What Is the Salary Range for Entry-Level Fashion Designers?
If you're lucky enough to launch your own clothing or accessory line and establish yourself as a powerhouse designer in the fashion industry you could possibly earn hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions. However, a very small percentage of talented fashion designers achieve that kind of financial success. Read on for information on what you could bring in as an entry-level fashion designer. Schools offering Dressmaking & Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Fashion designers utilize their creativity to create the apparel, shoes and accessories that we wear every day, as well as designing the elite fashion ensembles seen during high-profile runway shows. The salary range for entry-level fashion designers is pretty expansive and depends upon your individual ability, your design specialty and your employer. Self-employment and freelance opportunities are also available.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as an aspiring fashion designer, you can expect to face keen competition within the field due to the amount of individuals drawn to the industry because of its 'glitz-and-glamour' quality (www.bls.gov). A tough job market often leads to lower salaries; however, successful designers can earn a six-figure income with persistence and dedication. The BLS reported that the average wage for fashion designers of all levels was $72,620 in May 2012.
Salaries for Entry-Level Opportunities
Completing either an associate's or a bachelor's degree program in fashion design can provide the foundational knowledge needed to begin your career. Common entry-level job opportunities include positions as design room assistants, pattern makers or assistant designers. According to PayScale.com as of January 2014, the middle 80% of assistant fashion designers earned an annual income between $25,938 and $51,339. The same source reported that the middle 80% of all fashion designers with between one and four years of experience made $32,269-$63,771 in January 2014.
Salaries by Industry
According to the BLS, fashion designers working for apparel, piece goods and notions merchant wholesalers earned an average wage of $70,530 in May 2012. Those working in cut and sew apparel manufacturing earned a slightly higher average wage of $73,140. The company and enterprise management industry paid a much higher average wage of $86,900, while specialized design services paid an average wage of $73,030. The motion picture and video industries paid an average wage of $81,640.
Salaries by Location
Most fashion designers worked in New York and California in May 2012, and the BLS reported average salaries for these locations of $79,270 and $70,490, respectively. Both of these states were included in the five top-paying states in the country at that time. Other states with high average wages included Maine ($82,280), Ohio ($73,100) and Missouri ($70,990). Average pay was $78,500 in the New York City metro area and $72,420 in the Los Angeles, CA, metro area.
With experience under your belt and a demonstrated ability to succeed within the fashion industry, you may advance to supervisory positions, such as chief fashion designer. Most chief fashion designers earned an annual income between $41,146 and $185,743 in Feburary 2014, according to PayScale.com.
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