A Day In The Life Of A Fashion Buyer | sheerluxe.com

A Day In The Life Of A Fashion Buyer

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Becoming a fashion buyer is up there with fashion editor as a dream job, but what does being a fashion buyer actually mean? We sat down with one of the industry’s finest, Group Fashion Buying Director for Harvey Nichols, Anita Barr to find out…

How did you get into fashion buying?

I actually entered a 'super model contest' at Harrods in my twenties. I didn’t win, but Mohamed Al-Fayed offered me a job working as a Sales Associate and that's where it all started. Working on the shop floor taught me about women’s bodies and how to dress to compliment your shape, and I developed a keen eye for trends and a strong instinct for what customers wanted, so fashion buying seemed like a natural progression.

Was there a big break moment?

Becoming the buyer for the Way In department at Harrods was great, as it offered me the first step to where I wanted to be. But joining Selfridges during its most transformative years really stands out in my career – the opportunity to work and influence the evolution of womenswear, menswear and childrenswear was amazing.

What was the biggest challenge you faced along the way?

I lost both my parents as a teenager, which had a huge impact on my life. However, it gave me the determination and drive to succeed and ability to stay strong no matter what life throws at me.

And what exactly does a fashion buyer do?

At Harvey Nichols, I’m responsible for the fashion across womenswear and menswear. One of my responsibilities is to work on the master plan for the Knightsbridge store as well as ensuring we're buying the right brand assortment for all of our stores across the estate. I’m always travelling – flying from one country to another for fashion week, buying and inspiration trips.  

What’s your main focus each day?

Being a mother of three I have to ensure my children have got all they need for their day ahead, from packed lunches to sports kits, so that’s my focus as soon as I get up. When it comes to work, my main responsibility is to ensure we are buying within budget and focused on our goals.

Any tips on getting the best from your team?

Motivate others through positive thinking and visualisation, and surround yourself with positive people. It also helps to put everything in perspective, and if you really believe in your team they’ll deliver. It's important to me that my team enjoys what they do and are evolving within their roles.

On a Similar Note

What’s the best part of your job?

If you love fashion and retail then this is one of the best jobs in the industry. There's nothing like the satisfaction you get from watching a customer buy the product your team has curated or seeing a brand flourish in an environment that you’ve helped to create.

Any advice about juggling work and home life?

Having three children makes it difficult to be away from home for long periods of time, so I try and limit my travel. I have to make sure everything is meticulously organised before I leave and I always try and include my children in what I’m doing, so I’ll show them the country I’m visiting on the globe. When I’m away I FaceTime my family every day and tell them about what I’m doing on my trip and when I get back, they love looking at pictures of where I’ve been and I always bring them a small memento. I’m also very lucky to have an amazing husband who supports me and enables me to do my job.

Do you have a work philosophy?

You get out what you put in.

What does your work style look like?

I love androgynous style. For workwear, my go-to designers are Haider Ackermann, Stella McCartney for suiting and Monse or Magda Butrym for something a bit different.

Any new brands to look out for?

I’m really excited to introduce Vejas into our brand mix exclusively for AW17. The self-taught designer learnt his craft from Japanese magazines and the finished product is a stunning collection of quality, practical pieces. We are also bringing in the footwear collection from Ann Demeulemeester, she’s known for her androgynous designs with a rock edge and if you’ve got a penchant for simple, strong design, you’re sure to love her shoes. 

Why Harvey Nichols?

Unlike our competitors, Harvey Nichols sees itself as a large boutique rather than a department store. We offer an impeccable and personal service that you would expect to receive in a boutique shop, which I really value.

Finally, what are your top trends for AW17?

The womenswear AW17 catwalks were a celebration of glamour, from diamante embellishments to intergalactic iridescent metallics, which is a really fun way to inject something new into the partywear season.

Those after something more pared back should embrace the ‘90s throwback to grunge. For casual wear, invest in some cranberry coloured jeans – in cord or velvet – and plum knitwear or winter florals. And expect outerwear to get textured, from teddy fleece, curly sheepskins and cosy faux furs to soft brushed wools and mohair.

Shop Anita's top picks below...

Floral Coupe Dress, £1,120 | Isabel Marant

Wide Brim Hat, £380 | Eugenia Kim

Open Back Swimsuit, £190 | On The Island

Tortoise Shell Sunglasses, £226 | Chloé

Ruffled Top, £620 | Magda Butrym

Diamond Earrings, £5,200 | Ara Vartanian

Stripe Silk Dress, £2,115 | Monse

Leather Clutch, £965 | Perrin Paris

Poncho, £190 | Velvet By Graham & Spencer


Inspiration Credits: RetailDesignBlog.net
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