Fashion Designer Salary

Fashion Designer Salary Statistics

In May 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a mean annual wage of $74,440 for fashion designers. The lowest ten percent of earners had an average annual wage of $32,500, the middle 50 percent earned $64,530 on average each year, and the average annual wage of the highest ten percent was $130,890. Top paying industries included wholesale electronic markets and brokers and agents, video and motion picture industries, merchant wholesalers for miscellaneous durable goods, and footwear manufacturers.

Notions, piece goods, and apparel merchant wholesalers had the highest employment level. Cut and sew apparel manufacturers and specialized design services were among the other industries that represented top employers. Footwear manufacturers, apparel knitting mills, and the specialized design services industry had high concentrations of employment in fashion design.

Fashion Designer Salaries by State…

In May 2010, New Hampshire was the state paying fashion designers the most, offering an annual mean wage of $87,810. New York, Maine, Wisconsin, and California completed the list of top five paying states, each with an annual mean wage exceeding $72,000. There was no Bureau of Labor Statistics information available regarding the annual mean wage offered by each U.S. state during this time. However, there were regions in states like Florida, Missouri, and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area that paid annual mean wages within the lowest range of between $35,500 and $45,330.

Fashion Designer Job Description

Fashion designers explore fashion trends and sketch designs of accessories and clothing. After the designs are created, they select fabrics and colors and oversee final production for the designs. They may focus on apparel or footwear for men, women, or children, accessories like handbags, eyewear, belts, hats, scarves, and hosiery, or all of these areas. It generally takes about 18 to 24 months for the design process to go from initial concept to final production.

Fashion Designer Job Outlook

2008 – 2018 Projected Employment Changes
200 new fashion designer jobs
1% increase in employment

Between 2008 and 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be little or no change in the employment of fashion designers, with only one percent growth expected. Many people are attracted to the glamorous aspect of this career and the creativity involved, causing job competition to be keen. Firms involved in designing mass-marketed clothing sold through retail chain stores and department stores will have the best opportunities. New York, California, New Jersey, Ohio, and Florida had the highest employment levels as of May 2010.

Fashion Designer Education & Training

Career site O*Net found education to be distributed nearly evenly for fashion designers. Twenty-six percent of the designers responding to a survey had taken some college courses but not earned a degree, while 36 percent had an associate’s degree and 24 percent had a bachelor’s degree. However, employers usually look for candidates with two or four-year degrees who have knowledge of fashion trends, ornamentation, fabrics, and textiles.

Some students combine a degree in fashion merchandising, marketing, or business with their fashion design degree, especially if they plan to have their own business. Coursework focuses on fashion history, pattern making, tailoring, sewing, textiles, color, computer-aided design, and design of specific clothing types. Approximately 300 postsecondary schools have design and art programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Many of these schools require a student to complete basic design and art courses before admission is granted.

Some fashion designers gain experience by interning with manufacturing or design firms or working as personal stylists, custom tailors, or at a job in a retail store. Since fashion is global, experience in an international fashion center like Paris or Milan make may a student more marketable. Those starting in the industry often take positions as sketching assistants or pattern makers for experienced designers.

Related Occupations

Other workers in occupations involving art and design include interior designers and artists. Interior designers contribute to the appearance, safety, and function of interior spaces.

Artists create art in order to communicate feelings, thoughts, or ideas.

Jewelers and metal and precious stone workers design and create jewelry, cut, polish, and set gemstones, adjust and repair jewelry, and conduct jewelry, metal, and gem appraisals.

Models and buyers have different roles regarding fashion. Models pose while displaying clothing, accessories, and jewelry to encourage the public to make purchases. Buyers purchase services and goods like clothing and farm products for institutions and companies.

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