It is necessary to have a background in retail, merchandising, or fashion to work as a clothing buyer. The responsibilities of a clothing buyer vary greatly depending on the stores for which she is buying, as well as the type of company that owns the store. A clothing buyer for a small boutique, for example, may be in charge of purchasing all of the store’s merchandise. A clothing buyer for a larger retailer with multiple locations, on the other hand, may only be in charge of one category of merchandise, such as sportswear, formal wear, or accessories.
Many clothing buyers begin their careers as assistants to boutique owners or head buyers at larger corporations. If you want to work as a clothing buyer, this is a great place to start. A bachelor’s degree in fashion, retail, or merchandising is also beneficial. Many college degrees that will prepare you to work as a clothing buyer will include courses in all of these areas.
You can prepare to become a clothing buyer closely following trends in addition to completing your training and gaining hands-on experience as an assistant. Obtain subscriptions to notable fashion magazines, particularly those that feature the kinds of clothing that you are interested in. If you want to work as a buyer for a high-end company, you should read Vogue and W magazines. If you want to work for a clothing store that caters to teenagers, keep an eye on trends in magazines like Seventeen and Teen Vogue. GQ is a good place to start if you’re interested in menswear.
Another thing you can do to prepare for a career as a clothing buyer is to keep up with all fashion news. You might also want to follow fashion-related blogs that specialize in the type of clothing that interests you the most. Not only will being well-informed and knowledgeable help you do a good job, but it will also help you impress potential employers during interviews.
If you’re still in school, look for an internship in the clothing industry. Whether you intern for a manufacturer, retailer, or designer, this experience will give you a behind-the-scenes look at your chosen field and help you build contacts for after graduation. Make an effort to secure an internship with a company that specializes in the types of clothing you want to work with.