From this season’s must-have kimonos to the essential knit dusters, there are a few fashionistas who obsess over the latest trends, and ultimately pick the pieces that arrive in Meijer stores. Jennifer Stover, senior buyer for junior sportswear and women’s active is one of those trendsetters, going to fashion shows, meeting with designers and sampling the latest fabrics – all in the name of a great style at an even better price.
So what does it mean to be a fashion buyer for one of the Midwest’s largest retailers? Jen gives us the inside scoop of how she found her dream career and what to watch for on Meijer shelves this fall.
What do you actually do?
As a Senior Buyer for Junior Sportswear & Women’s Active Wear, I’m involved in everything from selecting the vendors that design the clothes, deciding how many of each item we want to order for any given season and working with the marketing teams to bring fashion to life. I also go to market every six weeks to trend shop – my favorite part!
How did you get into fashion?
When I transferred to Indiana University my sophomore year (Go Hoosiers!), I was amazed to find out they had an Apparel Merchandising program. It was the perfect mix of creativity and business analysis. After my first brand concepting class, I was hooked.
How did you approach picking trends for fall 2015?
It all starts with supplier visits. I spent time in New York and LA to see what our go-to vendors were offering, as well as met with some new up-and-coming designers to get a sense of what’s next. I brought a few of my favorite pieces back to Grand Rapids, and worked with a broad team of merchandisers to see which trends would be the best options for Meijer shoppers. We laid out our rack plan, finalized styles and colors and then started writing orders. It sounds simple, but we’ve been working on fall apparel orders since most of our shoppers were on spring break!
What trends are you most excited to try?
I LOVE boho-inspired flare leg jeans! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good skinny, but this style is like a breath of fresh air. Paired with a crochet top, wedge bootie and a floppy panama hat, it’ll be my go-to look when the leaves start to fall.
What one item should we make sure to add to our wardrobe this year?
I can’t get enough of the blanket wrap scarves. The name says it all – it’s big enough to wrap yourself up in on a chilly fall day. From apple picking to Friday night football games, it’s the must-have accessory that’s as functional as it is fashionable.
What colors are going to be big this season?
You are going to see a lot of jewel tones this fall, especially shades of wine. Ranging from deep purples to rich reds, it’s a sultry color that makes anything look instantly trendy.
Any advice for our fashionistas who are always the first to wear the season’s trends?
Be adventurous. Try something on you thought you’d never wear. The styles we have for fall are so approachable, you don’t have to be a certain size or shape to look great this season. From dusters to boot cut jeans and everything in between, there’s no reason not to give your wardrobe a little fall refresh!