Submitted by Grace
What we choose to wear mirrors how we wish to be perceived. Fashion is a continuation of personality; individuals can take the same item of clothing from a retailer and envision it completely differently, thus making it unique to them. Another aspect of fashion that I find interesting is its many forms of influence, such as culture. On their travels, buyers see something that inspires their trend board and feeds into the design process. This shows the power that buyers and merchandisers have in controlling what reaches consumers. The dynamic nature of the industry makes the risk taken rewarding when it's a success. It's this uncertainty that I think makes the roles of buyers and merchandisers so exciting.
To gain a better understanding of working for a fashion house, I completed a placement at Debenhams Head Office in the Men’s Footwear Buying department. I gained valuable insight into how the buying sector functions and the production process from beginning to sign-off. Having this opportunity confirmed my career aspirations in fashion. It also introduced me to the importance of merchandising, showing me how closely both sides work together to finalise a range. I also spent time with a design team, going through stages of product development, from identifying a potential trend to production and distribution, which greatly widened my understanding. During this time at Debenhams, I realised the importance of having specialist knowledge of materials. This is why I believe that studying Buying and Merchandising will provide me with essential skills fundamental to working in fashion.
Being a sales consultant at Next, I have a good understanding of in-store operations. One task I carried out is comparing the best and worst data and applying this to the store’s layout. This shows the importance of visual merchandising, how the placement of certain products enhances sales. Another aspect of working in-store that I love is witnessing the change in stock overtime, and observing customer’s reactions to this first hand. What fascinates me is how a design concept initiated at Head Office is developed into a range that evolves over more than one season. Having a job has helped me to better my time-management, as well as improving my team-working skills. I utilised these skills when my family and I organised a Charity Dinner and Dance in aid of JDRF (Junior Diabetes Research Foundation), seating 135 guests. We raised £10,000, which motivated us to continue fundraising, planning our next event for 2018.
Studying Art has challenged me to take more risks in my work. It has also greatened my appreciation for different art forms, and has inspired me to visit more exhibitions. From engaging in the subject, I have good awareness of the formal elements, such as colour, texture and composition, which is essential when working in retail, from product design to marketing and branding. My decision to study Business has greatly broadened my understanding of commercial principles and practices, from regional to international scale. I have a good understanding of the functional areas and the influences of one on another, for instance, the effect of a business’s financial performance on its marketing budget, or level of operations. Finally, from studying Psychology, I have learned how individuals often adapt their fashion choice in order to feel valuable within a group. This has greatened my appreciation for fashion as a way of expressing identity and its effects on confidence and self-worth.
I feel that my chosen A-Level subjects of Art, Business and Psychology, along with my work experience placement and job are providing me with a solid educational background and the practical experience necessary to gain further knowledge and understanding which I hope to continue to develop at your institution. The course that you provide will hopefully enable me to secure a successful career in Buying and Merchandising, the path I have chosen to pursue.