Course Details

This BA (Hons) in Fashion Buying and Merchandising degree awarded by London Metropolitan University qualifies you to work within the business environment of the global fashion industry, launching your career as a fashion buyer and merchandiser.

Honours Degree
Course Delivery Mode Start Date Duration
BA (Hons) Fashion Buying & Merchandising
Delivery Mode
Full Time
Start Date
2nd October 2023
3 years
BA (Hons) Fashion Buying & Merchandising
Delivery Mode
Full Time
Start Date
30th September 2024
3 years


Are you interested in becoming a fashion buyer or merchandiser? Portobello Institute’s BA (Hons) in Fashion Buying and Merchandising is an international qualification that will allow you to advance your career in fashion. This degree programme develops your knowledge of how to work innovatively within a Global Fashion Industry. The programme supports and teaches the essential skills to equip you to apply for buying and merchandising roles.

BA (Hons) Fashion Buying & Merchandising Course

This Fashion Buying and Merchandising degree programme encompass the skills and knowledge that are necessary to succeed as a top fashion buyer or merchandiser in today’s competitive environment. Areas of study include sustainability, trend research, product development, supply chain management and trading, fashion marketing, ethics, the leadership of people and organisations and more. The future of the fashion business is a significant focus.

Flexibility to switch to Fashion Management after year 1

This degree offers you career flexibility and the option to change to fashion management should you discover you prefer that area of study. We have designed this degree with the first year common with our BA (Hons) Fashion Management, giving you the option to switch to fashion management at the end of first year.

Learn about the digitalisation of the fashion industry

The digitalisation of fashion companies has had a significant impact on this sector and the required staff skills and competencies. This degree, through the analysis of literature and business practices and creative learning, will support you in attaining skills that will be attractive to major fashion companies. This course prepares you for the challenges that technological changes pose to companies in terms of organisational culture and that our focus on fashion education and training systems must exist to support this new way of working. 

Become a fashion buyer and merchandiser.

While fashion trends change from season to season the fundamental role of the fashion buyer and fashion merchandiser remains the same. As a fashion buyer, you will play an integral role within the infrastructure of the retail team, tracking and analysing seasonal trends, ensuring production costs are kept within budget and most importantly, ensuring profit and growth for the company. This course covers the key modules for those interested in a career in fashion buying and merchandising.

Here are some reasons to choose to study with Portobello:

  • Accelerated programme completing your undergraduate degree in three years, getting you out into the world of work faster.
  • Career focused qualifications – our courses lead to awards that offer you the opportunity of immediate employment upon graduation.
  • Notable university partners – our university partners are among the top-ranking universities in the UK offering you access to a qualification from a renowned university.
  • Reputable placements – our work experience placements are with prominent organisations, connecting you with respected employers to build your future career network.
  • Realistic entry requirements – our entry requirements are reflective of the academic ability needed to successfully complete this course. These are clearly stated and remain static regardless of demand for places.
  • Individualised support – we fit your learning model with support available when you need it throughout your learning journey.
  • SMART assessments – we use a range of assessments for each module designed to support a broad range of learning styles, giving you the opportunity to excel.
  • Industry expert tutors – our tutors are all industry practitioners connecting research and theory with industry practice throughout their lectures.
  • Condensed scheduling – we value your time by ensuring your timetable is optimised for delivery over the same 2 – 3 days, helping you maintain a part-time job.
  • Flexible delivery – we deliver theory sessions on-site, online whilst also recording the session simultaneously offering you a choice of when and how you learn.
  • City Centre Location – Commuting to Portobello is very accessible – the Luas stops outside our door, and we are located within minutes from the major transport hubs.
  • Affordable payment options – all our courses offer you the option to choose an easy payment plan supporting you to spread the cost out over your learning journey.

Why should I study this course?

The BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising degree covers all the essential elements to turn a creative eye and an interest in fashion into a practical career in an incredibly exciting industryPutting into practice the skills learned in class is key to gaining employment in the fashion industry.

Strong network of connections

Our graduates have been incredibly successful gaining employment both at home and abroad. Much of this success is due to the established network and strong links with many of the main fashion buying and merchandising departments within some of Ireland’s largest retailers. Full-time students will work on a Professional Practice and Development Portfolio and Fashion Research Project in Year 3.

Accessible, affordable, achievable

There is an easy payment plan designed to make this degree affordable for you. These factors, together with the one to one tutorial support, offer you a course that is accessible, affordable and achievable.

"Fashion is about dreaming and making others dream"

- Donatella Versace

Who will recognise my qualification?

Upon completing this level 8 honours degree, you will hold a BA (Hons) in Fashion Buying & Merchandising awarded by London Metropolitan University (LMU).

Qualifications Frameworks in Ireland and the UK

The Irish and UK qualifications authorities have collaborated on initiatives that promote the transparency, recognition and mobility of qualifications between our respective jurisdictions. The qualifications authorities in the UK and Ireland have agreed the qualifications frameworks in operation, Brexit will not impact this agreement. Further guidance on this framework is available here.

Validated Agreement

One or more modules or the full course has been developed and delivered by Portobello Institute and has been evaluated and deemed by London Metropolitan university (London Met) to be of an equivalent standard and quality to that of its own provision, and therefore suitable to lead to one of its own awards.

What will I study during this BA (Hons) Fashion Buying & Merchandising course?

The aim of this course is to prepare graduates to secure employment in the fashion retail sector. The course content covers a broad range of fashion modules including fashion trends and consumer behaviour, fashion marketing, garment technology, visual merchandising and styling and business ethics, sustainability and CSR in fashion.

You will also learn about supplier relationships, key performance indicators, presentation skills and store merchandising so you understand how to maximise space to sales ratios. You will develop knowledge and skills in strategic planning and development for buying and merchandising.

Understanding garment production and technology are core skills of a buyer and/or merchandiser. To be successful, you need to understand the fundamentals of design, how a garment is constructed and how materials are sourced. We like to teach by doing! Portobello students learn how to sew and design, draft a pattern, consider appropriate materials and create a garment from scratch. Garment production and garment technology are two exciting modules on this course providing you with the innovative and essential knowledge to bring to your career.

  • Study Skills for Higher Education 

    The module aims to

    • Enable students to understand complexities of studying at a degree level and acknowledge challenges of transitioning to higher education.
    • Provide learners who are new to higher education with a range of skills and techniques designed to support their learning and on-going development as part of a broad, diverse student community and as independent learners.
    • Foster a sense of inquisitiveness in students and enable them to prepare for lifelong learning through the development of independent learning techniques.
    • Introduce the students to conventions of academic study and academic writing.
    • Provide support for the use of digital tools for learning and assessment.
    • Provide tools for development of realistic strategies in terms of time management and target setting.
    • Introduce students to the principle of enquiry and academic research as underpinning of evidence-based practice.
  • Culture & History of Fashion – 15 Credits

    The module will provide students with a comprehensive knowledge base of significant fashion historical movements and milestones from the 1900s to present.

    The primary focus is on the theories of clothing which study fashion as a form of expression and explore its potential to offer a lens into the cultural, political, and economic landscapes of these historical periods.

    Theoretical concepts will be researched and discussed through individual case studies reflecting the historical significance of the relationship between fashion and culture, class, political power & movements, ethnicity, and gender.

    The aims of this module are –

    • To equip students with an understanding of the evolution of fashion trends over time, the cultural aspects that have changed and developed over the decades/centuries.
    • To Identify the economic and cultural impact of fashion.
    • Identify key societal issues in fashion today, including the pace of the fashion industry including technology.
  • Fashion Trends & Consumer Behaviour – 15 Credits
  • Fashion Marketing – 15 Credits

    The module introduces the students to fashion marketing and provide an understanding of the theories of marketing and the practical application of the tactical tools of marketing in the fashion industry including digital marketing, the use of technology and the development of marketing strategies that global and regional companies use to reach their consumer.

    In this module, students explore how diverse types of organisations develop and deliver their marketing goals by using the marketing mix theories and skills to develop a marketing plan that supports the development of a brand, a product and or service to gain and maintain a competitive edge in the fast-moving fashion industry.

    The module aims to:

    • Foster understanding of theoretical foundations and practical applications of marketing in the fashion industry.
    • Provide an understanding of the factors influencing marketing decisions, planning and strategies
    • Develop awareness about contemporary issues in marketing such as globalisation, and social and corporate responsibility
  • The Principles of Buying & Merchandising – 30 Credits

    The module seeks to develop an understanding of the processes pertaining fashion buying, including how these link to fashion merchandising along global supply chain networks.

    The module content addresses the various roles and responsibilities of buyers and merchandisers operating at all levels of the fashion industry, from retailers of fast fashion apparel through to couture labels and their contribution to deliver on company goals offering the right products at the right time to the consumer while maximising profits at minimal costs.

    Discussion and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative approaches to fashion buying and merchandising to maximise sales and profits within a retail setting is an important aspect of the module.

    The aim of this module is to:

    • Develop an understanding of the buying and merchandising processes within retail fashion organisations
    • Develop awareness of roles and responsibilities of buyers and merchandisers within fashion organisations
    • understand the factors which influence buying and merchandising.


    • develop knowledge of customer profiling strategies


  • Garment Technology – 15 Credits

    This module enables the student to discover and examine the current professional environments for design, manufacture, and production available within the discipline and provides a comprehensive knowledge base of garment technology and its crucial role within the fashion businesses and the industry on a whole.

    Garment technology encompasses many different activities within the supply chain from garment construction, manufacturing and assembly, machine and fabric choice, sample fitting, technical specifications and quality and cost considerations.

    This module enables the student to discover and examine the current professional environments for design by taking their knowledge and experience of materials and design and re-examining them in the light of the industry and real-world needs. The student will develop an understanding of garment construction and mass industrial production (including standard operating procedures and production techniques) in the manufacture of both lightweight and heavy-weight and sustainable clothing within the context of fashion retailing.

    This module aims to –

    • Examine the advantages and disadvantaged of different garment engineering and mass industrial production methods for various applications and circumstances.
    • Enable students to use specialist methods, terms and approaches that are used to communicate technical specifications and visual form with precision and clarity.
    • Further establish critical and evaluative processes to expand knowledge and understanding of materials, manufacture and the professional requirements underpinning ethical and sustainable values and responsibilities relevant to three-dimensional design.


    • Develop skills in garment specification as it relates to production and the journey of the garment on the Critical path to achieve margins on product that adheres to fashion retail companies’ budgets and maximises sales.
  • Managing Global Fashion Supply Chains – 15 Credits

    The module introduces the foundational concepts required to understand management within the context of the apparel pipeline and provides and provides an overview of the structure of global fashion, textiles, and related industries supply chains, with a focus on the key drivers of supply chain performance such as facilities, inventory, transportation, sourcing, pricing, information, and communication.

    The module content addresses the various roles and responsibilities of organisations operating at all levels of the fashion industry, from retailers of fast fashion apparel through to couture labels in the context of supply chain networks and explores approaches to gaining competitive advantage through maximising customer value against a background of the increasingly important role of ethical and environmental factors in the development of sustainable economy and economically viable supply chains.

    The module aims to:

    • Develop understanding of the objectives of the supply chain
    • Develop understanding of flows and decision phases within the supply chain
    • Explore complexities and uncertainties of supply chains
    • Explain how supply chain management influences production strategies and how companies achieve the strategic fit between their supply chain strategies and competitive strategies.
    • Define the concepts of networks and network design
    • Provide an overview of the processes of planning and coordination in a supply chain and their co-relation with managing supply and demand
    • Explain the role of transportation modes and networks in supply chain management and explore the types of logistics companies and process they use to move goods around the world.
    • Outline key supply chain performance drivers and metrics
    • Outline the types of technologies used to provide visibility in the supply chain and increase efficiency
    • To provide an overview of the impact of disruptive innovations on the supply chain management
    • To explore issues of ethics and sustainability in the global supply chain
    • To develop understanding of the increased level of risk, especially in developing markets, associated with relocation of production processes.


  • Innovation and Research Methods for Fashion – 15 Credits

    This module develops the fundamental skills required by students to apply problem solving methods and analysis and to be innovative in how they approach problems and issues that may arise in business and management in the fashion industry. The students are inspired to detect root causes of a problem and identify a solution through innovative, creative and collaborative approaches while engaging with stakeholders in a structured manner.

    The students will be introduced to the models and tools available to them and will develop qualitative and quantitative analysis skills which will be required to complete their research project in the final year of studies.

    The module aims to enable students to:

    • Contribute to development of innovative ideas, concepts, products and designs in the fashion industry.
    • Understand the process of innovation which involves commercialisation of novel ideas, concepts, products and designs
    • To draw parallels between traditional research approaches and innovative approaches to problem solving
    • Identify relevant stakeholders, probe and validate root causes of problems by using qualitative and quantitative research skills and applying the design thinking approach.
    • Develop awareness of ethical issues in research and innovation relating to the fashion industry.
  • Garment Production – 15 Credits

    This module addresses clothing technology aspects and builds on the content of the Garment Technology module. It is designed to develop with a common theme for increased knowledge and understanding of garment construction, quality analysis, and industry standard testing procedures.

    This Module aims to

    • Develop a comprehensive skill level around the process and procedures that go into producing a quality garment, how fashion products are manufactured and produced both at local and global levels.
    • To equip students with the tools that a fashion buyer and merchandiser requires to partner with manufacturers/suppliers to develop and produce fashion retail lines and how to scale to large quantities for the fast fashion retailer while maintaining the garment standards and meet consumer demands.
  • The Business of Merchandising Planning – 15 Credits

    The module develops understanding of merchandise planning as a process conducted by a retailer to ensure that the right product is available to the customer at the right place, time, quantity, and price.

    The role of merchandiser is examined, and knowledge and skills are developed enabling efficient and effective collaboration between key staff across fashion organisations involved in merchandising.

    The concepts of consolidation, global sourcing, higher levels of competition, increasing product variety, reduced life cycles and less predictable demand are addressed form a range of theoretical and practical perspectives.

    Module Aims:

    • Develop understanding of the relationship between the buyer who plans the product ranges and the merchandiser who addresses the purchase quantities of products, pricing, allocations and inventory and stock controls.
    • Develop analytical and numerical skills to plan, prepare and execute merchandise plans.
    • Foster awareness and skills for effective and efficient interdepartmental communication.
    • Develop knowledge and skills required to plan budgets and conduct stock control and inventories.
  • Leading & Managing Diverse Organisations – 15 Credits

    The module encourages an understanding of the importance of leadership and management within organisations and explores the core theoretical underpinning of the theories of leadership and management. Students learn how various leadership and management styles can be adopted for different scenarios in the fashion industry while being challenged and equipped to look at personal traits, values, and ethical judgements to prepare for citizenship and leadership in diverse, global environments.

    The concepts of power, influence and ethics are explored with a view to develop a more ethical approach to leadership. In addition, the module examines how leaders deal with conflict and change in the workplace and provides conflict resolution and change management strategies through investigation of workplace examples and cases studies.

    The module will explore the concepts of diversity and inclusion identifying benefits and challenges of leading and managing diverse teams within the context of the fashion industry and will emphasise legal rights to equality of employees in organisations. The students will explore how they as leaders and professionals can overcome or remove barriers of inequality and foster an inclusive working environment.

    The module aims to enable students:

    • Appreciate the importance of good management and leadership for organisational success.
    • Examine theories of leadership and management and reflect on their own leadership style.
    • Explore the underpinning theory and practical knowledge to support individual staff members and teams
    • Explore the ethical dilemmas of leadership
    • Harness the benefits of working in and with diverse teams
    • Become familiar with the equality legislation
    • Acknowledge their role as a leader and an agent of change in overcoming barriers to inclusion
    • Develop a set of management skills for future employment
  • Financial Decision Making for Fashion Managers – 15 Credits

    Finance is an essential element of implementation of the business strategy in any organisation and managers need to understand key financial management issues, performance indicators and methodologies relating to financial management frameworks to ensure that appropriate decision-making and risk management processes are in place. This module focuses on fundamentals of financial management and explores financial decision-making approaches and control systems businesses use to make managerial decisions and their application in the unique context of the fashion business. The module will enable graduates to become informed participants in the decision-making processes regarding financial aspects of achieving objectives of the business.

    The module aims:

    • Outline aspects of the financial decision-making process and its importance for any and every business, specifically the fashion business.
    • To develop an understanding of fundamental concepts and processes in relation to finance: accounting, financial governance, capital investment, financial and risk management, balancing risk and return, cost challenges, cost-volume profit analysis, sources of finance.
    • To develop knowledge and skills necessary to read financial reports
    • To develop an ability to appraise the use of various financial tools
  • Fashion Buying & Merchandising – 30 Credits

    This module content builds on the Principles of Buying and Merchandising module which provided students with introductory level knowledge about the processes of buying and merchandising. The emphasis is on development of practical and analytical skills required for sales forecasting and development of merchandise plans and completing buying cycles.

    Students will acquire a strong knowledge base about the industry standards involved in the key areas such as product development, costings, allocation, distribution, and financial analysis of product ranges.

    The module aims to:

    • Develop knowledge about commercial practices employed by apparel companies in the buying and merchandising processes of products from source to store.
    • Develop numerical skills and knowledge needed to conduct commercial calculations
    • Develop understanding of the use of fibre, fabric, and garment technologies within the buying critical path in the product development process and supplier management
    • Build an ability to recognise fashion trends and adapt to consumer buying habits
    • Introduce established and emerging buying and merchandising technologies used to create mass production of ranges
    • Develop research skills and ability to sources information required for decision-making processes


  • Visual Merchandising & Styling – 15 Credits

    The module explores the concept of retail design as an intrinsic aspect of the marketing strategy and addresses elements of the commercial process that determine the nature of transactional interface with the consumer. Students develop theoretically underpinned knowledge and understanding how to use interplay between various factors in the retail environment interact to maximize profitability while catering to consumer needs.

    The module aims to:

    • Provide an overview of the processes involved in, and the factors influencing the design of in-store retail/service environments.
    • Outline the principles of retail atmospherics and visual merchandising to evaluate the sensory and psychological effects of store environments on the retail consumer.
    • Introduce the processes involved in the management of retail space: including layout planning, space allocation, product assortment mix.
    • Explain the concept of experiential retailing, and its application, both in general and more specific contexts such as flagship retailing, pop-up retailing, omni channel and online sales.
  • Business Ethics, Sustainability & CSR in Fashion – 15 Credits

    This module focuses on the response of the fashion industry to sustainability challenges and explores the concepts of sustainability, corporate social responsibility, the circular economy, sustainable manufacturing, logistics and consumer behaviours.

    The students will develop theoretical knowledge and practical skills to devise innovative solutions to challenges of waste and emission reduction, energy efficiency and ethical treatment of all stakeholders.

    Understanding of local and global contexts combined with awareness of changing regulation and legislation will strengthen the student’s ability to act as sustainability leaders and agents of change in their organisations

    The module aims to enable students to:

     To build knowledge of sustainability theory and the fast-changing regulatory landscape.

    • Develop critical awareness of ethical and sustainable practices, their dramatic impact on the nature of business operations within textile and apparel manufacturing industries and wider economic, political, and cultural implications.
    • Develop an appreciation of the challenges and complexities of business ethics, sustainability, and CSR in the world of contemporary textiles
    • Develop a sustainability mindset to understand ethical dimensions and consequences of corporate conduct
    • Become equipped with the necessary skills and understanding to critically evaluate and analyse real world scenarios.
  • Professional Practice & Development Portfolio – 15 Credits

    The module focuses on personal and professional development and provides opportunities for students to make critical connections between learning across modules and professional contexts which they are exposed to during field trips, employing organisation visits, placement opportunities and personal employment. Students are introduced to the concepts of professional ethics and values and encouraged to reflect on how these align with their personal values.

    Students analyse personal and professional strengths and establish clear strategies for future career aspirations as well as develop necessary skills such as writing a CV, developing a portfolio, improving communication skills through mock interviews.

     The module aims to enable students to:

    • Further develop critical reflection skills
    • Develop a professional values framework
    • Make critical connections between learning across modules and work-based context
    • Set professional goals and plan for personal growth and development
    • Further develop written communication and presentation skills required to write a CV and Cover Letter
    • Develop verbal communication skills and confidence to take part in workplace interviews.
  • Fashion Research Project – 60 Credits

    The module builds on previously gained knowledge and research skills. It fosters student’s ability to plan, deliver and collate an individual research project relating to an area of their particular interest and make a contribution to the research base of the sector.

    Students identify research topics based on the threads picked up from previous modules and engage in wide reading to formulate the research questions and propose methodology and research tools for their dissertation.

    The project can be carried out through secondary or combination of primary and secondary research, however the students must justify their decisions about the use of methodological approaches and research tools.

     The module aims to enable students to:

    • Develop professionally by pursuing a line of enquiry arising from their personal or professional interest.
    • Develop a critical understanding of the relationship between research and practice.
    • Exercise autonomy and judgement in applying professional knowledge and skills in context of professional practice and study.
    • Develop knowledge about research theory and research methodology relevant to business research.
    • Develop an understanding of stages involved in the research process and be prepared to deal with uncertainties and ambiguities of research.
    • Consider ethical frameworks and challenges when designing a piece of research and apply ethics throughout the research process.
    • Gain a practical experience in designing a piece of research, selecting appropriate methodology and research tools, gathering and analysing data.
    • Prepare for entry to post-graduate programmes.
  • Strategic Planning & Development for Buying and Merchandising – 30 Credits

    The module builds awareness of strategy as a crucial element in development of organisations which determines success or failure and examines a range of theories, frameworks and concepts which distinguish strategy as an academic discipline.

    This module equips students with the knowledge, skills and techniques required to set or adapt the company’s buying and merchandising strategy in response to the environmental factors such as consumer buying behaviours, economic and social trends as well as internal organisational contexts such as organisational culture, sense of social responsibility, technology focus, financial capability, stakeholder groups.

    The students will explore the influence of organisational values and organisational culture on strategic decision-making and will develop the skillset to build and manage strategic relationships. Advantages of organisational agility for results-oriented planning will be discussed.

    This module aims to:

    • consider the strategic role fashion buying and merchandising plays within organisations in the fashion industry
    • develop a critical understanding of strategy and strategic goal setting and analysis
    • examine and scrutinize contemporary approaches to the strategic decision-making process for buyers and merchandisers
    • further ability and skills to appraise the changing environment and distinctive contexts within which fashion organisations operate.
    • consider factors that impact on buying and merchandising through situational analysis, ethical sourcing, range selection and retail space planning.
    • develop practical and analytical skills to ensure product planning and development is targeted to maximise sales and profit margins.
    • identify internal threats and external challenges strategic product range development perspective.
    • expand appreciation of the competitive challenges of the contemporary global markets in fashion, textiles, and related industries, consider current competitive position and recognise opportunities for growth and improvement.
    • explore the evaluation of options, making realistic strategic choices using analysis and directional planning to achieve business goals within a fashion company.
    • enhance professional, managerial level judgement, risk assessment and results-oriented planning.

    develop confidence in using reporting methods in buying and merchandising to assist decision making and strategic planning.

Who will I learn from?

Programme Manager

Anne Marie McAuley

‘I absolutely love what I do and genuinely embrace supporting a person to develop and grow. I encourage and promote people at all levels to maximise their potential and hopefully instil a sense of purpose.

The are many careers one can pursue when completing a Portobello Institute fashion course. Part of my role is to help and support you to find the best path.’


After graduating from college in the USA with degrees in Business and Psychology, I initially worked as a milieu counsellor with young adults presenting with social and developmental difficulties – I was all about saving the world and think I still can – which was fantastic and the insights I gained in that role have helped me through my own journey to this day.

I always loved fashion, when I was small and then through my teenage years. I always wanted the latest trendy gear, constantly adapting my clothes myself to be a bit different. I was the first of my friends to have a pair of drainpipe jeans (known as skinnies these days!). I always had a part-time job in retail through school and in college at stores like Macy’s and Lord and Taylor.

My first job in a department store was at Christmas time and I was tasked with selling cashmere sweaters, the only section that the full-time and staff with tenure would allow me to work in as I was the ‘blown in college student’. I soon figured out that my best customer demographic was the panicked husband looking to purchase a gift for his wife and willing to spend ‘whatever to make her happy’ and of course who does not love cashmere – Cha-Ching! I did more in sales than anyone in the department and as we were commission-based, I was a very happy student. I was destined for a career in retail and fashion and I never forgot the importance of knowing your customer.

I then secured a job in Saks Fifth Ave as an assistant – really just running around New York picking up samples for photos, answering telephones, dressing mannequins, and doing whatever I was told to do, all the time absorbing and learning as much as I could. Back then being around designers like Michael Kors, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Ralph Lauren was an everyday occurrence.

I worked hard and soon became a junior buyer and then a senior buyer, I loved my job. I moved into the retail operations at Saks as I wanted to develop my skills and I found that leading, coaching, and developing people to also do well was one of my favourite parts of the job. I soon was heading up new store opening teams and one of my greatest achievements was the opening of the San Fran Store. It takes a huge team effort to train several hundred new staff and merchandise the store for opening. I travelled all over the country and enjoyed every day at Saks.

I moved back to Ireland where I secured the role of Retail Operations Manager of The Body Shop Ireland. I had always loved the product and admired their business ethos and not testing on animals. It soon became clear that there were huge challenges within the group around staff training and development which I embraced and was thrilled to be able to use my American experience to influence major decisions in changing the direction of The Body Shop. I also attended any training sessions that the company had for senior management to consistently develop my own skills in leadership and management. While at The Body Shop, I looked at how we could develop the business and came up with a body shop concession concept for pharmacies. We started with one and now there are 150 and the concept has been copied across Europe.

I decided to step away from the role when we were adopting my beautiful girl from Vietnam. For the next few years, I worked as a consultant in retail, so my schedule was flexible and partnered with companies like Claire’s Accessories, New Look, The Health Store Group, I also became a qualified trainer because helping, teaching, and supporting people were always top of my list.

I applied for the role of a tutor at Portobello Institute and started with delivering QQI level 6 business planning and then an opening came up in the fashion department to teach the buying and merchandising module. Wow, to be able to combine my qualifications, my fashion and business experience with my love of helping people to become successful while still being there for my daughter – fantastic. Of course, because it is in my nature to be a leader, yet still embrace inclusivity, I became the programme manager and have developed the fashion programme to be the number one course in the country. I am also on the panel of mentors of Enterprise Ireland, and on the panel of trainers with the Education Training Board.

Why did you choose to work in education?

I understand that to be a teacher is truly a calling of not just the mind, but the heart as well. I believe that great teachers are good at explaining content, are patient, yet firm with students, are always fair, set high expectations, know how to motivate, and use humour appropriately. Being an excellent communicator who has a command of the subject matter is really important. I have forged my own style of teaching that draws on my strengths, knowledge, skills, values, and experiences yet fully realise I still have much to learn and develop and I am always learning from my peers and my students.

I have chosen education as a career because I believe that education is perhaps the most important function performed in our culture, or for that matter, any culture. I believe that teachers individually and collectively can not only change the world, but improve it, and in the process find personal and professional renewal. I love being to be part of this noble profession and hope to continue to inspire all the students I meet.

Empathy is of huge importance to me and understanding that no matter how someone presents themselves to you there are always things going on behind the scenes. I know this from experience and have learned the importance of understanding that everyone learns differently while at the same time, a tutor must balance that with the demands of the professional industry that the students want a career in.

The fashion industry is demanding and challenging. It is my role to fully prepare students for the reality of those challenges.

Your experience as a Programme Manager

As a Programme Manager, I can develop the course content, so that it remains up-to-date and relevant. I can utilise my connections in the industry to connect our students with the best companies to fulfil their dreams of a career in fashion. I can ensure we have the best team of tutors who are all on board with our philosophies, and I can share my experience and learn from everyone on the team. I get to inspire and I enjoy every day that I am part of Portobello.

Why Portobello?

I have chosen to work at Portobello because I am afforded the opportunity to bring my unique style to the classroom. I get to work with a super team of individuals. I am respected and valued for my input. Yes, we have policies and procedures like any strong organisation has but I get to have fun at work.

We have smaller classes in Portobello which allow us to connect with each student as an individual. We have a holistic approach to education and can balance the academic content required while putting our students’ emotional and psychological needs to the fore.

We have a team of people here at Portobello who all want our student base to succeed, from the academic team to the support team in the office. We are always thrilled to share great news stories about our students, especially those who have overcome many obstacles before they arrived at Portobello and during their time with us.

A student should choose to study with us because they will have the journey of their lives while being supported the whole way through and beyond.

Anne Marie is the Programme Manager for Portobello Institute’s BA (Hons) Fashion Buying & Merchandising, BA (Hons) Fashion Management, Postgraduate Cert Fashion Buying & Merchandising and Postgraduate Cert in Fashion Management.

What Students Say

Stephanie Burns – Fashion Buying & Merchandising

“Anne Marie has the rare ability to make learning both interesting and enjoyable. Through the amazing stories of her first-hand experience in international business and her unique and fun teaching methods, she was able to inspire me in a way of wanting to be the best student that I could be. I was scared of going back to education after a long absence, but Anne Marie made the transition so easy.  She encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone, helped me recognise my strengths, and gave me the confidence that I needed to go forward and pursue my dream career in the fashion industry. She is both encouraging and inspiring, and I feel so lucky to have been one of her students. She truly changed my life.”

Mpho Morwaeng – Business Planning

“Being a student of Anne Marie’s has been the best experience in my tertiary education. I enjoyed each and every single class with her. Being an international student, coming all the way from Botswana to be in her class was worth it and it’s an experience I will cherish forever. She was always supportive, positive, and patient with me, in and out of class she was available to assist me with my studies. She did not criticise, she encouraged. She motivated and inspired me to do my best. She treated us equally in class and it made me feel free to ask questions and participate in class. Not only did she teach theory, but she was also very practical and demonstrated how everything applies in the real world. I will carry with me the knowledge and skills I gained from her forever.”


  • Bachelor’s Degree Psychology
  • Bachelors Degree Business
  • QQI Level 6 Train the Trainer
  • QQI level 6 Supervisor
  • Currently completing MA in Counselling

Research / Industry Participation

  • Developed the Student Internship Programme partnered with Industry leaders Primark, Brown Thomas, Arnotts, Pamela Scott, Lifestyle Sports, Diesel etc.
  • Mentor for Enterprise Ireland
  • Mentor for Meath Partnership
  • Panelist of Trainers for ETB


Personal Academic Tutor

Each student is assigned a personal academic tutor to support you throughout your learning journey. They are available to offer you telephone and email support at any time. You can arrange to meet them for further one to one guidance at a time convenient to you.

Many of our past graduates have found it is the opportunity to ask a simple question, seek direction and submit a draft of their assessment that supported them most to successful completion. Emailing your tutor at any stage during your programme to ask a query or submit a draft of your assessment supports you to achieve your personal best throughout your studies with Portobello.

This level of one to one support is a particular benefit to choosing Portobello as your Institute of choice to complete your studies.

Alan Whelan

Alan Whelan is a Portobello Institute lecturer who worked in psychology away from sports before moving into sports education. Cathal Brady was a Portobello student before becoming a lecturer. Barry Roe underwent a late career change to become a sports lecturer.

Alan Whelan?

Alan Whelan did all three.

“The big thing for me is I put off going back to full-time education. I sat in a job for six years, six out of 10 years that I knew I didn’t like it…I put off for years making that jump. And that’s always something I say to a lot of people, just go and chase what you want to do.

Even if it’s a mistake you won’t regret it.”

It wasn’t a mistake for Alan. He was 36 years of age when he first walked through the doors at Portobello Institute. Fearing that he would be the oldest student in the class, he’s familiar with how mature students feel when they now walk into his lectures.

Fortunately for Alan, his class was diverse and he wasn’t even the oldest student in the class. He almost proudly noted that another student was six months older than him.

Many of our sports students come back to education later in life because they weren’t pushed towards a career in sports when they left school. Despite being an intelligent student and a sports-obsessed teenager, the adults in Alan’s life guided him towards a more traditional college and career choice.

Real estate and corporate finance made up most of Alan’s next 18 years.

The day-to-day monotony of going into school to study subjects he had no interest in was replaced by the day-to-day monotony of going into an office and doing the same work over and over again.

“That mundane 9-5, sitting in a desk in front of a computer in that kind of corporate world was just killing me. It was boredom, it was monotonous. It was the same thing day in day out with little gratitude.

It was my wife who pushed me. She said ‘Look, you’re clearly not happy. Go and take the risk and do it’…I completely packed in my job, I was a couple months shy of 10 years working there.”

Had Alan reached the 10-year milestone, he could have earned an extra five days off each year. That was the only thing driving him to stay in work, the opportunity to get out of work. Instead of getting that five days off, he took three years off and studied the Sports Science and Physical Education degree at Portobello Institute.

“When I gave up my full-time job, I had a little bit of savings behind me. My idea was I was going to completely stop working and I was going to focus on year one of the degree, then with the potential of getting some part-time work in year two and three to help.

But I actually ended up not working for the entire three years.

I remember I used to say to people ‘I have never been so broke in my entire life but I’ve never been as happy as I am now.’”

That happiness extended further when Alan travelled up to the University of Ulster in Belfast to do his master’s in sports psychology.

Dr. Susan Giblin had noticed Alan’s enthusiasm for his education in sports. She also noticed how impressive his dissertation was before offering him the opportunity to become a lecturer at Portobello. Alan took all of five seconds to realize it was a great idea.

“I’m enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. It’s more freedom [compared to my previous jobs]…Now I’m working in Portobello and I set up my own psychology business last February.

It’s night and day the difference, particularly in relation to my own happiness.”

Having followed the path from uninterested secondary school student to college dropout to staying in the wrong career for more than 10 years, Alan can empathize with all of his students. Those students who have experienced that office depression can listen to him outline what his job is now and where he works.

He is no longer chained to an office for eight hours a day. Instead, he can work from home, can work in a sports hall, a classroom, on a field, in a locker room or, if he suddenly gets the urge, he can go and work in an office.

But working in an office would now be a choice he makes rather than something he does out of necessity.

That is because of the education he received at Portobello Institute and the decisions he made to take risks in pursuit of what he wanted.

Alan himself notes that he’s a happier person now, which makes him a more effective lecturer. He loves engaging his students and guiding them towards where they want to go.

“I am a very open and approachable tutor. I believe in a student-centred approach to learning, with student engagement and discussion at the heart of every lecture.

A firm believer in the benefits of effective goal setting, engaging in reflective practice and practical application, I employ a number of sport psychology related skills into the education setting to ensure all students maximize their potential for learning.”

Jaimie Caron

“Buyers will be taking pieces from designers to put into high street stores so they need a respect and understanding of the design process. That’s what I’m here to give” – Jaimie Caron, Advance Design Skills Tutor, Fashion Department, Portobello Institute.


Fashion and design have been a part of Jaimie Carron’s life from a very early age.

“Well, I ran a fashion business from 5th class,” says Jaimie, who is an Advanced Design Skills tutor at Portobello Institute.

That early business involved Jaimie designing and producing jewellery for classmates and beyond and it picked up substantial notoriety.

“It grew throughout the time I was in college. I got to collaborate with Swarovski. I won the Junior Enterprise competition for Ireland. I did Dragon’s Den.”

While it was jewellery design that first piqued her interest she has since moved away from the area.

“Absolutely loved jewellery design. Had planned to go into that and then pivoted to fashion design, manufacturing and textile development”.

Jaimie has a degree in Fashion Design and Textile Development from the Limerick School of Art and Design, a constituent school of Limerick Institute of Technology.

She has completed an internship with Alanagh Clegg and her company, Four Threads, a fashion business that puts sustainability at the forefront of their work.

Sustainable and ethical fashion is a big priority for Jaimie, who lists one of her main influences as Iris van Herpen. She also lists the likes of Chanel and Dior “but Iris van Herpen would be the main one. She works with 3D printing and it’s zero waste, all sustainable”.

Domestically, Jaimie mentions the likes of Aoife McNamara, Colin Horgan and Alanagh Clegg as some of the leading figures, for her, in the Irish fashion design industry. When asked if she has aspirations of joining them in the future, Jaimie says:

“Absolutely. I’ve always wanted to head in that direction eventually. But for the minute I want to get my Master’s degree and I can do that alongside this (tutoring at Portobello) which is perfect.”

As mentioned, Jaimie joins Portobello Institute as an Advanced Design Skills tutor.

“Basically, what I’ll be doing is teaching from start to finish what the process is for manufacturing a garment. So, this would be for fashion and merchandising. Buyers will be taking pieces from designers to put into high street stores, so they need respect and understanding of the design process. That’s what I’m here to give”.

The fashion department at Portobello Institute is growing and this is a key factor for Jaimie.

“Getting in at the minute it’s the excitement of watching the place grow and seeing what will come of everything and everyone.”

Past testimonials of students were another enticing aspect of the role.

“Seeing stories from the graduates of the fashion programme, it seemed like a very innovative way of teaching this course, which I haven’t seen before. All of that really just drew me in.”


  • QQI Level 6 Training Delivery and Evaluation
  • Limerick School of Art and Design – BA Honours Degree in Fashion Design

Sinead Kelly

Position: Fashion tutor

About Sinead

I am a fashion creative based in Dublin. Having graduated from Dublin City University with a BA in Journalism and Irish, I immediately pursued my fashion instincts by doing internships with RTE Fashion online, followed by Stellar Magazine.

I began working with Folkster, in its infancy, where I spent four years working across all areas of the development of the independent retail store and online shopping website, specifically in terms of press and marketing, and fashion styling.

Four years later, countless photo shoots, kilo sale events, buying trips and business adventures, the Kilkenny store grew to encompass a second store in Dublin, a growing online business, and the start of a successful venture into the Bridal world, all of which I was actively involved in.

In 2014 I returned to DCU where she achieved a Masters in Marketing. All the while, I have steadily grown my freelance work through assisting other stylists, and taking on projects of my own. I host my portfolio on

I began my current role as Personal Shopper in Arnotts, Ireland’s oldest and largest department store, shortly after. Each day is filled with appointments encompassing wardrobe overhauls, capsule corporate wear, formal and occasion wear, and menswear. Each client experiences a personable and relaxed service while being provided with an array of choices tailored to their personal tastes and requirements.

Alongside the coordination of daily appointments, my responsibilities and duties also span to include working/hosting in store events, styling photo shoots and commercial opportunities (ie. TV appearances, dressing notable public figures etc.), contributing to Arnotts social media pages, organising, styling and speaking at corporate events and attending seasonal press events. I was delighted to style and Rosie Fortescue (Made in Chelsea) for irish Tatler, in conjunction with Arnotts. Working with Aaron Hurley, the shoot was published in December 2016.

At the same time, I teamed up with now business partner, Tobi Balogun, and launched Selfmade Clothing. Selfmade is a concept clothing brand encompassing reworked vintage into its range of product. Whereby we both saw a gap in the market to exude individuality through dressing, Selfmade’s mission is to inspire ‘You being the best version of you, no matter what!’

Whereby high street clothing was replicated, and somewhat uninspiring, we took the leap and created the brand to bring something new to the fashion scene. A typically urban, street wear brand, Selfmade has customers worldwide, including Irish model and DJ Daniella Moyles, and an array of international dance choreographers such as Tony Tzar (LA), Kerrie Milne (Dublin/LA). The brand has been featured in the Irish Examiner, and MFI magazine. Working with emerging artists and creatives, we ensure unique, raw authenticity in their work. With myself as Creative Director and Stylist, the brand has produced many campaigns over the past few years, and house their works on

In October 2018, I assumed yet another role, this time as a Fashion Tutor at Portobello Institute in Dublin. With my creative experience and academic background, I am tutor of Fashion Styling, Digital Marketing, and Retail Administrations.

Work to date

  • Fashion Stylist: Arnotts SS18, Men’s Fashion Ireland (MFI),, Irish Tatler, Folkster Ltd, Folkster Bridal, RTE Guide – 2 Cover Shoots, RTE Ten, Xpose, Irish Independent Weekend Magazine, The Silver Factory, Fish Tail Soup Apparel, United Colors of Benetton for Fashion One TV
  • Fashion Styling Assistant: The Voice of Ireland 2014; Harvey Nichols Fashion Show S/S14, A/W14, Happy Closet Launch Night; Irish Independent Weekend Magazine; Irish Times Fashion Feature – Aviary Lane; Arnotts Menswear A/W14; Stena Line Commercial July 2014.

Press features/profiles

  • Stellar Magazine Streetstyle 2013
  • U Magazine Fashion Diary Feature 2014
  •  Irish Examiner Streets Ahead feature 2014
  •  U Magazine – So You Think You Want My Job – 2016
  • Stellar Magazine – A Day in the Life feature – 2018

How will I learn?

Full-Time delivery offers you the opportunity to study with a more traditional schedule with lectures delivered on-site in Portobello during weekdays. Typically, those lectures are generally scheduled between Tuesday and Thursday. Monday’s lectures are delivered online.

Blended Learning is essentially the same, with a blend of online and on-site lectures taking place at the weekends. This makes it easier for you to study while working full-time. It also makes studying for a degree more accessible if you live outside of Dublin.

With both delivery modes, there will be lectures you need to attend on-site due to the nature of the content – practical skills etc. All online only lectures are recorded for you to catch up later. Where lectures are delivered onsite – these will simultaneously be delivered online and will also be recorded so you can customise your learning journey – attend on-site, online, or catch-up later.

Delivery Mode

This programme is delivered full-time; in third level education this means 12- 16 hours of lectures per week. Portobello ensures scheduling of course timetables is considerate of students travel and accommodation arrangements, part-time working and study-life balance. The course timetable is condensed to be delivered with onsite classes 2-3 days per week over 2 semesters. Examinations are held at the end of each semester. Where possible, classes scheduled for Monday, are delivered online.

Practical classes are delivered in a fully equipped design studio.

Tutor Support

You can email your tutor at any stage during the module to ask a simple query and there will be scheduled opportunities to submit a draft of your assignment. Our programme management team are always available to offer you telephone and email support and if you need to, you can arrange to meet them for further one to one guidance. For more information about our team, click here. Many of our past graduates have found it is the opportunity to ask a simple question, seek direction and submit a draft of their assessment that supported them most to successful completion.

This level of one-to-one support is unique to Portobello Institute and is a particular benefit to choosing this Institute to gain your degree with. Portobello Institute has invested in a team of programme managers and tutors who are experienced early years practitioners as well as qualified and knowledgeable educators. They are available to assist you at every stage of this programme.

Online Learning Portal – ePortobello

During the induction seminar, we will show you how to navigate and find what you need with all of the information you need to complete this programme uploaded on to ePortobello. The content of this programme is set out in an easy to follow format with a combination of notes, articles, podcasts and other materials that will help you to understand the subject and complete your assessment.

Course Structure

This course is delivered over three academic years. During your first year you will complete the core modules which will introduce you to this field of study and provide you with essential skills that will aid your study for the course of your degree.

In second year, you will complete a total of four modules each semester, with one year long core module which runs for the duration of both semesters.

In third year, the core modules include your final year dissertation project in the area of fashion business and your work placement.

The Academic Calendar

The first academic year of this course runs from 2/10/2023 – 25/05/2024

Classes are generally delivered 2-3 days per week and are scheduled mid-week where possible.

The second and third academic years of this course will run on a similar schedule in 2024 and 2025

Real Life Learning Opportunities

Work Experience

Putting into practice the skills learned in class is key to gaining employment in the fashion industry. Portobello Institute has established strong links with many of the main fashion buying and merchandising departments within some of Ireland’s largest retailers. We are delighted to announce our students, full and blended, can now participate on a work experience placement programme with some of the participating companies listed below;

Arnotts, Brown Thomas, Harvey Nicholls, Primark, Dunnes Stores, Lifestyle Sports, Jack & Jones, Junarose, Mamalicious, Name IT, Noisy May, Only, Only & Sons, Postyr, Pamela Scott, Selected, Vero Moda, Vila Clothes.

Fashion Event Showcasing Irish Designers

Essential to becoming a buyer or merchandiser is developing a keen eye for trends, understanding the cycle within the fashion industry and having the opportunity to network and meet professionals in the fashion industry. Portobello Institute has integrated a number of key events within the fashion calendar to expose students of this course to the professionals working in the sector.

Each year, students of this programme collaborate together to create a showcase event for Irish designers. The purpose of this event is to give students the opportunity to work with designers and gain some understanding of the designer showcase and buying process.

Field Trips

Portobello Institute organises trips each year to the following major fashion events in the annual calendar;

  • Fashion City, Dublin
  • Pure in London
  • Moda in Birmingham
  • Pret-a-Porter, Milan, Italy

These are usually one day return trips and are booked with minimal cost for students. They are not included in the fees and are optional.

Guest Lecturers

Once off guest lectures are organised throughout the calendar year to give student’s an opportunity to gain insight into either a particular brand, the career of an established and successful professional in the fashion industry or an upcoming trend in fashion. These lecturers vary year to year but are always an interesting experience for our students.

How will I be assessed?

SMART assessments – we use a range of assessments for each module designed to support a broad range of learning styles, giving you the opportunity to excel.

The primary aim of the varying assessment styles is to support you to demonstrate your knowledge of theory and practical with assignments such as fashion business case studies, audits, development plans, presentations showcasing your practical skills.

We will encourage you to explore and support you to complete several innovative assessment formats such as presentations, posters, portfolios, podcasts, blogs, which further support development of your creative and digital skills and will give you confidence to share your knowledge with colleagues, peers, and other professionals.

Group assignments will add another dimension to your learning experience – they will help you to learn to work in teams and will provide you with benefits of peer learning.

All these methods are seeking to support you to combine theory with scenario-based learning and encourage and guiding you for future implementation into your career in the business of fashion.


Course Delivery Mode
BA (Hons) Fashion Buying & Merchandising
Delivery Mode
Full Time
Download Brochure

Career prospects

This degree is for people with a flair and interest in the fashion industry along with a desire to develop fashion business skills. 

This programme will be taught by experts in fashion buying and merchandising, design, marketing, visual media and display, business and marketing, supply chain management, finance, digital marketing, leadership and management, business analysis, communication and organisational skills, brand management and global trading. 

These experts will also have hands-on experience in implementing innovative approaches to management with good decision-making skills and actions, with a noticeably clear understanding of the world of fashion management, buying and merchandising. Some are phenomenally successful entrepreneurs in the eCommerce and digital branding world which allows them to be at the forefront of this fast-moving and ever-changing business of fashion. These skillsets and experiences will allow us to keep our students up to date in real-time for the best career opportunities.

The difference between the role of the buyer and the merchandiser

The Buyer

A retail buyer is responsible for planning and selecting a range of products to sell in retail outlets. The buyer must consider the following factors when making purchasing decisions:

  • Customer demand, including price, quality and availability assortment.
  • Trend Forecasting.
  • Sales analysis.
  • Financial budgets.

Buyers source new merchandise and review existing items to ensure products remain competitive. By fully understanding customer needs, they are able to maximise profits and provide a commercially viable range of merchandise at competitive prices. Keeping up to date with market trends and reacting to changes in demand are key elements of the role.

Retail buyers have a considerable amount of responsibility and autonomy in what is often a pressured environment.

Typical work activities can vary according to the season. This is particularly true for those working in fashion. For example, out of season, the majority of time will be spent in the workplace (in the office and on the shop floor), and during the buying season, a significant amount of time will be spent away from the workplace in order to assemble a new collection of merchandise. Starting salaries range from €26,000 per annum.

Typical work activities

  • analysing consumer buying patterns and predicting future trends;
  • regularly reviewing key performance indicators, such as sales and discount levels;
  • managing plans for stock levels;
  • reacting to changes in demand and logistics;
  • meeting suppliers and negotiating terms of contract;
  • maintaining relationships with existing suppliers and sourcing new suppliers for future products;
  • liaising with other departments within the organisation to ensure projects are completed;
  • attending trade fairs, in the UK and overseas, to select and assemble a new collection of products;
  • participating in promotional activities;
  • writing reports and forecasting sales levels;
  • presenting new ranges to senior retail managers;
  • liaising with shop personnel to ensure supply meets demand;
  • getting feedback from customers;
  • training and mentoring junior staff.
  • strong analytical skills;
  • negotiating skills and the ability to network and influence people;
  • teamworking and interpersonal skills;
  • excellent communication skills;
  • numeracy skills and proficiency using IT;
  • good organisation skills and the ability to multitask;
  • the ability to cope with the pressure of having to make important decisions and meet tight deadlines;
  • the ability to work in a fast-paced environment and achieve targets;
  • drive and determination;
  • commercial awareness;
  • leadership attributes;
  • creative flair;
  • confident presentation style;
  • a passion for retail;


The Retail Merchandiser

Merchandisers are responsible for ensuring that products appear in the right store, or on a website, at the appropriate time and in the correct quantities. This involves working closely with the buying teams to accurately forecast trends, plan stock levels and monitor performance.

While the buyer selects the lines, the merchandiser decides how much money should be spent, how many lines should be bought, and in what quantities. In smaller companies, the same person may be responsible for both buying and merchandising.

Merchandisers play a key role within organisations, as profitability can be affected by how successfully they undertake their work. Merchandisers set prices to maximise profits and manage the performance of ranges, planning promotions and markdowns as necessary. They also oversee delivery and distribution of stock and deal with suppliers. Salaries start at €32,000 for this role.

Typical work activities

These vary depending on the company and the particular retail sector, but will typically include:

  • planning product ranges and preparing sales and stock plans in conjunction with buyers;
  • liaising with buyers, analysts, stores, suppliers and distributors;
  • maintaining a comprehensive library of appropriate data;
  • working closely with visual display staff and department heads to decide how goods should be displayed to maximise customer interest and sales;
  • producing layout plans for stores, sometimes called ‘statements’;
  • forecasting profits and sales, and optimising the sales volume and profitability of designated product areas;
  • planning budgets and presenting sales forecasts and figures for new ranges;
  • controlling stock levels based on forecasts for the season;
  • using specialist computer software, for example to handle sales statistics, produce sales projections and present spreadsheets and graphs;
  • analysing every aspect of bestsellers (for example, the bestselling price points, colours or styles) and ensuring that bestsellers reach their full potential;

Salaries for buyers start at €26,000 whilst Merchandiser salaries start at €32,000 per annum.

Related Courses

Speak to an expert

Choosing a course that will lead you to your career of choice is a significant decision. Understanding the delivery modes, supports available, career opportunities and further study options are all key considerations when making your choice. Our course adviser team are experts in the courses Portobello offers, the employment prospects and possible progression routes to Masters programmes – they will guide you through the detail and support you with any queries you may have.

It is important you make the right choice for you and choose the Institute and course that will best suit your needs.

Your Consultant

How do I apply?

Entry is by direct application to Portobello Institute

With a Leaving Certificate

Leaving Certificate requirements – Minimum of grade C or O6 in English and Maths with a pass in 4 other subjects.

Sitting the Leaving Certificate in 2023

Students may apply and be granted a “Conditional Offer” prior to completing the Leaving Certificate.

Step 1 – Submit application

Step 2 – Review of application and confirmation of eligibility criteria and entry requirements

Step 3 – Conditional Offer issued on the basis of successful achievement of LC requirements

Step 4 – Confirm acceptance of a place and pay deposit as detailed

Places cannot be held open for applicants awaiting leaving certificate results, however, should a student accept a place and then choose not to progress with this course having received a CAO offer, a refund of 75% of fees paid will be made. Refunds must be requested in writing within 48 hours after the first-round offers have been made. This will only be accepted by emailing [email protected]. Evidence of CAO offer acceptance must be provided along in order to apply for a refund.

Applicants who have previously completed the Leaving Certificate;

Minimum of grade C or O6 in English and Maths with a pass in 4 other subjects.

Without a Leaving Certificate

Students are accepted on to this programme without a leaving certificate however applicants must meet one of the following criteria;

  • QQI level 5 major award preferably but not essentially in retail, design, business or finance.
  • Alternative retail, business, design or finance qualification.
  • An undergraduate degree in another subject.
  • Experiential Learning in retail, business, finance or a related field with a QQI Level 5 or equivalent award in any subject.
  • Mature entry at 21 years. Mature student applications are reviewed on a case by case basis and entry is via interview. Those who do not meet any of the above criteria, must complete a QQI Level 5 Fashion Buying single award or equivalent course to confirm academic capability. The QQI Level 5 Fashion Buying award is available through Portobello Institute and is delivered frequently through various modes of study.
Application Process

Step 1

Complete the online application form.

Step 2

Applicant’s application will be reviewed by the Portobello enrolment team.

Step 3

Applicant’s will be contacted by the Portobello enrolment team to confirm place on the course or for more information.

Depending on your application, you may be required to email copies of transcripts of previous qualifications, leaving certificate results or evidence of work experience.

Confirming Eligibility Criteria

We also seek to understand that applicants have a genuine interest in working within the fashion industry, they understand the sector, and the requirements of the programme. Meeting each applicant offers both the student and our team the opportunity to explore the programme and that this programme and Portobello Institute is the right career choice. This meeting happens (online) at a time convenient to applicants and is with a member of our programme management or advisory team.

Places on this programme are limited and early application is advised. Following our confirmation of eligibility and an offer of a place to you, we reserve a place for you for 14 days. Thereafter, unconfirmed offers are released and your place may be offered to another applicant.

Fees & Payment Options


Course Price

Year 1 base fee


Exam Body Reg. Fee


Overall Course Price

Total amount due


Easy Payment Plan

Payment Option 1

40% deposit payment (€2,409.60), followed by 6 scheduled payments on the first of each month, commencing the 1st of the month after the start date of the course. Includes one off instalment fee of €295.

  • €602.40 due in month 1
  • €602.40 due in month 2
  • €602.40 due in month 3
  • €602.40 due in month 4
  • €602.40 due in month 5
  • €602.40 due in month 6

Payment Option 2

40% deposit payment (€2,291.60) due on application of your course. Final balance (€3,437.40) due before the course start date.


Course Price

Year 1 base fee


Exam Body Reg. Fee


Overall Course Price

Total amount due


Available Courses

Course Delivery Mode Start Date Duration Fees Per Year
BA (Hons) Fashion Buying & Merchandising
Delivery Mode
Full Time
Start Date
2nd October 2023
3 years
Fees Per Year
BA (Hons) Fashion Buying & Merchandising
Delivery Mode
Full Time
Start Date
30th September 2024
3 years
Fees Per Year


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Hooray! One small step for you, one giant leap for your future! Enter your email and you will be redirected to our application platform, where you can complete your application in your own time. Here's what to expect:

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  2. You'll be redirected to our Application platform
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  5. Submit your application
  6. One of our course advisors will review and be in touch needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at anytime. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy.