module specification

MC5079 - Fashion Buying (and Apparel Supply Chain) (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Fashion Buying (and Apparel Supply Chain)
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
6 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
108 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Commercial calculations exercise
Coursework 70%   1,500-word report
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

The module seeks to provide a motivational learning experience and to stimulate the co-creation of knowledge pertaining to the processes of fashion buying, including how these are informed by and link to the practice of fashion merchandising along global supply chain networks. The module content addresses the various roles and responsibilities of these important players operating at all levels of the fashion business, from retailers of quotidian apparel through to couture labels. Discussion and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative approaches to fashion buying are designed to raise awareness of the inter-relationships between maximising profitability and meeting consumer expectations in a fast-changing business environment. The key skills of research, numeracy, analytical thinking, problem-solving, visual communication, academic reading & writing are mobilised in completing assessment tasks predicated on the module’s constructively aligned learning outcomes. Content delivery builds on the academic scaffolding constructed earlier in the programme in order to provide students wishing to develop careers in the fashion business insights into commercial realities of the apparel sector.

Prior learning requirements

Standard university requirements for progression to Level 5


Fashion Buying: product knowledge, trend prediction, design development, range planning, trade events, the buying cycle, budgets, costing and contract negotiation LO1

Apparel Supply Chains: supply chain typologies: off-shoring vs out-sourcing, international logistics, distribution centres and inventory, retail environments LO2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module is delivered during a 15-week semester via a combination of lectures, workshops, seminars and other activities totalling three hours contact time per week. Seminars feature group discussion/analysis of case studies and may utilise a tactic of ‘flip-learning’ to provide opportunities for peer interaction. The module supports independent study through a virtual learning environment hosted on WebLearn, where students can access lecture notes, additional readings, coursework briefs, assessment guidelines and feedback, in addition to finding links to external resources. The university’s feed-forward initiative supports these independent learning strategies. Learning materials are posted in advance as part of a blended learning approach that allows students to plan their contribution to particular sessions.

Reflective learning is incorporated into the module – students are advised to keep a journal of experiences and personal development that charts the effectiveness of their learning. Personal Development Plans can be customised through negotiation of topics of personal interest for assessment and take advantage of learning opportunities as these arise during the module. Students are encouraged to actively engage with the subject, their peers, and the tutors through the module's online forums. Guest speakers are invited to give master classes or discuss career opportunities with students; employability is embedded throughout the module through consideration of the various job roles within the fashion industry and reflection on how the skills and knowledge conveyed during the module coincide with professional expectations.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module students will be able to:

LO1. Conduct a range of commercial calculations: space allocation/productivity, minimum/cost-plus pricing; margin, mark-up &mark-down; sell-through/ROS, stock turn/cover; distribution ratios based on multiple product attributes

LO2. Compare and contrast commercial practices employed by apparel companies in disseminating the outputs of their respective supply chain operations

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy consists of two components, each informed by reflection, professional practice and subject-specific scholarship:

Assessment component 1: provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of LO1 through a mathematical exercise featuring examples of commercial calculations addressed in the module

Assessment component 2: provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of LO2 through a report comparing the merchandising environments of competing apparel labels. Students may mobilise understandings gained within personal professional contexts


Core Text:
Boardman, R. et al. (2020), Fashion Buying & Merchandising: The Fashion Buyer in a Digital Society, Routledge

Other Texts:
Clodfelter, R. (2018), Retail Buying: From Basics to Fashion, 6th ed, Fairchild
Dillon, S. (2018), The Fundamentals of Fashion Management, Bloomsbury
Goworek, H. (2007), Fashion Buying, Blackwell
Hoffman, A. (2011), Fundamentals of Merchandising Math and Retail Buying, Prentice Hall
Koumbis, D. (2018), Fashion Retailing from Management to Merchandising, Bloomsbury
Raymond, M. (2019), The Trend Forecasters Handbook, 2nd ed., Laurence King
Shaw, D. & Koumbis, D. (2017), Fashion Buying: From Trend Forecasting to Shop Floor, Bloomsbury
Varley, R. (2014), Retail Product Management: Buying & Merchandising, Routledge

Retail Merchandiser
International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research
Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management
Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services

Reading list: