and self-directed study, you will learn how to use your presenting, critical thinking and negotiation skills, as well as how to create a viable business proposition.

Contextual Studies for Fashion Retail: Develop your knowledge of fashion regarding its historical, cultural and contemporary influences. Analyse key ideas and concepts key to the evolution of fashion and enhance your research, critical thinking and academic writing skills.

You’ll learn about producing fashion, consuming fashion, fashion and representation, sustainability and much more.

Fashion Retail Environment – Merchandising: You’ll research, evaluate and interpret the context of the fashion retail industry as well as different merchandising environments. You’ll understand sales strategies in a global context, and explore the relationship between Buyer and Merchandiser, and understand the function of the Merchandiser in different businesses. 

Find out more about globalisation and customer profiling, as well as the importance of financial report information.

Fashion Retail – Merchandising Concepts: In this unit, you’ll be introduced to the importance of accurate data, the principles of planning trading and the retail Merchandiser’s function. Among other learnings will be: target market management, merchandising mix, ethical issues, retail law and supply chain management.

Fashion Retail Merchandising Systems and Skills: Gain competencies in relevant merchandising software and systems. You’ll learn how to interpret data and create your own spreadsheets. The unit is underpinned by financial information and theoretical concepts.

Using these systems, you’ll be taught how to forecast data, how to use this to plan strategically, and the relationship between financial planning and the planning and trading process. 

This course includes a three week work placement 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.

A typical day will consist of learning the tools you need to become a Merchandiser and then practising how to use them.

You will learn how to bring to life the data which is produced and be able to make commercial decisions and suggestions based on it. There will be visits to the high street stores to get a visual understanding of how decisions can impact stores.

You could be watching a master class with an industry leader like Sir Philip Green (Head of Arcadia) who may set you a project to analyse the competition. You may spend the afternoon looking at best sellers from a range of garments and use technology and systems also used by retailers to forecast stock volumes and figures for a new line.

Job opportunities typically start as an Allocator, although some companies have Administration Assistants called MAA's. Progression is often very quick due to high industry demand for Merchandisers.

Awarding Body: University Arts London

Age Requirement: 18+

Start date: Week commencing 11th September 2017 *Induction will commence from the 4th of September 2017.

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 trends and numerical work

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.

This course includes an industry project so you can learn how retailers could ensure their merchandising system are more effective in a live situation.

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Meet The Tutor

Meet The Tutor

Eleanor Delany, L4 Merchandising Tutor.

"I started off as an allocator at River Island and have worked my way up to Head of Merchandising, at Austin Reed Group most recently. I have experience of fast and slower fashion, mens and womens, accessories, concessions, and have worked and lead in price point and higher end companies."



Delal Akdag, Graduated 2015, works at Arcadia.

"The lectures and independent researches enabled me to understand how the brands operate, compete and stay afloat in the ever-changing market and that the need for effective merchandising is crucial to companies’ success. The practise the FRA provided me with, such as retail calculations, formulas set up on Excel and Oracle are invaluable. I now work in Arcadia and practise all the skills that I acquired at the FRA.''



Courtney Spellacy, Graduated 2013, L4 Fashion Merchandising, works at M&S.

"Whilst studying at the Academy I was fortunate enough to be exposed to a number of industry experts through which prepared me for what life in merchandising would really be like. With the help of the Academy's careers fair, I was able to achieve my goal and secure my first job within the lingerie allocation team at M&S."

Meet the Merchandiser

Meet the Merchandiser

Christina Gaughan, Senior Merchandiser, Topman.


"I have worked at Topman since I started as an MAA. Topman is a great place to be a Merchandiser as you are given a great level of responsibility and run your Department as if it was your own business. It is fast paced and challenging but the training we get enables you to be great at your job. I love Merchandising, as you get the full experience of the Buying cycle- from planning and buying the range with your Buyer and Designer to then managing all those orders into the business."

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