Senior roles in the fashion industry

When you imagine working in fashion your first thought may be a glamorous life and unlimited wardrobe. But before you get to all of that, you need to decide what role you’ll play. Let’s explore some of the key roles within the fashion world. 


Trend Forecaster

A Trend Forecaster (also known as a Merchandise Manager) decides the brand's design direction. Their main responsibility is creating a moodboard for the season. This will be based on trends from the catwalk, street style and wider industry. The moodboard informs the design and buying teams of the brand’s aesthetic direction. It also influences the shapes, fabrics and colours for the upcoming season. 


Fashion Designer

Using the moodboard, the Fashion Designer develops a vision and designs a multi-piece collection in line with the season, customer and brand direction. The designer creates a garment from an initial sketch. They then choose the fabric and colourway for each garment. The designer works with the manufacturer to create samples of the garment. They use these samples to make adjustments to the final design before it goes to production. The brand will determine whether the designs should be commercial (eg. mass-production) or bespoke (eg. avant-garde). 


Textile Designer

A Textile Designer (or Graphic Designer) works with the Fashion Designer to create prints for new designs. In some smaller brands these roles can overlap. Textile Designers should have a strong background in developing prints. The designer usually develops textiles in two main areas: 

  • Placement prints - graphics placed on a specific part of the garment. 
  • Yardage prints - a repeat graphic that mirrors or transforms to create an overall pattern on the garment. 


Fashion Buyer

Fashion Buyers are the brains behind a successful fashion business. They select what items a brand will stock or purchase for the upcoming season. There are two types of buying: 

  • Selection buying - buy styles and ranges from other brands to sell in your store. 
  • Development buying - develop a product from scratch with a manufacturer. 


A buyer must be confident, resourceful and think beyond what their competitors will do. It’s a challenging role as they must predict a customer’s needs and wants before the customer knows themselves. They are also responsible for a large share of a brand’s purchasing budget along with driving sales and delivering quantities to stores. 


These are some of the most important roles in successful fashion brands. Of course there are many more positions working with these roles to help a brand succeed. What would be your ideal position in a fashion brand?

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Written by: Cara Drake

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