Fashion Designer Salary (United States)

Pay for Fashion Designers in the United States lies in the neighborhood of $57,645 per year. Pay generally spreads from $34,255 to $97,023 per year. Overall compensation packages to Fashion Designers range from $34,255 on the low end to $97,023 on the high end; this includes bonuses that peak near $10,188 and profit sharing that approaches $10,137, with some high rollers snagging commissions as high as $20K. Earnings for this group are mostly affected by experience level, followed by geography and the particular employer. Although about a quarter lack health benefits of any kind, most do enjoy medical insurance, and more than half get dental coverage, too. Most Fashion Designers report high levels of job satisfaction. The data in this summary comes from 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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Oftentimes, Fashion Designers' salaries rise greatly in accordance with career advancement. Those who assume a higher-end position such as a Senior Fashion Designer usually get paid an extra $33K per year. 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 is raised by $28K per year. Another common career choice for Fashion Designers is to move into an Apparel Technical Designer role—oddly enough, this promotion comes with a pay cut of $6,043.

Fashion Designer Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Fashion Designer

The most lucrative gig in town can be found at Polo Ralph Lauren Corp, where the average salary is $80,293. The consistently lowest paying firm on the list is Nordstrom, Inc., where the median salary is just $60,436.

Popular Skills for Fashion Designer

Fashion Designers seem to require a number of specific 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. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Patternmaking and Illustration. Most people familiar with 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.
For Fashion Designers, experience seems to be a major factor in determining pay. Starting out, salaries are typically $49K, which grows to $64K after five to 10 years. Salary comes to $77K after 10 to 20 years. After 20 years of work in the field, Fashion Designers typically earn $90K and go on to enjoy solid increases in earnings. 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 percent, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining 5 percent. Most of respondents report having between one and nine years of experience in this field.

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. Also paying near the top of the field are New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston, where Fashion Designers annually earn 11 percent, 10 percent, 9 percent, and 8 percent more than the national average. The lowest-paying market is San Diego, which sits 22 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay. Employers also pay below the national average in Dallas (-19 percent) and Miami (-14 percent).

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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