Fashion Buying with Design BA (Hons) application and portfolio advice

Your Portfolio

Your portfolio should contain around 10-15 pieces of your strongest work.

We will also be interested in who or what inspires you in fashion retail, fashion and particularly in buying. We advise you to look at Drapers or Retail Marketing and fashion magazines such as Vogue, ID or Elle magazine.

Most importantly we are looking at your potential to develop a career in fashion retail. We don’t expect you to be exceptional in all the areas described below. We want you to be keen to learn and have ambitions for your own future. We are interested in underlying, creative and imaginative ideas.

Portfolio submission options for overseas applicants

What are we looking for?

We are looking for:

  • Some who has an interest in fashion retail and is up to date with new developments on the high street
  • Someone who has some skills in software packages such as Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Some appreciation of the garment industry and retail practises
  • Someone who has an interest in trends and product development
  • Some appreciation of branding and marketing
  • Someone who has an understanding of the role and purpose of fashion buying

What should a portfolio contain?

Digital work

Please include any evidence of your experience in IT (Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, CAD/CAM, Microsoft Word, and digital photography).

digital design


Your sketchbook should contain your thoughts, notes, research, detailed drawings and aspects of developing designs/artwork. You can include research from exhibitions or study trips abroad for example.


We like to see drawing, in the broadest sense, from life drawing to experimental and design sketches. Try to include some colour work too.


Project work

Project work should show a range of initial concepts and then demonstrate how you have developed an idea to its conclusion. 

project work


Include images of any garments that you have made in conjunction with your course or from self led projects at home. Bring just 2 or 3 samples of your most successful pieces. You can photograph a selection of your work, showing how the fit process took place and how the product was developed. If you do not have any such garment bring a fashion mood board explaining a trend that you believe is up and coming. 


Written work

Please bring an essay or a recent example of writing. We like to see how well you write and how you think. Even though this is a fashion orientated degree, you will have written tasks over the course. For example, you will be asked to write up a report for product development, sourcing, supply and contextual studies.

If your portfolio does not contain fashion related work you could produce a mood board presenting current trends or future predicted trends.

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