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Pay & Salary

How Much Do Fashion Designers Make?

February 25, 2020

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The fashion industry is one of the largest industries globally. It offers a range of careers for those with an interest in fashion. A career as a fashion designer may be suited for you if you are a creative person who loves style and design. A fashion designer uses design principles to create clothing, shoes and accessories. In this article, we discuss how much fashion designers make, what the highest fashion designer salaries per state are and provide a list of related jobs.

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How much do fashion designers make?

There is a wide range of salaries for fashion designers. Some fashion designers earn reasonable salaries while others earn very little. Most fashion designers rank between these two extremes.

The average salary for a fashion designer is $15.98 per hour. The mean salary for fashion designers was $74,410 per year, or $6,200 per month. Fashion designers' median salary was lower at $64,260 per year, or $5,355 per month. The salaries for the lowest and highest 10% of fashion designers ranged from $32,320 per year to $130,900 per year.

A fashion designer's salary varies based on the following factors:

  • Location: The salaries for fashion designers vary with the location of the position. Most positions for fashion designers are in states like New York and California. Fashion designers may have to move to these states to improve their career prospects.
  • Experience: Fashion designers with several years of experience earn higher salaries than entry-level fashion designers. Entry-level designers could earn less than $30,000 annually or $2,500 monthly. Fashion designers can earn more if they have an excellent portfolio of designs.
  • Industry: Salaries for fashion designers are different for different industries. For instance, designers who focus on apparel and piece goods earned an average salary of $73,150 per year, whereas fashion designers in the performing arts arena earned an average of $53,270 per year. The highest-earning industry is the video industry, where the average salary amounted to $92,850 per year.
  • Educational qualifications: Educational qualifications influence the salaries of fashion designers. Fashion designers should have a bachelor's degree in fashion design or general design to compete in this industry.

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Fashion designer salaries by state

Location influences a fashion designer's salary. Fashion designers working in New Hampshire were among the highest-paid designers in the United States and earned an average salary of $85,460 per year, or $7,121 per month. The list below shows the median salary for fashion designers for each state:

  • Alabama: $3,432 per month
  • Alaska: $3,691 per month
  • Arizona: $3,584 per month
  • Arkansas: $3,390 per month
  • California: $16.55 per hour
  • Colorado: $3,671 per month
  • Connecticut: $3,779 per month
  • Delaware: $3,567 per month
  • District of Columbia: $4,206 per month
  • Florida: $13.86 per hour
  • Georgia: $14.09 per hour
  • Hawaii: $3,534 per month
  • Idaho: $3,266 per month
  • Illinois: $3,266 per month
  • Indiana: $3,437 per month
  • Iowa: $3,482 per month
  • Kansas: $3,421 per month
  • Kentucky: $3,363 per month
  • Louisiana: $3,445 per month
  • Maine: $3,426 per month
  • Maryland: $53,585 per year
  • Massachusetts: $3,908 per month
  • Michigan: $3,533 per month
  • Minnesota: $11.17 per hour
  • Mississippi: $3,255 per month
  • Missouri: $3,569 per month
  • Montana: $3,283 per month
  • Nebraska: $3,426 per month
  • Nevada: $3,535 per month
  • New Hampshire: $3,506 per month
  • New Jersey: $18.53 per hour
  • New Mexico: $3,460 per month
  • New York: $50,296 per year
  • North Carolina: $3,557 per month
  • North Dakota: $3,515 per month
  • Ohio: $3,526 per month
  • Oklahoma: $3,389 per month
  • Oregon: $3,644 per month
  • Pennsylvania: $6,607 per month
  • Rhode Island: $3,570 per month
  • South Carolina: $3,450 per month
  • South Dakota: $3,362 per month
  • Tennessee: $3,478 per month
  • Texas: $23.31 per hour
  • Utah: $3,412 per month
  • Vermont: $3,451 per month
  • Virginia: $3,727 per month
  • Washington: $20.00 per hour
  • West Virginia: $3,307 per month
  • Wisconsin: $3,523 per month
  • Wyoming: $3,405 per month

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How to increase a fashion designer salary

The fashion design industry is a competitive industry. Aspiring fashion designers need to make sure they pursue formal education and learn supplementary skills to maximize their employment opportunities and salary levels.

Fashion designers who have a formal education in fashion design and who are skilled in using technologies like CAD can earn better salaries. Building an excellent portfolio is important to earn more. Skills like graphic design can enhance income opportunities.

A fashion designer could also consider doing freelance fashion design work to supplement their income. Individuals with their own successful business earn more than the average salary. Fashion designers working for celebrities and wealthy individuals have higher income levels.

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Fashion designer job outlook

The competition in the fashion industry is intense, with the supply of fashion designers exceeding the demand. Fashion designers with formal fashion design education, years of experience and excellent portfolios will have better employment opportunities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for fashion designers differs between industries. Since most clothing and shoes are produced internationally, the employment of fashion designers in the manufacturing industry in the United States is low. The employment in this sector of the industry is expected to decline by 30% in the next five years. In the retail trade industry, employment is expected to increase by 22% due to an increasing demand for fashionable everyday clothing. Job opportunities for fashion designers overall are expected to grow by 1% for the period up to 2028. This is lower than the average growth of other occupations.

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FAQs about careers in fashion design

Frequently asked questions include:

  • What are the educational requirements for becoming a fashion designer?
  • What are the duties of a fashion designer?
  • What are the different fashion designers?
  • What skills does a fashion designer need?
  • Where do fashion designers work?

What are the educational requirements for becoming a fashion designer?

Prospective fashion designers should complete a bachelor's degree in fashion design, visual arts or general design.

What are the duties of a fashion designer?

The duties of a fashion designer include drawing and designing new clothing samples, participating in meetings to discuss designs, presenting and reviewing concepts and purchasing the components used to produce a garment. Fashion designers also do market research to find new opportunities for the firm's customers.

What are the different fashion designers?

The following are examples of fashion designers:

  • Clothing designers design and create clothing for men, women and children, including casual clothes, evening wear and intimate apparel.
  • Footwear designers design, create and help produce shoes and boots.
  • Accessory designers design and produce accessories like belts, scarves, hats and suitcases.
  • Costume designers design and create costumes for the performing arts, television productions or motion pictures. Often these designers have to research the clothing worn for the period during which a film is based. They work with directors to select costumes for the actors.

What skills does a fashion designer need?

A fashion designer needs the following hard and soft skills to be successful:

  • Computer literacy**:** Fashion designers should be able to use design software to create their designs as well as spreadsheets and word processing for running their business.
  • Creativity: Fashion designers must be able to create new product ideas from their imaginations.
  • Artistic ability: Fashion designers must transform designs from ideas into illustrations, which are used to create prototypes for final products.
  • Interpersonal skills: Fashion designers work in teams most of the time. They must be able to listen, speak and communicate well.
  • Team player: Fashion designers must be able to collaborate with other members from the design team.

Related: Soft Skills: Definition and Examples

Where do fashion designers work?

Fashion designers work in clothing manufacturers and design firms that sell clothing, shoes and accessories to retail companies. Fashion designers can become freelancers or start their own fashion design company.

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Related jobs list

Here is a list of jobs related to fashion design:

National Average Salary**:** $17.82 per hour

Primary Duties: Graphic designers create visual content for print and digital media publications. They work on newsletters, digital media, film, product packaging or interior design. A client or art director will give the graphic designer an idea to communicate using a visual medium. The graphic designer uses images, color and text to create this visual element.

National Average Salary**:** $59,107 per year

Primary Duties: Interior designers work with clients and teams to create design solutions for buildings, offices and other rooms. They research materials and select decor and furniture. They are responsible for coordinating interior design projects from beginning to end.

National Average Salary**:** $73,024 per year

Primary Duties: Art directors manage the visual content for films, publications or products. Art directors work on books, magazines, newspapers, movies and advertising campaigns. They oversee the design and vision for the imagery, videos and set designs. They may delegate tasks to graphic designers, photographers or other creative staff.

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