Fashion Designer Salary

Fashion Designers in the United States take home approximately $60K annually on average. Pay generally varies between $35K and $99K per year. Career duration is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography and the particular employer. For the most part, Fashion Designers enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. While somewhere between a fifth and a fourth report receiving no health benefits, a strong majority do receive medical coverage, and more than half have dental, as well. There are far more female Fashion Designers who answered the questionnaire than men, making up 89 percent. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$37,083 - $96,555

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$10.62 - $45.57

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$34K$68K$102K
Salary
$37,083 - $96,555  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $10,100  
Profit Sharing
$1,750 - $7,500  
Commission
$0.00 - $19,653  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$34,809 - $99,252  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 906
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$17$34$51
Hourly Rate
$10.62 - $45.57  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $42.57  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $10,100  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $19,653  
Profit Sharing
$1,750 - $7,500  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$34,809 - $99,252  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 146
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Job Description for Fashion Designer

A Fashion Designer is a person who comes up with the creative ideas behind clothing and/or accessories. Fashion Designers are the ones who work up renderings and hold the overall vision of what the completed work should be. Fashion Designers usually have a degree in Design, and though the Designer is not usually the one who constructs the final pieces, a Fashion Designer almost always has been educated on how clothing/accessories are physically constructed. Without this knowledge, a Fashion Designer could not obtain a realistic view of what they want to design. Designs are traditionally started by the hand of the Designer via watercolor renderings, but more recently it has become essential for a Fashion Designer to have a strong knowledge of Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and other computer software so that their designs can be transported in the digital world. It is essential for a Fashion Designer to know the market for which they wish to design. For example, commercial lingerie requires a more specific, customer-oriented mentality as opposed to the more open-minded and competitive world of high fashion dresses. When working with a company, it is also important for a Fashion Designer to be able to estimate how much it would cost to produce their product. They need to make sure that enough people will be interested in buying their clothing/accessories so that the company they are working for does not lose any money in the manufacturing process. As with most important jobs, a Fashion Designer needs to know how to keep up with deadlines, and a strong portfolio is a must.


Fashion Designer Tasks

  • Develop design ideas based on targeted demographic and preferences of management or clients.
  • Supervise assistants creating patterns and producing samples of articles of clothing.
  • Follow fashion trends by researching customer preferences, attending fashion shows, and reading fashion publications.
  • Draw patterns and specifications for articles of clothing, determining factors such as design, colors, materials, and methods of production.
  • Promote designs by displaying samples of clothing at sales meetings and fashion shows.

Common Career Paths for Fashion Designer


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It's not very common for Fashion Designers to move on to become Chief Fashion Designers. Average pay for a Chief Fashion Designer is $90K annually. With an annual salary of $89K, Senior Fashion Designer is the most common role for Fashion Designers to subsequently assume on their way up the ladder. Transitioning into an Apparel Technical Designer role — which usually pays $52K — is also typical for Fashion Designers, though less common by comparison.

Fashion Designer Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Fashion Designer


JCPenney leads the field in terms of pay, with a median salary of $82K.

Popular Skills for Fashion Designer


Fashion Designers seem to exploit a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Technical Specification, Product Development, Design, and Adobe Illustrator are correlated to pay that is above average. Those listing Sewing as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Microsoft Excel and Patternmaking also typically command lower compensation. Those familiar with Adobe Illustrator also tend to know Adobe Photoshop.

Pay by Experience Level for Fashion Designer

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Fashion Designers who reported more years of relevant experience also reported higher earnings. Respondents with less than five years' experience take home $48K on average. In contrast, those who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably higher average of $65K. Fashion Designers with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $77K. Big financial gains seem to result from working for more than two decades; veterans in this group report earning $93K on average.

Pay Difference by Location


For Fashion Designers, busy Philadelphia offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 29 percent above the national average. Fashion Designers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Portland (+16 percent), San Francisco (+12 percent), New York (+11 percent), and Seattle (+9 percent). One of the biggest compensable factors for Fashion Designers is geography, with workers in Chicago earning a whopping 33 percent below the national average. Workers in St. Louis and Houston earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (24 percent less and 20 percent less, respectively).

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Experience Affects Fashion Designer Salaries




National Average
$59,000


Skills That Affect Fashion Designer Salaries

Technical Specification
up arrow 19%

Product Development
up arrow 8%

Design
up arrow 2%

Adobe Illustrator
up arrow 2%

Adobe Photoshop
up arrow 1%

National Average
$59,000

Computer Aided Design (CAD)
up arrow 2%

Illustration
up arrow 6%

Merchandising
up arrow 9%

Adobe InDesign
up arrow 14%


Microsoft Excel
up arrow 17%

Sewing
up arrow 31%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 190 votes.

Gender

Female
89 %
Male
11 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
33%
5-9 years
39%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
6%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 77% dental benefits Dental: 57%
vision benefits Vision: 40% employee benefits None: 22%
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