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Fashion Designer Salary (United States)

The average Fashion Designer in the United States can expect to rake in roughly $59K annually. Including potential bonuses and profit sharing proceeds (more than $10K for each in exceptional cases) overall income bottoms out near $34K and hits $98K on the high end. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by career length, but geography and the specific company are influential factors as well. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Some workers in this field — nearly one in five — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by a strong majority and dental plans are enjoyed by the greater part. Women make up the vast majority of Fashion Designers (90 percent) who answered the questionnaire. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.
Fashion Designer Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$36,521 - $93,139
(Median)
37K
46K
59K
77K
93K
MEDIAN: $59,159
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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Fashion Designer Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$11.17 - $45.30
(Median)
11
19
30
45
MEDIAN: $19.00
10%
50%
75%
90%
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National Salary Data

 (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$33K$66K$99K
Salary
$36,521 - $93,139  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $10,186  
Profit Sharing
$202.73 - $10,101  
Commission
$0.00 - $19,442  
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).
)
$34,487 - $98,036  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 938
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$21$42$63
Hourly Rate
$11.17 - $45.30  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $60.20  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $10,186  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $19,442  
Profit Sharing
$202.73 - $10,101  
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).
)
$34,487 - $98,036  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 134
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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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Fashion Designers usually experience a big boost in pay as they move up the career ladder to upper-level roles like Senior Fashion Designer. The average pay for a Senior Fashion Designer is $90K annually. As Fashion Designers progress in their field, many go on to become Chief Fashion Designers. In fact, this transition is more common than anything else, and pay for the position is usually $87K per year. Another common career choice for Fashion Designers is to move into an Apparel Technical Designer role. Typically, Apparel Technical Designers get paid $52K.

Fashion Designer Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Fashion Designer

JCPenney offers the highest compensation with a median salary of $82K.

Popular Skills for Fashion Designer

Fashion Designers report using a wide range of professional skills. Most notably, facility with Technical Specification and Design are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 24 percent and 3 percent, respectively. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Patternmaking, Illustration, and Computer Aided Design. Most people who know Adobe Illustrator also 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. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $49K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $65K. Fashion Designers bring in $75K after working for 10 to 20 years. Fashion Designers who have acquired more than 20 years of relevant experience earn significantly more than folks with fewer years on their resumes; the average income in this veteran group is $96K.

Pay Difference By Location

Philadelphia
up arrow 30%
San Francisco
up arrow 21%
up arrow 10%
up arrow 7%
up arrow 6%
Minneapolis
up arrow 4%
National Average
$59,000
Portland
up arrow 7%
Miami
up arrow 13%
up arrow 19%
San Diego
up arrow 24%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
Philadelphia offers some of the highest pay in the country for Fashion Designers, 30 percent above the national average. Fashion Designers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+21 percent), New York (+10 percent), Boston (+7 percent), and Seattle (+6 percent). Fashion Designers in San Diego take home the lowest salaries, earning a whopping 24 percent less than the national average. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Dallas (19 percent lower) and Miami (13 percent lower).

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Experience Affects Fashion Designer Salaries

National Average
$59,000

Skills That Affect Fashion Designer Salaries

Technical Specification
up arrow 24%
Design
up arrow 3%
Adobe Illustrator
up arrow 3%
Adobe Photoshop
up arrow 2%
National Average
$59,000
Computer Aided Design (CAD)
up arrow 4%
Illustration
up arrow 6%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied Image
Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 248 votes.

Gender

Female
90%
female alumni
 
Male
10%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
33%
5-9 years
42%
10-19 years
18%
20 years or more
5%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 77% dental benefits Dental: 58%
vision benefits Vision: 39% employee benefits None: 21%