Role of a fashion merchandiser

Role of a fashion merchandiser in apparel business

Merchandising in Apparel Business

A merchandiser in the apparel industry is a person who is involved in managing the buyers and their orders by taking care of the garment business in his/her concern. He oversees the company’s manufacturing activities to ensure the timely delivery of right quality and quantity.

Merchandising forms an effective liaison with the buyers. Merchandiser identifies and develops potential new buyers and buying houses. The term merchandising means simply to buy and sell commodities for a profit. The role of merchandiser varies depending upon whether that particular company is performing in a retail or manufacturing context. 

According to theory on merchandising, Myer defines merchandising as “Careful planning, capable styling and production or selecting and buying,

In general, the merchandisers or the merchandising activity in apparel industry can be classified into three broad categories

Types of merchandising process/merchandisers

What is a Fashion Merchandiser?

A fashion merchandiser is responsible for planning and developing the range of products that a retailer or brand will offer. Fashion merchandisers oversee the style design of garments and accessories in retail clothing stores, costume suppliers, or fashion houses. From identifying emerging trends to negotiating with suppliers and monitoring sales performance, they are involved at every stage of a product’s lifecycle.

Role of a fashion merchandiser

The fashion merchandising process involves in the design creation and product development process. This fashion merchandising process starts from different origins.

  • The buyer might have visited different countries and various fashion shows across the globe and brought his inspiration in terms of pictures and garments.
  • The buyer might have given a broad trend or theme to the merchandiser and designer to develop a garment.
  • In both cases, in a given situation the designer can work on developing different aspects of the forecasting process, developing a mood boards, silhouettes, color boards, and requirements. But it is merchandiser’s role to coordinate with the designer about the needs and requirements of the buyer based on his previous experience. Hence, the influence of the merchandiser in the apparel designing plays a vital role in the acceptance of the developed design.
  • In this category, the manufacturing company itself may own some brand. So, for their market, while designer develops products, the merchandiser’s role is essential in exploiting the firm’s target sector and marketing region. This will help them in developing prototypes at the design development stage.

fashion merchandiser roles and responsibilities

The process flow of a fashion merchandiser

Workflow of a fashion merchandiser

Skills Required for a fashion merchandiser

Fashion Awareness

A deep understanding of current and emerging fashion trends is essential for a fashion merchandiser. They must be able to predict what customers will want before they even know they want it.

Forecasting Ability

While more scientific than fortune telling, fashion merchandising jobs do have a forecasting element. In order to improve accuracy, they need a thorough knowledge of past fashion trends and an awareness of current industry developments.

Communication Skills

The fashion merchandiser needs to be able to communicate effectively with designers, buyers, suppliers, and marketing teams to coordinate product development and marketing campaigns.

Analytical Ability

A good sense of style obviously helps however, he must also determine how things fit into a budget and whether they meet the functional needs of consumers. Other criteria may also influence fashion merchandising decisions, so they will need to be able to analyze a complex set of issues and stand behind their choices.

Function of Apparel Merchandising

  • Study of fashion trend & fashion forecasting
  • Sourcing information about the customer & their profile
  • Sourcing information about the products, categories, style, size, assortment, and specification.
  • Sourcing foreign buyer
  • Consumption coloration
  • Costing quoting
  • Negotiation
  • Price collection
  • Order confirmation
  • Receive master L/C
  • Prepare TNA
  • Sourcing fabrics, trimmings & accessories
  • Sample developing
  • Follow up sampling
  • Taking samples approval
  • Receive fabrics, trimmings, accessories
  • Inspection raw material
  • Making swath cards get approval from buyers & distribute in a different section
  • Arrange pre-production meeting
  • Booking production line
  • Arrange the testing of raw material & send test response to the buyer
  • Arrange test cutting
  • Start bulk production
  • Follow up the production
  • Inline inspection
  • Monitoring, Production & product quality
  • Arrange final inspection
  • Arranging payment against an export order
  • Quick response in respect of any buyer query


Do fashion merchandisers need to learn fashion design?

While having some knowledge of fashion design can certainly help with understanding trends and selecting products to sell, the main focus for a fashion merchandiser is on the business aspects of the industry. So, while it can be beneficial, it is not a requirement for fashion merchandisers to have formal training in fashion design. Aspiring fashion merchandisers can start their careers with a part-time job or internship at a local apparel store.

Where can I work as a fashion merchandiser?

Fashion merchandisers can work in a variety of settings, including fashion retail companies, department stores, boutiques, and fashion brands. They often collaborate with fashion designers, suppliers, visual merchandisers, and sales and marketing teams.


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