Fashion Buying

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Introduction

This assignment compares and contrasts the roles, responsibilities and issues faced by UK based retail buyers when purchasing branded versus own branded fashion goods. It draws on examples from retailers, trade press and academic sources.

Fashion retailers are an important sector of the fashion industry, and are the link between fashion products and consumers. These retailers have power over the industry and are able to set trends. Over the past few years, retail own-labels have been leading the fashion industry. This has increased the power and important of the fashion buyer’s role. An understanding of the fashion environment – suppliers, wholesales, designers, marketers – is crucial for fashion buyers.

Branded and Own-branded
According to the American Marketing Association, the definition of a brand is: “A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller.” (Marketing Power, 2011) Own-labels or own-brands refer to the products/services manufactured and sold under the retailer’s brand name. These are sold exclusively at the retail organisation’s outlets. These brands are very powerful and are more commonly known than manufacturer brands. Manufacturer brands refer to products/services that are given a brand name by the company that produces it. However, this is usually not the case in the fashion industry, as many retailers source suppliers and manufacturers from low cost countries (such as, in the Far East) to manufacture the goods for them. For example, Nike does not manufacture a majority of its products. The company has switched from being a manufacturing to a marketing company that focuses on the marketing of its brand. The diagram below illustrates the difference between the branded and own-branded products in relation to retailers. (Clifton, 2009)

Retailer
Brand (brand by producer)
Own-brand (retailer’s brand name)
Manufacturer (manufactured by producer)
Manufacturer (manufactured by retailer)
Manufacturer (commissioned by retailer)

There are several roles, responsibilities and issues faced by UK based retail buyer when purchasing branded versus own branded fashion goods. When buying branded fashion goods, the brand name of the goods and the retailer it will be sold at are different. If the buyer is purchasing own-brand goods, the brand name and the retailer will be the same. Fashion Buying Cycle

A definition of the ‘fashion buying cycle’ is:
‘the key events and processes in which the fashion buyer is involved in order to buy a garment range in for a retailer or mail order company’ (Goworek, 2007:17) The main processes involved in the fashion buying cycle are outlined below, including how the processes differ for buyers of branded products and buyers of own-branded products: * Review of seasons sales – both buyer will review the seasons sales to determine the popularity of each item. This will assist in determining the most preferred fabrics, styles, etc. * Budget planning - both buyers will plan a budget on the expenditure of the range. * Comparative & directional shopping – both buyers will conduct comparative shopping to evaluate what the competitors are offering. They both will conduct directional shopping to gain insight on the trends and styles of the season. * Fabric sourcing – the own-branded buyer will be involved in this process. The branded buyer will assess if the quality and type of fabrics of the brand are appropriate for the retailer, however, he/she will not be involved in the decision of fabrics to be used. * Range planning – the own-branded buyer will be intensively involved in this process, and the range will usually be planned between the buyer, designer, and merchandiser. The branded buyer will also be involved in this process in terms of the styles,...
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