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Retail & Sales careers

Retail: Fashion

What impact does the fashion world have on society?

The fashion world is certainly an interesting one. Well, if Ugly Betty has taught us anything, it’s that it’s a competitive, hectic, semi-glitzy and very colourful environment. That’s not always entirely true, but it’s pretty darn exciting. If that kind of thing’s your cup of tea, it can certainly be a hugely fulfilling world in which to forge a career.

Keep reading and we’ll hit you with the ‘fierce’ details of how you can get involved.

It’s been said that “fashion saves a lot more lives than doctors”. Okay, okay, so Sacha Baron Cohen was obviously just having a bit of a joke when he said that as his character Bruno. Fashion is still very important and influential though. Sure, it doesn’t save more lives than doctors, but it does have an impact on virtually everyone at some point.

For instance, fashion can quite literally capture the look of a generation: just look at The Beatles in the 1960s, David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust in the 1970s, or Peter Andre in the 1990s.

People are similarly influenced by fashion today. If Kate Moss is ‘papped’ wearing a nice little sparkly number, you can bet your last buck that there will be scores of young women queuing up for it outside Topshop the next day. That’s the way the world works!

What are the essential requirements for a career in fashion retail?

To thrive in the world of fashion retail, you’ll certainly need a passion for it. If you’re a fashion buyer, for instance, fashion pretty much has to be the main focus of your life. For all roles, you’ll need the ability to work in small and larger teams.

Sales assistants and store managers will be client-facing virtually all day. Consequently, you’ll need to have the ability to work well under pressure, whilst remaining happy and friendly at the same time. Sometimes the work can get stressful, particularly around busier periods like Christmas and the January sales.

You may also be required to have a good sense of fashion yourself. You don’t have to walk around looking like Brad Pitt or Gisele Bündchen, but it definitely pays to dress well and certainly in accordance with the style of the shop you’re representing. Of course, we already assume you are impeccably dressed, darling.

In the world of fashion retail, you can explore a whole range of different job roles: anything from fashion buyers and shop managers to the guys in charge of stock control and sales assistants. The work itself can take place in large high street stores, like H&M or American Apparel, or smaller boutique stores.

What does a fashion buyer do?

If you find yourself pining after the role of fashion buyer, you really need to know your stuff. These careers rely heavily on industry knowledge, a good understanding of your target market and what your competitors are doing, as well as knowing what’s ‘hot’ at the moment.

Typically, a fashion buyer would be responsible for selecting the clothing that the retail company sells. A lot of pressure is riding on the decisions you make, but it’s a great position to be in if you’re sufficiently equipped. Depending on the size of the company, you might be the only fashion buyer, or you might be working as part of an entire team devoted to choosing what clothing the company sells.

What does a store manager do?

store manager is more concerned with the running and performance of the actual store. Their role is all about increasing profits, hitting sales targets, dealing with customer complaints and motivating shop floor staff. The store manager works closely with the fashion buyer and merchandising teams, managing stock and providing feedback on popular products.

What does a sales assistant do?

Sales assistants work for the store manager, usually as part of a larger sales assistant team. They deal with customer complaints, queries and generally offer advice and tips to shoppers when necessary. More often than not, a store manager will have started at this level and worked their way up the ranks.

What does a personal shopper do?

More niche boutiques, as mentioned above, may employ personal shoppers. These incredibly stylish people literally show customers around their shop, offering very personal advice and picking out items of clothing that they think best suits the customer.

So, if you think you could be bringing the next Derelicte campaign to the high street, making sure Topman doesn’t run out of slogan t-shirts, or giving staff pre-January sales pep talks, this may well be the perfect career for you. Take a peek at our retail roles and see if you’re interested in any of them!