Course Details

Delivered through blended learning, you can work full time and study this BA (Hons) in Fashion Management. This qualification is designed to enhance your fashion and business skills to fast-track progression up the career ladder in the business environment of the global fashion industry.

€4,315.00 Per academic year
Start Date
30th September 2023
Honours Degree
Portobello Institute
Course Duration
3 years


Are you interested in becoming a business manager in the fashion industry? Portobello Institute’s BA (Hons) in Fashion Management is an international qualification that will allow you to advance your career in the business of fashion.

This blended learning Fashion Management degree programme encompasses the skills and knowledge that are necessary to succeed as a  manager in today’s competitive fashion industry environment.

Flexibility to switch to Fashion Buying & Merchandising after year 1

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

Designed by our experienced programme management and tutoring team in consultation with leading retailers, this BA (Hons) Fashion Management offers you the opportunity to advance your skills and progress to the next level in the business environment of the global fashion industry.

Essential skills for a career in fashion management

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 fashion management roles.

Areas of study will 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 also a significant focus.

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. 

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, helping you maintain a work/study/life balance.
  • 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 blended learning BA (Hons) Fashion Management 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.

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

Gain employment through our strong network of connections

Gaining employment in the business side of the fashion industry is the objective of this degree and it is important students have the opportunity to gain practical experience and build a network of contacts within the sector.

Portobello Institute has an established network of connections with many of the main fashion departments within some of Ireland’s largest retailers. The work experience programme for this programme affords students the opportunity to engage with some of the leading fashion brands in Ireland and the UK and leverage those connections to advance their careers. These include brands operating in the luxury fashion arena such as Brown Thomas and Harvey Nichols to brands operating in fast-moving high fashion such as Primark and Vero Moda.

Students may also take up an international work experience placement at the end of the programme with a global brand operating in UK, US, Sweden, Spain or Portugal. Companies participating in our work experience programme invest considerable time in our students and recruit directly from this placement programme.

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 the opportunity to access a career in the business of fashion, with a qualification that is accessible, affordable and achievable.

“Don’t go too fast. People have to go to school, learn their craft, and build a brand – that’s the right healthy way to do things.”

- Anna Wintour - Vogue

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 (London Met).

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.

What will I study during this BA (Hons) Fashion Management – Blended – Starts September ’23 course?

Considering and understanding the complex critical paths in range planning including balancing lead times, design options, pricing strategies, sourcing strategies and the movement of stock into and out of the business are core elements of the BA (Hons) Fashion Management degree. Factors affecting the supply chain including product market strategies and external forces within the market are also studied during this module.

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.

The long-term development of any retail fashion business is more and more dependent on the contribution of fashion managers. This comprehensive programme studies the retail environment from the perspective of consumer behaviour and how global consumers respond to the branded fashion environment. Participation in practical retail visual merchandising projects is a core element with window display, planograms for retail stores and department floor retail display covered in detail.

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.

Having the ability to forecast trends needs a complete understanding of the design and development of a complete range for a fashion season. The modules you will undertake as part of this degree will shape your knowledge for all aspects of fashion management from the Culture & History of Fashion, Fashion Trends & Consumer Behaviour to Leading & Managing Diverse Organisations and Business & Analysis for the Fashion Industry.

You will also learn design, how a garment is constructed and how materials are sourced. In class, the students learn how to sew and design, draft a pattern and create a garment from scratch while learning how to sew. 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.

Complementing these fashion-focused modules are the core business subjects of marketing, human resource management, business management and finance. Advanced spreadsheet skills are a core skill of anyone working in the business of fashion and is often a practical skills test at the interview stage for major retailers.

Key fashion management elements of this course include strategic planning and development for fashion business environments, business and analysis for the fashion industry and fashion marketing and consumer insights.

  • Fashion Trends & Consumer Behaviour – 15 Credits
  • 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.


  • 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 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


  • Study Skills and Enquiry in Health 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.
  • Fashion Marketing & Consumer Insights – 15 Credits

    The module builds on year one marketing and consumer behaviour learning and knowledge and aims to develop an advanced understanding of marketing communications theory and practice with focus on both strategic and operational aspects. It fosters critical in-depth understanding how consumer insights inform marketing practices and promotes development of key industry-standard skills within the fashion management context.
    It enables students to gain a first-hand experience in setting up live marketing communications campaigns in different contexts by combining both traditional media and new digital options.

    The module builds on an appreciation of the market research processes methods and metrics used to gain consumer insight for informed effective marketing decisions.

    This module aims to:

    • develop a critical understanding of the importance of studying and understanding fashion consumer behaviour.
    • appreciate their role and contribution to the marketing function as a market researcher
    • foster development of key skills to plan effective fashion marketing campaigns and respond to a strategic creative brief and creative deliverables.

    Develop strategic marketing plans considering issues of sustainability and ethical treatment of stakeholders in local and global contexts

  • Business & Analysis for the Fashion Industry – 30 Credits

    The module equips the students to understand fashion organisations in contexts past, present and future, and enable them to analyse the macro, micro, internal and external business, and economic markets they operate in. An understanding of the environments will facilitate the interpretation of situations and enable decisions that add value for businesses.

    The focus of the module is on the external and internal influences on organizations and the effect these have on business practices. Examples, illustrations and case studies will be drawn from the fashion industry sector and applied to reinforce basic concepts. This will enhance the ability of the students to understand business problems and aspects of the business and economic environment. Topics and case studies will cover business issues that are contemporary and relevant to the real world.

    The module aims to:

    • Develop awareness of the factors that influence business and economic environments
    • Differentiate between micro-, macro-, internal, and external environments.
    • Understand how various markets operate within the fashion industry
    • Appreciate how external and internal influences affect decision-making processes
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Fashion Marketing & Consumer Insights – 15 Credits

    The module builds on year one marketing and consumer behaviour learning and knowledge and aims to develop an advanced understanding of marketing communications theory and practice with focus on both strategic and operational aspects. It fosters critical in-depth understanding how consumer insights inform marketing practices and promotes development of key industry-standard skills within the fashion management context.
    It enables students to gain a first-hand experience in setting up live marketing communications campaigns in different contexts by combining both traditional media and new digital options.

    The module builds on an appreciation of the market research processes methods and metrics used to gain consumer insight for informed effective marketing decisions.

    This module aims to:

    • develop a critical understanding of the importance of studying and understanding fashion consumer behaviour.
    • appreciate their role and contribution to the marketing function as a market researcher
    • foster development of key skills to plan effective fashion marketing campaigns and respond to a strategic creative brief and creative deliverables.

    Develop strategic marketing plans considering issues of sustainability and ethical treatment of stakeholders in local and global contexts

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Strategic Planning & Development for Fashion Business Environments – 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 strategy or adapt strategy in response to the environment and circumstances.

    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 and interventions to maximise the potential of agile workforce will be discussed.

    The module aims to:

    • examine and scrutinize contemporary approaches to the strategic fashion management process
    • develop a critical understanding of strategy and strategic goal setting and analysis.
    • further ability and skills to appraise the changing environment and distinctive contexts within which fashion organisations operate.
    • develop practical and analytical skills to evaluate the current internal strengths and weaknesses of organisations and identify external factors
    • identify internal threats and external challenges to a fashion organisation’s development from a strategic management 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.

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 instill 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 senior buyer, I loved my job. I move 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 merchandising 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 as 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, 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 realising 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 fulfill 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 allows 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.

Check out our Business of Fashion department here.

Follow @fashionportobello on Instagram to watch Anne Marie McAuley Instagram Live interviews with tutors and students.

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 recognize 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 criticize, 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.

How will I learn?

Delivery Mode

Blended learning takes the schedule of a traditional face to face learning programme and re-structures it to reduce the contact tuition time by introducing more online learning together with one to one tutor support.  This mode of delivery includes contact tuition and web-based e-learning sessions. The e-learning platform is interactive including recorded sessions, webinars with weekly content and assigned tasks to themes and topics. This mode of delivery will usually include a minimum of one on-site seminar per month attendance required. This type of delivery is generally applied to courses with a practical skills element and allows you to work full-time and balance the requirements of a lengthy programme with home and work.

The Difference between Blended Learning and Full Time Delivery Modes

There are two delivery mode options for this degree available in Portobello Institute giving you the freedom to choose how you will learn and making education accessible around work and life commitments.

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 scheduled between Tuesday and Thursday. Monday’s lectures are delivered online, and lectures do not take place on Fridays.

Blended Learning is essentially the same, with a blend of online and on-site lectures taking place in the evening and/or at the weekend. 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.

Having the flexibility to choose whether you attend a lecture as it is taking place or to catch up later means you can seamlessly access and fit education into your life whilst still continuing with your everyday life.

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 blended learning and is a particular benefit to choosing this mode of study. 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.

Other delivery modes available

Full Time

BA (Hons) Fashion Management – Full time – Starts Oct ’23

Portobello Institute
Start Date
2nd October 2023

Course Structure

This programme is structured for delivery over 3 academic years, with 2 semesters per academic year. There are workshops held once a month on a Saturday to cover the practical element, and webinars held throughout the semester. Webinars are recorded so you may catch up later if you are unable to attend the live session. There are pre-recorded sessions and online activities that you can review at a time convenient to you.

The Saturday workshops are held onsite, with breaks throughout the day. The evening webinars are 1-1½ long and are scheduled between 6.30pm and 9pm to accommodate students who work full-time. All sessions are recorded so you may review the session at a later stage should you be unable to log-in at the scheduled time.

The semester structure ensures you can focus on a small number of modules per term while also working on your professional practice portfolio.

The course will open with a module which will help you to develop the skills which you will need to achieve success at a degree level, such as sourcing credible information, academic writing, referencing, computer skills, basic research methods, time management and planning, emotional aspects of studying and at higher education level and student well-being. Completing the module will build a solid base for your further professional and academic development throughout the programme.


This course is timetabled with online, onsite and pre-recorded sessions.

The timetable of classes is available here


All times and dates are provisional and subject to change.

The Academic Calendar

This programme is delivered over 3 academic years.

The first academic year of this course runs from 30/09/2023 – 24/05/2024

Each academic year is delivered for a similar duration and starts and finishes at approximately the same time each year.

The timetable of sessions is available here

There are breaks for Christmas and Easter during the semesters.

Attendance at webinars

There are online webinars held during each Semester.

A schedule of the specific dates is available here – please note these dates are subject to change.

Attendance at webinars is not mandatory however is recommended for an optimal learning experience and achievement.

Webinars are recorded so you may catch up later should you be unable to to attend.

One to one tutor support is available throughout the programme if you are unable to attend a webinar.

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 part-time, 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.

Paid Internship with Primark

This year we are delighted to announce the success of past pupils working for Primark in their buying and merchandising department. Primark are now offering the opportunity of a full 1-year paid internship within their business. This is a significant opportunity to gain experience within a global brand that is fast growing and is renowned to be the best within its segment of the fashion industry. The selection of the candidate to participate on this internship is based on their performance during this programme, followed by a competitive interview process as set down by Primark.

International Work Experience Placements

Portobello Institute is delighted to support students seeking to broaden their experience with an international work experience placement programme. This programme is optional and commences at the end of semester 2. Students participating on this programme are required to take a placement for a minimum of 3 months and those placements are available in the UK, Sweden, Spain, Portugal and the US. Students seeking to avail of placements in the US must meet the necessary visa requirements.

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 students 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.

Career prospects

The fashion industry’s worth promises to reach $1.7 trillion in 2022 and the global fashion e-commerce market will reach $765 billion in 2022 (Statistica). 

Fashion buying,  merchandising and management are some of the most sought-after careers in the global fashion industry.

The rising pressure on supply chains, the pressure to reach sustainability goals and the risks of dealing in the online world are some of the main challenges the fashion industry faces in 2022.

Fashion managers have huge opportunities to have an impact on overcoming these challenges and leading the future of the industry. Holding a BA (Hons) in Fashion Management will put you ahead of the curve to take on the best roles and build your career in the business of fashion.

Related Courses

Blended Learning

BA (Hons) Fashion Buying & Merchandising – Blended – Starts September ’23

Delivered through blended learning, you can work full time and study this BA (Hons) in Fashion Buying and Merchandising. This degree is awarded by London Metropolitan University and qualifies you to work within the business environment of the global fashion industry, launching your career as a fashion buyer and merchandiser.

Portobello Institute
Start Date
30th September 2023
Full Time

BA (Hons) Fashion Buying & Merchandising – Full-time – Oct ’23

This full-time 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.

Portobello Institute
Start Date
2nd October 2023

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 2022

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 can not 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, after first round CAO offers have been made, a refund of 75% of fees paid will be made. Refunds must be requested in writing on or before 25th August 2022

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 booking form.

Apply Now

Step 2

Applicants will be contacted to confirm eligibility criteria of entry requirements.

Step 3

Applicants will be offered a place upon review of their application.

Confirming Eligibility Criteria

Our course advisory team will contact you to confirm you meet the eligibility criteria.  Depending on your application, you may be required to email copies of transcripts of previous qualifications, leaving certificate results or evidence of work experience.

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

  • Year 1 Fees & Payment Options

    Fees (Year1)

    Course Price

    Per academic year.


    Exam Body Reg. Fee

    Per academic year.


    Full Payment

    Total amount payable (Year 1).


    Easy Payment Plan

    Deposit of 33%. Balance payable in 8 equal instalments commencing the 1st of the month after the course commences. There is an additional fee of €365 applied to instalment plan. All additional fees such as exam body registration fees and instalment plan admin fees are included in the easy payment plan detailed.

    Deposit + 8 Instalments

    Deposit payment (€1,654.95), followed by 8 scheduled payments every 1 month(s). Includes one off instalment fee of €365.00.

    • €420.01 due on 1st October 2023.
    • €420.01 due on 1st November 2023.
    • €420.01 due on 1st December 2023.
    • €420.01 due on 1st January 2024.
    • €420.01 due on 1st February 2024.
    • €420.01 due on 1st March 2024.
    • €420.01 due on 1st April 2024.
    • €420.01 due on 1st May 2024.
  • Year 2 Fees & Payment Options

    Fees (Year2)

    Course Price

    Per academic year.


    Exam Body Reg. Fee

    Per academic year.


    Full Payment

    Total amount payable (Year 2).

  • Year 3 Fees & Payment Options

    Fees (Year3)

    Course Price

    Per academic year.


    Exam Body Reg. Fee

    Per academic year.


    Full Payment

    Total amount payable (Year 3).