Fashion Designer Salary (United States)

A typical Fashion Designer in the United States can expect to take home roughly $57,645 annually. Pay begins at $34,255 on the low end and climbs to $97,023 per year near the top. Bonuses, profit sharing, and commission all factor into overall incomes for Fashion Designers. Ranging between $36,376 near the bottom and $91,602 near the top, total earnings can include up to $10,188 from bonuses and up to $10,137 from profit sharing, with a high-performing minority reaping commissions of $20K. Experience level is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by the particular city and the specific company. While some workers in this profession—22 percent—do not have any health coverage, most do receive medical benefits and more than half have dental insurance. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. This summary is derived from information collected in the PayScale salary survey.
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.
)
$36,376 - $91,602
(Median)
36K
46K
58K
75K
92K
MEDIAN: $58,277
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.
)
$10.22 - $45.30
(Median)
10
15
19
30
45
MEDIAN: $19.00
10%
25%
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
$36,376 - $91,602  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $10,188  
Profit Sharing
$201.34 - $10,137  
Commission
$0.00 - $20,273  
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).
)
$34,255 - $97,023  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 981
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
$10.22 - $45.30  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $61.18  
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 - $10,188  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $20,273  
Profit Sharing
$201.34 - $10,137  
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).
)
$34,255 - $97,023  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 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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As Fashion Designers transition into upper-level roles, they usually see a strong upturn in salary. For instance, it is not uncommon for a Senior Fashion Designer to earn an extra $33K per year than his or her lower-level colleagues. Fashion Designers go on to become Chief Fashion Designers more often than anything else, where paychecks are higher by $28K. Fashion Designers will find lower salaries (-$6,043) when they move into an Apparel Technical Designer role, another well-traveled path for those in this field.

Fashion Designer Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Fashion Designer

Polo Ralph Lauren Corp offers the largest salaries in town—$80,293 on average. Nordstrom, Inc. offers the lowest pay in the field, with a median salary of just $60,436.

Popular Skills for Fashion Designer

Survey results show that Fashion Designers use a fair number of skills. Most notably, facility with Technical Specification, Design, and Adobe Illustrator are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 31 percent, 5 percent, and 4 percent, respectively. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Patternmaking and Illustration. 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.
For Fashion Designers, experience seems to be a major factor in determining pay. At career start, salaries are typically $49K, which grows to $64K after five to 10 years. Those with one to two decades of experience under their belt tend to see salaries around $77K. Pay continues to grow for Fashion Designers after two decades on the job, and average earnings come to $90K. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up 17 percent of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise less than five, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining 5 percent. Most employees in this workforce have between one and nine years of experience; most of those surveyed fall within this distribution.

Pay Difference By Location

Philadelphia
up arrow 23%
up arrow 11%
up arrow 10%
San Francisco
up arrow 9%
up arrow 8%
Minneapolis
up arrow 6%
National Average
$58,000
Portland
up arrow 13%
Miami
up arrow 14%
up arrow 19%
San Diego
up arrow 22%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
Home to some of the best pay for Fashion Designers, Philadelphia offers exceptional salaries, 23 percent above the national average. Those in search of high salaries should also consider checking out cities like New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston, top-paying markets where Fashion Designers rake in more than the national norm (+11 percent, +10 percent, +9 percent, and +8 percent). Fashion Designers' salaries are heavily influenced by location—Fashion Designers in San Diego bring in salaries that are 22 percent lower than the national average. Below-median salaries also turn up in Dallas and Miami (-19 percent and -14 percent, respectively).

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Fashion Designer Salaries

National Average
$58,000

Skills That Affect Fashion Designer Salaries

Technical Specification
up arrow 31%
up arrow 5%
Adobe Illustrator
up arrow 4%
Adobe Photoshop
up arrow 4%
National Average
$58,000
Computer Aided Design (CAD)
up arrow 3%
Illustration
up arrow 4%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied Image
Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 278 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
43%
10-19 years
17%
20 years or more
5%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 76% dental benefits Dental: 56%
vision benefits Vision: 37% employee benefits None: 22%
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