Inside the World of A Fashion Buyer

By: Valeria Ramos

It is no secret that careers in the fashion industry, while plentiful, are hardly encouraged and made available for younger generations to learn about when compared to careers in other industries.

There are hundreds, if not, thousands of different types of jobs that exist within the fashion industry, so why does the general public not know more about them? I find it ironic that the careers within a billion dollar industry are often hidden behind a curtain of mystery and allure.

Fashion buying is just one of many jobs in the fashion industry that has appealed to both my curiosity and clothing obsession. I did my research in order to take a peek behind the curtain and go inside the world of a fashion buyer.

To sum up what a fashion buyer does, here is a definition from
 "Fashion buyers select and order apparel that is sold in retail stores. A fashion buyer maximizes profits by making sure that the products on store shelves appeal to consumers. You could be responsible for finding the clothes and accessories that project a store's desired image to consumers. You could also communicate with supplies and store managers to make sure the purchasing process goes smoothly." 

The thought of fashion buying might conjure up glamorous images of attending fashion week and visiting showrooms, but according to Lorraine Martin, fashion buyer for boohoo, there's more to this job than just catwalks and cocktail parties.

"I have to review old lines, analyze reports from the sales team, handle stock control, analyze consumer trends and pitch ideas to senior management. Building the right bridges to ensure that the supplies, my employer and the consumer are all happy can be incredibly challenging," said Martin in an interview with Frontline Retail.

This is not to say that there aren't more exciting opportunities within this job. Like most other careers in the fashion industry, there is a balance between work and play.

"Aside from buying trips, there are more glamorous aspects to the job. Cocktail parties, international fashion shows and trade shows are frequent occurrences," said Martin.

Fashion buying incorporates fashion and business - two industries  in which many college students, including myself, are seeking employment after graduation. The thought of pursuing a career alongside a large pool of other qualified students may seem daunting. To those of us interested in this career or industry, Lorraine Martin advises not to underestimate the power of networking. 

"The best advice I can give those wanting to get into buying (and the industry in general) is to network, network, network. Half the battle is knowing the right people. If you attend a lecture from an industry insider, add them on LinkedIn. If you interview a fashion figure for you university paper, add them on LinkedIn. If you're chatting with someone from a fashion brand, hound them for work experience. If you love writing and photography, start a blog. You'll get your name out there and it'll act as an online CV that sets you apart from the crowd," she said.  

According to, the typical starting salary for an assistant fashion buyer is $42,000 per year, while the salary of an associate or senior fashion buyer can be estimated at $130,000 per year. 

When asked about the best part of her job, Lorraine Martin stated, "When the cash registers are ringing and people are feeling good in the clothes I have chosen, I feel good. Being able to influence trends and immerse myself in fashion is surreal. It's ultimately what makes fashion buying the job, to quote The Devil Wears Prada, 'a millions girls would kill for.' Networking at events with other buyers from around the globe is fun and gives the job a sense of community." 

To read more of Lorraine Martin's interview with Frontline Retail, click HERE