Introducing our Postgraduate Diploma in Buying & Merchandising

Introducing our Postgraduate Diploma in Buying & Merchandising image


The New Year is all about making positive changes and challenging yourself in new ways. What better way to do so than by starting a postgraduate diploma?

The Fashion Retail Academy Postgraduate Diploma in Buying & Merchandising kicks off in January 2018. Created to delve deeper into the buying and merchandising discipline through a varied combination of masterclasses and theory. It's an ideal route for those looking to pursue a career in this area.

Whether you’ve just completed an undergraduate degree and are looking for a next step into the workplace, or are already working in the fashion industry but want to switch gears, our postgraduate diploma is a step up to give you a significant edge in a competitive sector. 

Why embark on postgraduate study?

In an increasingly saturated work environment, an accredited postgraduate qualification can help you to stand out amongst your peers as you apply for highly sought after roles. If you’re already working in the fashion retail industry, engaging in postgraduate study can help you to zero in on your passions and support your professional development by building more specialist knowledge.

Coming back after a break from academia, or changing career direction? It’s likely that the choice to take on postgraduate study is a deeply considered and logical one, meaning you’re bound to apply yourself to your maximum potential throughout your studies and get a lot out of your course. Postgraduate learning is ideal for those who have studied a more general qualification and are ready to focus their efforts and improve their capabilities in a specific area.

Essentially, a postgraduate diploma provides a seamless bridge between academia and a buying or merchandising position, offering the perfect opportunity to pursue your specific interests and develop both personally and professionally.

During your time at the FRA, you'll also meet key contacts and gain real-world experience which can help you to hit the ground running. Not sure whether buying and merchandising is right for you? Read on to find out more about these specific job roles and the exact skills you’ll need to succeed.

Buying and merchandising – an Introduction

Buying and Merchandising is a fascinating and rapidly growing area of the retail sector. Both disciplines have a direct impact on the profit of a brand and its creative vision, ensuring that a store is full of garments which fulfil the requirements of customers and respond to the latest trends in the industry.

As you can see, these two functions are very closely related, and they may often collaborate; but buying and merchandising are in fact two very distinctive roles. Each has their own specific set of responsibilities.

The retail buyer is concerned primarily with the product itself. Using research, their knowledge of the brand and current fashion trends, they are in charge of choosing the garments that appear in store (and online). They may need to decide how to translate trends to suit the vision of a specific brand and also negotiate with suppliers to secure the best deals.

Merchandisers focus more on the business side of things; they are responsible for getting the right product to the right customer at the right time, concentrating on stock distribution and commercial viability. For example, different styles of garments might sell better in one region of the country than another. It is the merchandiser’s responsibility to glean this information from sales data and devise a strategy to accommodate the trend.

To succeed in either role, you'll need a diverse mix of both creative and commercial skills. A sound knowledge of trends, colours, pattern and the current industry is a huge plus, as is an aptitude for numbers. You'll be researching customer behaviour and buying habits, so you'll need a genuine passion for the industry, a talent for analysing behaviour and statistics and a good sense of the relevant buying demographic. These jobs are varied, busy and incorporate a lot of responsibility, so an ability to multi-task and stay cool under pressure is also essential.

Why our Postgraduate Diploma in Buying & Merchandising?

Our Postgraduate Diploma has been specially designed to help you build your knowledge of higher level management skills, in a way that’s tailored around buying and merchandising. Upon graduation, you’ll be in prime position to enter the industry, or advance in your current buying and merchandising career.

This diploma is awarded by Falmouth University; an institution recently awarded a gold standard by the Teaching Excellence Framework. This award is representative of the university's outstanding teaching, student retention, and graduate outcomes. Falmouth also has a 115-year history as a pioneering university in the creative arts.

The entirety of the course will be delivered at the FRA campus in central London by our team of academics and industry professionals, in the hub of the capital’s fashion retail scene. Our state-of-the-art facilities have recently been refurbished to offer specialised study areas and a brand new Mac suite to help our students get even more out of their time with us.

During your postgraduate diploma, you'll learn for one extended day a week, between 9 am and 9 pm. The rest of the week will be spent doing self-directed study (around 35 hours per week). Upon graduation, you'll receive a prestigious accreditation from Falmouth University, and throughout the course, you'll have access to the university's extensive online library and resources, and become a member of the FXU Student's Union. Take advantage of the opportunity to join a thriving community which organises activities and events both on and off campus.

Tell me more.

This course is designed to help you develop all of the skills and knowledge you’ll need for a successful career in fashion buying or merchandising. Throughout the postgraduate diploma, we will cover commercial awareness, brand knowledge and the challenges and opportunities facing the global market. We’ll take you through the obstacles and discussions relevant to buying and merchandising, questioning current arguments and developments to help contextualise your learning.

Alongside teaching, your learning will be diversified in the following ways:

  • Masterclasses
  • Behind the scenes visits
  • Theoretical study

We’ll cover a wide range of subjects and modules directly related to fashion buying and merchandising. These include trading, trend data analysis, and marketing strategies, as well as understanding consumers and brand. 

Your knowledge will be underpinned by a thorough study of the social and cultural factors which impact the industry before we move onto key concepts such as brand identity, risk assessments and the specifics of the supply chain.

Potential Careers

This course is designed to augment any buying and merchandising experience you already have and fill in any knowledge gaps to allow you to pursue the following job roles:

  • Licensing manager
  • Area manager
  • Retail manager
  • Buyer
  • Product manager
  • Merchandiser
  • Digital strategist
  • Customer relationship manager
  • Communications manager
  • And much more.

The postgraduate diploma will help you to stand out from a competitive pool of graduates by providing you with extra fashion business and higher management skills, as well as specific buying and merchandising knowledge.

Are you ready to embark upon the next stage of your fashion retail career with the FRA? Find out more about our Postgraduate Diploma in Buying & Merchandising.