Clothing stores of all levels are always full of the season’s latest fashions and these styles aren’t just automatically shipped to the stores from the factories. Fashion buyers have to decide what is going to be sold in their stores and they choose each individual piece themselves. Then they order the quantity and it’s delivered to their stores to be sold. So how do these buyers find all of these fabulous pieces for the stores you shop in?
Fashion buyers have a few different ways of coming across clothes for their stores. They can visit local designers if they’re the type that likes to carry high-end, limited clothing. Or they can order pieces from factory magazines and have large quantities shipped. What happens for most stores that are mid-level and not looking for mass or limited quantities, is that they attend apparel shows.
Apparel shows are conventions where fashion designers and buyers can meet in one place and make orders. It’s often times a one-stop-shop for fashion buyers to fill all of their stock by choosing from hundreds of vendors in one location. Fashion designers and distributors from around the world will fill convention centers with their clothing, either samples of a large quantity or the entire stock of a limited design, and buyers come from all over the country to order the latest trends and styles.
The latest trend in apparel shows is the Virtual Storefront an online version of a vendor’s collection. Buyers can go online and view the entire stock or just a special selection of what the vendor has to offer before they visit the show, giving them a chance to decide who they would like to visit. The Virtual Storefront also provides fabric information and pricing to make shopping faster and easier on the buyer who has hundreds of stores to visit in a matter of days.
Not everyone has access to this temporary shopping mall, in order to access apparel conventions a buyer has to go through a long list of certifications to be sure that they’re not just the everyday shopper looking for a bargain. Buyers have to supply things like a business license, imprinted business check, merchant credit card, personalized business identification and proof of possession of the actual retail store that the clothing will be sold in.
Buyers have to take their jobs very seriously because they are setting their stores up for success for the next season. They have to choose the next big fashion statement so that customers will buy out their stock and make room for the next season’s apparel show finds. The life of a fashion buyer is not as glamorous as it sounds, it is hard work. The fashion you wear today is the result of a fashion buyer’s research and time spent ordering clothes from a wide-range of suppliers.