What is a Fashion Buyer?

If you’ve always been interested in fashion and are thinking of pursuing a career in the fashion industry, you may be wondering what type of role would be a good fit for you. For example, if you’re more passionate about the business side of fashion more than the design side, then a fashion buyer or planner role might exactly what you’re looking for.

What is a fashion buyer? We recently sat down with MILLY Buyer Chrissy Allen to find out.

What is a buyer?

A fashion buyer is someone who makes purchasing decisions for a clothing retailer. And according to Chrissy, it’s a role that requires both an analytical mind and a keen eye for style. Describing her role, Chrissy explains that she “picks pieces for the season based on past sales history and upcoming trends,” always making sure that she’s aware of what has sold well in the past and is likely to do well in the future. In order to do this, she attends fashion shows every season and meets with designers to find out more about the exact styles they’re working on. This helps her get a sense of the market and make informed purchasing decisions that will appeal to MILLY’s customers.

Do all clothing retailers have buyers?

“Big retailers like Saks and Bloomingdale’s have buyers and planners because they’re working with third-party vendors,” Chrissy explains. For smaller companies like MILLY (which is itself a third-party vendor), in-house buyers are usually only hired if the company has its own stores. And, as Chrissy explains, the challenge of working for a small retailer is different from that of working for a larger one. “I have to understand why we are different and make sure that we are catering to our specific customer,” Chrissy says.

Is being a buyer a cross-functional role?

From researching fashion trends to attending fashion shows and meeting with designers, being a buyer can sound like a one-person show. However, it’s actually a much more cross-functional role than it might appear to be. For big retailers like Saks or Bloomingdale’s, buyers are usually part of the merchandising team but for smaller companies like MILLY, they fall under marketing. “I work super closely with our marketing team, constantly collaborating on email blasts and social media content to make sure that we are pushing what isn’t selling so well but also highlighting some of our bestsellers,” Chrissy explains.

The best part of working in a cross-functional position? For Chrissy, it’s figuring out the unique selling point of the brand and helping to communicate that message directly to customers. “What can we offer the customer that nobody else can offer them?” That’s the question she always has in her mind as she makes purchasing decisions and the one she helps the marketing team communicate on a daily basis.

What are some of the perks of working in fashion?

If you think that working in fashion means having access to lots of free clothes, it turns out that you’re partly right. “The discounts are pretty good,” Chrissy says, joking that it’s very tempting to take advantage of them. In addition to discounts, buyers can also borrow clothes from the company’s closet, testing out new styles before they officially go on sale.

Being a fashion buyer is one of several great career paths in the fashion industry. In addition to offering you the opportunity to stay on top of the latest trends and meet some of the hottest designers around, this role also offers you the opportunity to understand the business side of fashion and to play a part in bringing looks from the runway to the consumer. If that sounds like an exciting opportunity, then becoming a fashion buyer might just be right for you.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as  Top 5 Interview Questions for Fashion Buyers and find answers to common interview questions such as Why Do You Want to Work Here?

How to Become a Fashion Buyer

If you’re passionate about fashion but more interested in the business side than the design side, then chances are you’ve already started researching different merchandising roles and wondering whether becoming a fashion buyer might be right for you. To find out what the role entails, and how college students and recent grads can break into the industry, we sat down with MILLY Fashion Buyer Chrissy Allen to find out her top tips on getting your foot in the door.

What exactly is a fashion buyer?

According to Chrissy, a fashion buyer is a person who makes purchasing decisions for a clothing retailer. “A buyer is someone who goes to market,” she explains. What does that actually mean? In short, it means that buyers handpick the styles that end up in clothing stores. “I go through and pick the pieces for the season based on past sales history and upcoming trends,” she says. The best part of the role: being able to showcase the unique aspects of the brand you work for and demonstrate how you’re making a difference to consumers.

What kind of skills do you need in order to be a fashion buyer?

Although many people think that being a buyer means spending time in the company’s fashion closet, the position actually requires a lot of analytical skills and business savvy. “I am in Excel a lot which isn’t always what people think about when they think of a buyer,” Chrissy explains. “It’s about looking at our sales, looking at what worked in past seasons, what didn’t work and also taking into consideration designers’ vision for how they see the upcoming season.” In order to analyze sales numbers and quantify trends, buyers need to be analytical and able to think on their feet. For example, if they a specific trend that they select is not selling well, they have to be able to adjust their strategy mid-season while also trying to find ways to boost sales.

How can college students and recent grads break into the fashion industry?

“Internships are the most important thing,” Chrissy says. In fact, they’re far more important than your college major. “I was a political science major so I had absolutely no fashion education, but I knew that I wanted to be in fashion from a young age,” she explains. The key was finding an internship that would get her there. And that’s exactly what she did. After her freshman year of college, Chrissy found an internship on the men’s wholesale team at Theory and it was exactly the foot in the door she needed. “I was like a sponge, soaking up everything everybody said in a meeting, and that’s how I knew that this was what I wanted to do.” In addition to taking on one multiple internships, Chrissy also emphasizes that it’s important to maintain the contacts you make. “Maintaining those contacts is so important because the fashion world is tiny and everybody knows each other and can connect you in some way,” she explains, emphasizing the importance of building your professional network while you’re still in school.

What should you wear to an interview for a fashion buyer position?

When interviewing for a position in the fashion industry, “you really want to cater to that audience,” Chrissy explains. For a brand like MILLY, which is contemporary and fun, it’s important to wear something that shows your personality.“We’re not a finance company so we want to see you shine through but you want to make sure that it’s work appropriate.” For both women and men, this means potentially wearing something from the retailer’s current collection and ensuring that your outfit matches the look and feel of the brand you’re interviewing for.

Pro Tip: If you’re unsure of what to wear to an interview at a fashion brand, be sure to check out the company’s website and social channels, focusing on photos that show the team at work. This will give you a great sense of the company culture and help you pick an appropriate outfit.

Chrissy’s final piece of advice for getting into the fashion industry (or any industry) is this: “Be passionate. Be out there searching for an internship,” she says, emphasizing that your drive and passion will help you stand out from the pack and potentially land a great job at a brand like MILLY.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Write a Resume That Stands Out and find answers to common interview questions such as What Gets You Up in the Morning?

How to Get a Job at an Art Gallery

If you’re passionate about art and interested in working at an art gallery, you might be wondering about what a career in the art world looks like. For example, what types of job opportunities are available in a gallery setting and do you need to be an arts or design major to be eligible for them? To find out how to land a job at an art gallery, we spoke with Melanie Kimmelman, a promotion and events coordinator at the David Zwirner Gallery.

Here are some of the key things you need to know about working in the art world.

What types of art gallery positions are there?

Although it’s common to think that most art gallery jobs are art-focused, the reality is that there are plenty of other opportunities too. Typical jobs at a gallery include positions such as a gallery associate, an events coordinator, a social media manager and an office manager. In short, regardless of your major, you’re likely to find an opportunity that works for you. The key is to be passionate about art. “I handle all events related to exhibition openings, dinners and cocktail parties and I also do a lot of publicity to support exhibitions,” Melanie explains about her position as an events coordinator, emphasizing that like most roles in a gallery setting, her role is a cross-functional one. In order to succeed in this type of setting, it’s important to be truly passionate about you’re doing and to be well-versed in what’s happening in the art world.

What types of skills do you need in order to work at an art gallery?

Although there is a lot of variation in the types of positions you can find at an art gallery, one thing remains constant: the ability to work across different departments. Some of the skills that are crucial to any type of gallery position are:

Knowledge of the industry

Even if your position doesn’t directly focus on the art or artists represented by the gallery, having a solid understanding of the industry is key. “I work with every single artist that we represent and I think that’s really exciting because it builds my knowledge of the company as a whole,” Melanie says, emphasizing that this knowledge helps her better represent both the gallery and the artists.

Communication skills

Being able to communicate effectively is important in any field, and in the fast-paced art world, it’s especially crucial. This is because you’ll often be coordinating events, exhibitions and art deliveries across multiple departments and with outside teams. In order to ensure that everything goes smoothly, it’s important to develop a communication style that is clear and effective.

Organizational skills

“The gallery world is very fast paced,” Melanie explains. “You have to be able to juggle all of your day-to-day duties and be able to prioritize and drop things when something is urgent.” The key to doing this effectively is to ensure that you have a clear understanding of your priorities and to manage your workflow accordingly.


How do you get your foot in the door for an art gallery job?

As is the case with most competitive industries, the key to landing a job at a gallery is to develop your skills while also growing your professional network. Melanie emphasizes that although her education as an art history major played a big part in developing her passion for art, it was her internship experience that paved the way for her career. “While I was in college, I interned at a museum for two years over the course of my junior and senior year,” she says. The contacts she made there landed her a job after graduation. “I maintained a relationship with my old boss and as soon as there was a position open, she reached out to me.” The result was a full-time job that successfully jump-started her career.

An art gallery job is a great option for those who are passionate about art and interested in learning about its many facets. To find out if a career in the art world is right for you, we suggest taking on an internship and getting some first-hand experience in the field.

Next, learn more about this college major such as __________________ (link) and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as ____________________ (link).

What is a Trend Forecaster?

If you’ve recently read an article about upcoming fashion trends or revolutionary technology products, then you’ve probably already come across the concept of trend forecasting. A popular component of the media and marketing industries, trend forecasting (also known as trend analysis) is designed to identify upcoming trends across a variety of different lifestyle areas such as fashion, technology and culture.

To find out more about trend forecasting and what it’s like to work in the field, we sat down with Sara Radin, a youth culture editor at WGSN, a trend forecasting company.

What does a trend forecaster do?

Although trend forecasting might seem a little bit like magic, it’s actually an analytical process that involves spotting patterns. In order to do this effectively, forecasters use consumer insights to predict what trends are most likely to have an impact on certain demographics. For Sara, who focuses on both fashion and culture trends, this means combining creativity and analysis to spot upcoming trends. Once she has an understanding of what those trends might be, Sara works with clients to develop strategies that will allow them to leverage those insights. “Our clients use us as a resource when they’re designing a fashion collection,” she explains, noting that the information her company provides helps clients optimize their products and develop their marketing strategies.

What are some of the most exciting aspects of a trend forecasting career?

Being on the cutting edge of new trends and technologies is one of the most exciting aspects of starting a career in this field. In fact, it comes with the potential of being an influencer, particularly if you’re an editor like Sara who is creating content that shapes how others see trends. Beyond the ability to shape public opinion and help companies define their consumer strategies, one of the other exciting aspects of this role is the exposure to new places and experiences. “Travel is a really big part of my job,” Sara says. “This year alone, I’ve gone to Montreal and Detroit and now I’m going to San Francisco, London and Miami. I would say that the best part of my job is that I get to have experiences that not only enrich the company but also enrich me.” By traveling to different areas of the country and the world, Sara has developed a great perspective on what’s trending in different places and she’s able to use that perspective when making recommendations to her clients.

What are some of the challenges trend forecasters face?

In our increasingly globalized world, trends come and go with lightning speed and staying ahead of them means that you’ll need to be knowledgeable about different trends and comfortable working in a constantly changing environment. Beyond the challenge of keeping up with the trends themselves, there are also other challenges such as those related to traveling extensively, working closely with a team and maintaining an unbiased and analytical perspective on what’s trending. For Sara, one of the biggest challenges is covering projects that are outside her key areas of interest. “A willingness to take one for the team and cover some things that may not be your passion is probably a big part of any job and I’m still grateful for those opportunities,” she says, emphasizing that those experiences add to her perspective while also making her a valuable asset to the company.

Trend forecasting is a great career option for those who are interested in staying ahead of the curve and passionate about helping others do the same. If you’re thinking about becoming a trend forecaster and want to learn more about the role, consider taking on an internship and getting some hands-on experience of what it’s like to work in this exciting field.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 6 Things to Do in Your First Week at a New Job and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

What is a Graphic Designer?

Graphic design is an increasingly in-demand career that offers exciting opportunities to work on branding campaigns for companies and individuals. If you’re an arts or design major, or even if you’re just interested in finding out more about graphic design, you might be wondering what you can expect from a graphic design career.

We recently sat down with Emily Shellenberger, a graphic designer at Adweek, to learn more about what it means to work in graphic design and to get some tips on how to do it right.

What does a graphic designer do?

According to Emily, a graphic designer does “a little bit of everything from digital banners to social media materials to website design and print ads.” Since designers are responsible for creating a variety of marketing and branding materials, their day-to-day tasks can vary widely depending on what particular type of project they’re working on. But one thing remains constant: the ability to come up with designs for a broad range of platforms and to adjust those designs for print, digital and mobile platforms. This can include resizing a design multiple times to adapt it to a specific platform, or coming up with a concept that is relevant to only one channel, like print. Because graphic design is both creative and technical, designers also have to be skilled at using programs like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator

What are the benefits of a graphic design career?

Graphic design is a cross-functional field and one that requires you to stay nimble when moving from task to task. “I’m on the marketing team and we kind of do a little bit of everything when it comes to Adweek’s marketing needs,” Emily explains, emphasizing that being a designer is a great way to be involved in many areas of a business. “Every day is different and for me, that’s great.” What’s the best part of being a designer? For Emily it’s not just about finding ways to execute creative concepts at work but also coming up with ways to apply those skills to her personal life. “A few of my friends found out that I could do design Snapchat filters and now everybody wants them for their weddings and birthday parties. It’s nice to know that you can help people out in a fun way too.”

What are some of the challenges graphic designers face?

Because the day-to-day job of a designer can vary widely depending on what they’re working on, one of the main challenges is being able to think about how the particular task you’re working on fits into the overall design concept of the brand. “You always have to think about how a design would look on mobile or how it would look on desktop,” Emily explains. In addition to the challenge of creating designs for multiple platforms, graphic designers also have to contend with the technical challenges of design itself. “For me personally, HTML and CSS are not my strong points,” Emily says, explaining that understanding how and when to apply this type of code is not always easy. However, she also emphasizes that learning basic coding like HTML and CSS is a great way to give yourself an edge in the industry and to continue developing your skills. “It definitely gives me an edge to know a little bit about them so I’m always pushing myself to get in there and try to make edits.”

Graphic design is an exciting field with plenty of great opportunities. If you’re interested in becoming a graphic designer and want to learn more about the industry, consider taking on an internship and getting some hands-on experience in the industry.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Use a Blog to Apply for an Internship and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

How to Become a Trend Forecaster

Few things have had as big of an impact on business in recent years as the concept of trend forecasting. With its ability to analyze fashion, technology and cultural trends, this key area of the media and marketing industries is dedicated to spotting patterns in consumer behavior and leveraging those insights to help brands connect with their audiences. To find out more about the ins and outs of trend forecasting and get advice on how to land a job in the field, we sat down with Sara Radin, a youth culture editor at WGSN, a trend forecasting company.

What is a trend forecaster?

A trend forecaster is responsible for identifying new trends and predicting how those trends will shape a certain industry. Usually based at a trend forecasting agency such as WGSN, trend forecasters are responsible for analyzing consumer data and coming up with recommendations based those insights. They also often travel to different cities across the country and around the world to spot new trends and get a sense of the broader impact of a product or idea.

Equal parts creative and analytical, trend forecasting relies on data analysis to uncover consumer patterns and then synthesizes those findings into reports. For some trend forecasters, like Sara, the reports take the form of articles that her clients can use to adjust their strategies when marketing to specific audiences. “Our clients use our guides as a resource for inspiration and research when designing a fashion collection,” she explains, emphasizing that the information they glean from her content allows clients to make informed decisions about their work.

What skills do you need in order to become a trend forecaster?

Since trend forecasting is both an analytical and a creative process, having a broad skill set is important for anyone interested in working in this field. Some of the most common skills for trend forecasters are:

Analytical skills

Being able to analyze trends is a key part of this role and having strong analytical skills is the best way to ensure that you’re successful in this position.


In addition to strong analytical skills, trend forecasting also requires a sense of creativity. This is because you’ll need to be able to think outside the box when predicting the next big thing.

Knowledge of one or more industries

Since most trend forecasters are focused on multiple industries, being an expert on those industries is an incredibly important part of this role. The best way to get this knowledge is by doing your research on a particular industry and finding out what trends are currently showing up in news coverage and on social media.

Media savvy

Media savviness is a key component of any media or marketing role and it’s especially important when it comes to this field. This is because so many trends are shaped through the use of traditional and social media, so knowing how to spot those patterns in media coverage is a crucial part of staying ahead of the game.

How do you get started in the industry?

Since trend forecasting is a fairly new field, there aren’t really any long-established strategies for getting involved in the industry. However, doing a media or marketing internship can go a long way toward helping you develop some of the key skills required for the role. Beyond that, it’s about the projects and research you pursue on your own. “There are ways to get experience in the role, even if it isn’t part of your major,” says Sara, explaining that they key is to identify your passions and find a way to make marketable. For example, if you’re interested in fashion and have your own fashion blog, you can use your content as a portfolio when applying for a trend forecasting position. This will show employers that you’re already a player in the field and that you’re knowledgeable and passionate about sharing your insights with others.

For those who are interested in staying on top of the latest trends, trend forecasting can be an exciting and challenging career path. If you want to learn more about this role, we recommend taking on an internship and getting some valuable hands-on experience in a trend forecasting role.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 6 Things to Do in Your First Week at a New Job and find answers to common interview questions such as Are You Willing to Travel?

How to Get a Job at an Auction House

Working with rare pieces of art is a dream for many people, but for those who work at an auction house, it’s also a reality. If you’re an arts or design major, or just someone who’s interested in learning more about the art world, you might be wondering about the types of career opportunities you can find at an auction house and what you need to do to be considered for those opportunities.

To find more about how auction houses operate and how you can land a job at one, we spoke with Alexa Mendez, a post sale coordinator at Christie’s.

What are the different types of auction house positions?

Like most other fields, the art world involves a variety of different positions including roles like marketing, operations, sales and business development. And because not all of these roles require an art background, it’s entirely possible to find a position you like and that also matches your skill set. Alexa’s advice? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. “It’s about what you can do in the industry that you want to be in,” she says, explaining that her own academic background in finance and international business seems far removed from the world of art. However, by leveraging her business skills she was able to find an opportunity on the finance team at Christie’s and has since advanced to be a more senior role as a post sale coordinator.

What types of skills do you need to work at an auction house?

Even with so many opportunities for different careers, most jobs within an auction house setting require two things: 1) A strong knowledge of the art industry and 2) The ability to work as part of a cross-functional team.

Some of the skills that are crucial for any type of auction house position are:

Knowledge of the art industry

Although you don’t need to be an arts major to work in the art industry, having strong knowledge of the field is a key requirement of working at an auction house. In order to develop this knowledge, you can either take some art electives in college, or you can do your own research on the industry by reading relevant publications and following your favorite artists on social media.

Communication skills

Because of the cross-functional nature of the art world (and of auction houses in particular), being able to communicate in a clear and timely fashion is a crucial part of being successful in this field.

Organizational skills

Due to the many steps involved in organizing and hosting an auction (such as sourcing the pieces, planning the event and generating publicity around it), having strong organizational skills is extremely important for anyone working in an auction house setting. This will ensure that auctions and sales are well coordinated and that clients are happy with the way their purchases are handled.

How do you get your foot in the door for a job at an auction house?

One of the biggest misconceptions about auction houses is that you have to have a certain artistic or personal background to work there. In fact, when applying for her job at Christie’s, Alexa was prepared to do pretty much anything to get her foot in the door. “I will scrub the floors if that’s what it takes to start here,” she remembers saying after she reached out to them through a cold call. But she didn’t have to. Instead, she was able to demonstrate her talents in business operations and finance and prove that she could bring a lot of value to the organization. “I started off as a finance assistant and now it’s almost four years and three positions later,” she says, emphasizing that her finance background not only helped her get her foot in the door but also helped her advance within the organization. Her biggest tip: Figure out what you can bring to the table and show the employer what you can do for them.

Working at an auction house is a great opportunity for those who are interested in the business side of the art world. To find out if this type of career is right for you, we suggest doing an internship and getting some first-hand exposure to what it’s like to work at an auction house.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get a Mentor at Work and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?