Course Description

BA Fashion Buying & Merchandising

BA Fashion Buying & Merchandising is a course run by Portobello Institute, Dublin. For more information about BA Fashion Buying & Merchandising at Portobello Institute, please review the details below.


Are you interested in becoming a fashion buyer or merchandiser? Portobello Institute’s BA (Hons) in Fashion Buying and Merchandising is an international qualification that will allow you to advance your career in fashion. This degree programme develops your knowledge of how to work innovatively within a Global Fashion Industry. The programme supports and teaches the essential skills to equip you to apply for buying and merchandising roles.

BA (Hons) Fashion Buying & Merchandising Course

This full-time Fashion Buying and Merchandising degree programme encompass the skills and knowledge that are necessary to succeed as a top fashion buyer or merchandiser in today’s competitive environment. Areas of study include sustainability, trend research, product development, supply chain management and trading, fashion marketing, ethics, the leadership of people and organisations and more. The future of the fashion business is a significant focus.

Flexibility to switch to Fashion Management after year 1

This degree offers you career flexibility and the option to change to fashion management should you discover you prefer that area of study. We have designed this degree with the first year common with our BA (Hons) Fashion Management, giving you the option to switch to fashion management at the end of first year.

Learn about the digitalisation of the fashion industry

The digitalisation of fashion companies has had a significant impact on this sector and the required staff skills and competencies. This degree, through the analysis of literature and business practices and creative learning, will support you in attaining skills that will be attractive to major fashion companies. This course prepares you for the challenges that technological changes pose to companies in terms of organisational culture and that our focus on fashion education and training systems must exist to support this new way of working.

Become a fashion buyer and merchandiser.

While fashion trends change from season to season the fundamental role of the fashion buyer and fashion merchandiser remains the same. As a fashion buyer, you will play an integral role within the infrastructure of the retail team, tracking and analysing seasonal trends, ensuring production costs are kept within budget and most importantly, ensuring profit and growth for the company. This course covers the key modules for those interested in a career in fashion buying and merchandising.

Here are some reasons to choose to study with Portobello:

  • Accelerated programme completing your undergraduate degree in three years, getting you out into the world of work faster.
  • Career focused qualifications – our courses lead to awards that offer you the opportunity of immediate employment upon graduation.
  • Notable university partners – our university partners are among the top-ranking universities in the UK offering you access to a qualification from a renowned university.
  • Reputable placements – our work experience placements are with prominent organisations, connecting you with respected employers to build your future career network.
  • Realistic entry requirements – our entry requirements are reflective of the academic ability needed to successfully complete this course. These are clearly stated and remain static regardless of demand for places.
  • Individualised support – we fit your learning model with support available when you need it throughout your learning journey.
  • SMART assessments – we use a range of assessments for each module designed to support a broad range of learning styles, giving you the opportunity to excel.
  • Industry expert tutors – our tutors are all industry practitioners connecting research and theory with industry practice throughout their lectures.
  • Condensed scheduling – we value your time by ensuring your timetable is optimised for delivery over the same 2 – 3 days, helping you maintain a part-time job.
  • Flexible delivery – we deliver theory sessions on-site, online whilst also recording the session simultaneously offering you a choice of when and how you learn.
  • City Centre Location – Commuting to Portobello is very accessible – the Luas stops outside our door, and we are located within minutes from the major transport hubs.
  • Affordable payment options – all our courses offer you the option to choose an easy payment plan supporting you to spread the cost out over your learning journey.

Why should I study this course?

The full-time BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising degree covers all the essential elements to turn a creative eye and an interest in fashion into apractical career in an incredibly exciting industryPutting into practice the skills learned in class is key to gaining employment in the fashion industry.

Strong network of connections

Our graduates have been incredibly successful gaining employment both at home and abroad. Much of this success is due to the established network and strong links with many of the main fashion buying and merchandising departments within some of Ireland’s largest retailers. Full-time students will work on a Professional Practice and Development Portfolio and Fashion Research Project in Year 3.

Accessible, affordable, achievable

There is an easy payment plan designed to make this degree affordable for you. These factors, together with the one to one tutorial support, offer you a course that is accessible, affordable and achievable.

What will I study during this BA (Hons) Fashion Buying & Merchandising – Full-time – Oct ’23 course?

The aim of this course is to prepare graduates to secure employment in the fashion retail sector. The course content covers a broad range of fashion modules including fashion trends and consumer behaviour, fashion marketing, garment technology, visual merchandising and styling and business ethics, sustainability and CSR in fashion.

You will also learn about supplier relationships, key performance indicators, presentation skills and store merchandising so you understand how to maximise space to sales ratios. You will develop knowledge and skills in strategic planning and development for buying and merchandising.

Understanding garment production and technology are core skills of a buyer and/or merchandiser. To be successful, you need to understand the fundamentals of design, how a garment is constructed and how materials are sourced. We like to teach by doing! Portobello students learn how to sew and design, draft a pattern, consider appropriate materials and create a garment from scratch. Garment production and garment technology are two exciting modules on this course providing you with the innovative and essential knowledge to bring to your career.


Course Structure

This course is delivered over three academic years. During your first year you will complete the core modules which will introduce you to this field of study and provide you with essential skills that will aid your study for the course of your degree.

In second year, you will complete a total of four modules each semester, with one year long core module which runs for the duration of both semesters.

In third year, the core modules include your final year dissertation project in the area of fashion business and your work placement.



Real Life Learning Opportunities

Work Experience

Putting into practice the skills learned in class is key to gaining employment in the fashion industry. Portobello Institute has established strong links with many of the main fashion buying and merchandising departments within some of Ireland’s largest retailers. We are delighted to announce our students, full and blended, can now participate on a work experience placement programme with some of the participating companies listed below;

Arnotts, Brown Thomas, Harvey Nicholls, Primark, Dunnes Stores, Lifestyle Sports, Jack & Jones, Junarose, Mamalicious, Name IT, Noisy May, Only, Only & Sons, Postyr, Pamela Scott, Selected, Vero Moda, Vila Clothes.

Fashion Event Showcasing Irish Designers

Essential to becoming a buyer or merchandiser is developing a keen eye for trends, understanding the cycle within the fashion industry and having the opportunity to network and meet professionals in the fashion industry. Portobello Institute has integrated a number of key events within the fashion calendar to expose students of this course to the professionals working in the sector.

Each year, students of this programme collaborate together to create a showcase event for Irish designers. The purpose of this event is to give students the opportunity to work with designers and gain some understanding of the designer showcase and buying process.

Field Trips

Portobello Institute organises trips each year to the following major fashion events in the annual calendar;

  • Fashion City, Dublin
  • Pure in London
  • Moda in Birmingham
  • Pret-a-Porter, Milan, Italy

These are usually one day return trips and are booked with minimal cost for students. They are not included in the fees and are optional.

Guest Lecturers

Once off guest lectures are organised throughout the calendar year to give student’s an opportunity to gain insight into either a particular brand, the career of an established and successful professional in the fashion industry or an upcoming trend in fashion. These lecturers vary year to year but are always an interesting experience for our students.

How will I be assessed?

SMART assessments – we use a range of assessments for each module designed to support a broad range of learning styles, giving you the opportunity to excel.

The primary aim of the varying assessment styles is to support you to demonstrate your knowledge of theory and practical with assignments such as fashion business case studies, audits, development plans, presentations showcasing your practical skills.

We will encourage you to explore and support you to complete several innovative assessment formats such as presentations, posters, portfolios, podcasts, blogs, which further support development of your creative and digital skills and will give you confidence to share your knowledge with colleagues, peers, and other professionals.

Group assignments will add another dimension to your learning experience – they will help you to learn to work in teams and will provide you with benefits of peer learning.

All these methods are seeking to support you to combine theory with scenario-based learning and encourage and guiding you for future implementation into your career in the business of fashion.

The BA Fashion Buying & Merchandising course at Portobello Institute is listed in's national courses finder.
Training ProviderPortobello Institute
Course LocationDublin
Location PostcodeDublin 1
Awarding Body DetailsBA Fashion Buying & Merchandising awarded by London Metropolitan University
Course Duration3 academic years
Course TimeDelivered via Fulltime and blended learning
Course Fee5395 per academic year
Entry RequirementsEntry is by direct application to Portobello Institute With a Leaving Certificate Leaving Certificate requirements – Minimum of grade C or O6 in English and Maths with a pass in 4 other subjects.
Carear PathCareer prospects This degree is for people with a flair and interest in the fashion industry along with a desire to develop fashion business skills. This programme will be taught by experts in fashion buying and merchandising, design, marketing, visual media and display, business and marketing, supply chain management, finance, digital marketing, leadership and management, business analysis, communication and organisational skills, brand management and global trading. These experts will also have hands-on experience in implementing innovative approaches to management with good decision-making skills and actions, with a noticeably clear understanding of the world of fashion management, buying and merchandising. Some are phenomenally successful entrepreneurs in the eCommerce and digital branding world which allows them to be at the forefront of this fast-moving and ever-changing business of fashion. These skillsets and experiences will allow us to keep our students up to date in real-time for the best career opportunities. The difference between the role of the buyer and the merchandiser The Buyer A retail buyer is responsible for planning and selecting a range of products to sell in retail outlets. The buyer must consider the following factors when making purchasing decisions: Customer demand, including price, quality and availability assortment. Trend Forecasting. Sales analysis. Financial budgets. Buyers source new merchandise and review existing items to ensure products remain competitive. By fully understanding customer needs, they are able to maximise profits and provide a commercially viable range of merchandise at competitive prices. Keeping up to date with market trends and reacting to changes in demand are key elements of the role. Retail buyers have a considerable amount of responsibility and autonomy in what is often a pressured environment. Typical work activities can vary according to the season. This is particularly true for those working in fashion. For example, out of season, the majority of time will be spent in the workplace (in the office and on the shop floor), and during the buying season, a significant amount of time will be spent away from the workplace in order to assemble a new collection of merchandise. Starting salaries range from €26,000 per annum. Typical work activities analysing consumer buying patterns and predicting future trends; regularly reviewing key performance indicators, such as sales and discount levels; managing plans for stock levels; reacting to changes in demand and logistics; meeting suppliers and negotiating terms of contract; maintaining relationships with existing suppliers and sourcing new suppliers for future products; liaising with other departments within the organisation to ensure projects are completed; attending trade fairs, in the UK and overseas, to select and assemble a new collection of products; participating in promotional activities; writing reports and forecasting sales levels; presenting new ranges to senior retail managers; liaising with shop personnel to ensure supply meets demand; getting feedback from customers; training and mentoring junior staff. strong analytical skills; negotiating skills and the ability to network and influence people; teamworking and interpersonal skills; excellent communication skills; numeracy skills and proficiency using IT; good organisation skills and the ability to multitask; the ability to cope with the pressure of having to make important decisions and meet tight deadlines; the ability to work in a fast-paced environment and achieve targets; drive and determination; commercial awareness; leadership attributes; creative flair; confident presentation style; a passion for retail; The Retail Merchandiser Merchandisers are responsible for ensuring that products appear in the right store, or on a website, at the appropriate time and in the correct quantities. This involves working closely with the buying teams to accurately forecast trends, plan stock levels and monitor performance. While the buyer selects the lines, the merchandiser decides how much money should be spent, how many lines should be bought, and in what quantities. In smaller companies, the same person may be responsible for both buying and merchandising. Merchandisers play a key role within organisations, as profitability can be affected by how successfully they undertake their work. Merchandisers set prices to maximise profits and manage the performance of ranges, planning promotions and markdowns as necessary. They also oversee delivery and distribution of stock and deal with suppliers. Salaries start at €32,000 for this role. Typical work activities These vary depending on the company and the particular retail sector, but will typically include: planning product ranges and preparing sales and stock plans in conjunction with buyers; liaising with buyers, analysts, stores, suppliers and distributors; maintaining a comprehensive library of appropriate data; working closely with visual display staff and department heads to decide how goods should be displayed to maximise customer interest and sales; producing layout plans for stores, sometimes called ‘statements’; forecasting profits and sales, and optimising the sales volume and profitability of designated product areas; planning budgets and presenting sales forecasts and figures for new ranges; controlling stock levels based on forecasts for the season; using specialist computer software, for example to handle sales statistics, produce sales projections and present spreadsheets and graphs; analysing every aspect of bestsellers (for example, the bestselling price points, colours or styles) and ensuring that bestsellers reach their full potential; Salaries for buyers start at €26,000 whilst Merchandiser salaries start at €32,000 per annum.
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Portobello Institute

43 Lower Dominick Street, Dublin 1, Dublin City North, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

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Portobello Institute
43 Lower Dominick Street, Dublin 1
Dublin City North, Dublin
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