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How to start a career as fashion buyer?

I am a fashion buying student at the University of Westminster struggling to find an internship in the fashion industry. My ultimate aspiration is to become a buyer for a luxury e-commerce retailer but, as it will be my first experience, I am open to everything. I have sent applications for many different roles in many different companies but I have not found a job yet. For this reason, I am now asking advice to someone who has experience in the #apparel-and-fashion industry on how to get my first experience.
Thanks in advance to everyone who will decide to help me.

#future-careers #fashion #buyer #internship #retail

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Tommy’s Answer

The best way to work your way up to a Ecommerce Buying role is to start out in a Merchandising support position. Look for roles like Sample Coordinator or Merchandise Assistant. These will give you exposure to the Buying office. I started out writing product page copy and entering purchase orders. This gave me daily exposure to the Buying process and I was able to train to become an Assistant Buyer. I eventually worked my way up to Director. As a manager I have hired candidates into entry level positions with a combination of Fashion Merchandising degrees and retail store management experience.
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Amela’s Answer

Marzia,

I'm currently a senior at Boston University, and I have always been interested in pursuing a career in fashion. I was lucky enough to secure a buying internship at TJX (The company that owns TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc.) in New York City the summer of my sophomore year. I worked hands on with the buying team and looked at industry trends, helped make purchase decisions, and got to work with other interns on a summer-long project. If you have not applied to TJX, I highly recommend applying. It is a fantastic place to start out in the buying industry, and you will learn a lot and make great connections.

In terms of initially making contact, I had met the TJX recruiter on campus at BU, and maintained close contact with her throughout the application process. If you do not have a contact at the company you are applying for, I recommend looking on LinkedIn and seeing if anyone who graduated from your school works at the company. You can then send them a message introducing yourself and ask if you can arrange for a quick call. You can ask them about how they started their career, what their day to day looks like, if they have any advice for starting out, etc. This will not only be super helpful for you, but will help develop a connection within that company. Then, when you apply for a position there, there is someone that will recognize your name which will help you stand out.

The fashion industry is all about making connections, which can seem intimidating at first, but is always worth it in the end! Good luck!

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Faun’s Answer

It is best to get your foot in the door with the company you want to work for. Once inside you can make contacts, get noticed and see how to move around and up in the company to get where yo want to go. No knowledge goes wasted.
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