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Higher National Certificate in Fashion Buying

Brendan Courtney with a class after a recent guest lecture

Course Description

This internationally recognised 1-year programme will give you the creative and commercial skill-set required to succeed as a fashion buyer in today’s competitive environment. The programme will allow you to combine creative flair with essential buying skills, so that you will be well placed to work as a fashion buyer in a range of organisations including high street chains and owner / manager boutiques.

The course is led by highly experienced fashion buyers who have many years of experience in international fashion buying, fashion recruitment and fashion design for large multiples, high volume textiles, branded selection and in-house design.

The programme team have an excellent industry contact base, and the programme will feature guest lectures from leading industry speakers.

This course is ideal if you have an interest in Fashion Buying, or if you are considering a career change.

This course is also recommended if you are already working as a Fashion Buyer and you wish to advance your career.

Starting Dates & Format

Course Duration:

1 Year


Modes of Study:

Part Time Day


Part Time Evening

Now enrolling for September 2021.

Please see our Timetable & Fees page for starting dates.

Course Content

Role of the Buyer: Learn the key responsibilities, requirements and qualities associated with the role of a fashion buyer. Explore the variety of buying roles in the fashion industry. Gain an insight into the key role of merchandisers, and their influence on buying decisions.

Fashion Branding and Marketing: Analyse high end and high street brands, understand the importance of brand identity, and become able to interpret and evaluate a brand. Learn about the influence of marketing and visual merchandising on brands.

Sales Promotions and Markdowns: Learn how to ensure effective point of sale marketing promotions and window displays. Learn how to plan for promotions within a budget, and to use OTB (Open To Buy) sheets.

Range Planning and Trend Analysis: Develop the analytical skills and knowledge to forecast trends accurately and plan future buys effectively. Understand the importance of category analysis, range planning and budget planning.

Consumer Behaviour: Learn about economic, microenvironmental and other influences on consumer behaviour, and explore competitive forces within the fashion industry.

The Buying Calendar: Understand the importance of buying the right product at the right time, and learn how to review and analyse the previous season’s performance and plan for the next season.

Global Sourcing and Product Development: Explore fabrics and garment construction. Learn how to develop and source a product / garment, including key negotiation skills. Understand the critical path, and the supply chain.

Business Practices: Examine all aspects of running and setting up a business from a fashion buyer’s perspective, including the unit / floor space devoted to specific brands, product split, and breakdown of categories across the space.

Management and Leadership Skills: Understand the hierarchy within the buying office (admin, assistant buyer, junior buyer, head of buying). Develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to successfully manage or launch a store. Gain an insight into communication between the buying team, shop managers, visual merchandisers and marketing specialists.

Employability Skills and Work Based Experience: Learn to evaluate your own performance and development as a fashion buyer. Gain confidence in writing CVs and cover letters. Benefit from mock interviews with one of Ireland’s leading recruitment agencies, Excel Recruitment.

Online Delivery for Term 1

Due to public health measures, we are delivering classes online for the first term of this academic year.
We will return to face-to-face classes on-campus as soon as it is safe to do so. In returning to face-to-face delivery, there may be some unavoidable changes to scheduled class times and/or days.
All enrolled students will be given as much notice as possible in the event of scheduling changes.


Upon successful completion of this course, you will be awarded the BTEC Higher National Certificate in Fashion, which is equivalent to a Level 6 qualification on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

BTEC is the largest accrediting body in the UK, and BTEC qualifications are recognised globally.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have completed the Leaving Cert and achieved a minimum of 2 honours in honours subjects and 4 passes - or a comparable secondary school examination.

Applications are also accepted from:

  • Applicants who hold another Level 5 (or higher) Qualification
  • Applicants who have a minimum of 12 months retail sector work experience
  • Mature Applicants (23 years and over, with or without the Leaving Certificate requirement).

Applicants should have a basic knowledge of Microsoft Office and particularly Excel.

Student Testimonials

Zara Brennan HNC Fasion Buying

I enrolled in the fashion buying course last year, not knowing what to expect. I had a small amount of retail experience and knew fashion was the industry I was most interested in.

This course prepares you professionally for the workplace. As soon as the course started we jumped straight into the briefs. The workload is extremely detailed and needs a lot of hard work, but it was thoroughly enjoyable!

Through this course I discovered a creative side I never knew existed in me. I made friends and have also gained huge amounts of confidence in myself, my work and my presentation. The lecturers work extremely hard throughout the year to bring out the best in us, as well as giving some amazing advice from their previous experience.

As the course was online this year, I was worried about not getting the most out of the year, but the lecturers have offered endless amount of support and always have time to answer any questions or queries.

I really enjoyed finding my creative side and gaining endless amounts of confidence from this course.

I would really recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the fashion industry.

From this course I have widened my horizons and gained an internship with a worldwide recognised fashion company Bestseller.

Zara Brennan, HNC Fashion Buying 2020

Rebecca Molloy HNC Fasion Buying

Already having an interest in fashion and some retail experience under my belt, I wanted to develop my skills further, and so I enrolled into the HNC Fashion Buying course in September 2020.

This course was a broad insight to the fashion industry and is delivered in a practical manner which prepares students for the work environment. From trend forecasting and analysis, range planning, and even using CAD software which is a highly advantageous skill to have in the workforce, this course has a fantastic balance between logistical skills and exploring creative elements. All in all, I truly felt that the course material was really relevant and beneficial for embarking on a career path.

The lecturers were also fantastic, and while the course was delivered online this year, help and guidance was always there. It was a really supportive network which helped immensely..

Through combining previous work experience with the new skills and knowledge I have acquired through this course, I was quickly able to snap up an internship with Mytheresa.com in Germany, something I could never imagine before enrolling into Fashion Buying!

I absolutely recommend this course to anyone who’s looking to get involved in the fashion industry.

Rebecca Molloy, HNC Fashion Buying 2020

Hollie Hersey HNC Fasion Buying

I enrolled on the part-time Fashion Buying course at Dublin Institute of Design last year. I always had a keen interest in fashion, and at that time I wanted to become a fashion buyer. The course was great, and very well taught. We had theory classes, practical classes and field trips. From CAD and manufacturing to trend forecasting and creating range plans, everything we learned was so detailed and relevant for stepping into the buying and merchandising industry.

The tutors’ experience and knowledge made the course interesting and exciting and they offered us endless support throughout the year when completing projects and assignments.

Having enjoyed and learnt huge detail in all aspects of buying, for me my favourite part of the course was merchandising. I really enjoyed the analytical aspect, using excel to create a detailed library of appropriate data and forecasting profits and sales. I chose to go down the merchandising path, and now I work as a merchandising admin for Lifestyle Sports.

The tutors taught buying as a subject, but more importantly the way to use it in the industry. If I didn’t take up this course I most definitely wouldn’t be in the job I am in today. I would highly recommend Fashion Buying at Dublin Institute of Design for anyone thinking of buying or merchandising as a career.

Hollie Hersey, HNC Fashion Buying 2019

Jessica Teixeira HNC Fasion Buying

I joined the HNC Fashion Buying part-time course in Sept 2018, as I worked in retail and loved the idea of learning more about fashion and the buying role. Working full-time and studying part-time was not easy, however, the experienced lecturers and the small group of students created a very pleasant, collaborative and easy environment to be in, which really enhanced the learning process.

The lecturers are very resourceful and will do anything to help and make sure the students excel. Together with that, the subjects are very current and relevant to the field, which allowed me to become a competitive candidate when looking for employment. The HNC fashion buying course successfully prepared me for the industry and for interviews, as I rapidly found employment as a trainee buyer at Primark.

I am very pleased with my choice and I would highly recommend this course.

Jessica Teixeira, HNC Fashion Buying 2018

The approach of our tutor in carrying out the lectures and her innovative way of making every single class productive and interesting left me completely satisfied with this course. The lectures and the notes reached my expectations.

- Loukia Adamou

If you would like more information about this course, please fill the "Request more information" form above.

As numbers are limited for this course, pre-booking is essential.