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An assistant fashion buyer is employed by a clothing retailer to provide support to one or more buyers, individuals responsible for planning and purchasing the retailer’s clothing lines. Glamorous as the title may sound, an assistant fashion buyer is generally concerned with behind-the-scenes administrative duties, leaving runway shows and international jet-setting to her superiors. She may be required to analyze sales trends and help determine pricing and conceive marketing strategies. Additionally, she may be in charge of keeping track of inventory and processing supplier invoices. To get a job in this field, it is usually necessary to first earn a fashion degree and gain experience in the industry.
While senior fashion buyers are off soaking up new runway trends and visiting clothing suppliers, an assistant fashion buyer is usually working behind the scenes, mediating the transition between the buyer’s purchases and the actual appearance of products on a retailer’s racks. Before clothing can be sold to shoppers, retailers must do research to determine what types of clothing are likely to sell, how much shoppers are paying for like goods, and how products should be marketed. An assistant fashion buyer may be required to prepare detailed reports in all of these areas, in some cases working in coordination with a retailer’s marketing department. To get the information she needs to compile reports, she will likely need to study past sales records and possibly familiarize herself with the products, price points, and marketing tactics of competing retailers.
Another important component of the assistant buyer’s job is managing inventory and supplier accounts. She may need to photograph samples of all new inventory before it is distributed to retail outlets. Additionally, she may be in charge of keeping track of inventory levels and ordering extra garments from suppliers when outlets’ stock begins to run low. In some cases, an assistant buyer is responsible for processing supplier invoicing and ensuring that suppliers are paid for inventory they have provided.
Those who wish to become an assistant fashion buyer will generally need to complete a degree in fashion merchandising, fashion design, or another relevant area. One or more years of experience in the clothing industry, from working in a retail store to interning at a design house, may also be required. An assistant fashion buyer who proves herself competent may be able to move up the career ladder to become a full-fledged buyer, a position which often offers a number of perks, such as foreign travel.