Fashion Designer Salary, Career Forecast and Trends

Fashion designers produce the endless array of clothing, shoes, and accessories in the market, from mass-production factories to haute couture houses. They are responsible for bringing their vision for a design from a sketched concept to a realized product. This career can be a lucrative opportunity for a creative and driven person with the proper education.

Fashion Designer Salary: Quick Facts

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual fashion designer salary in 2015 was $73,180, for an hourly wage of $35.18. The top ten percent of fashion designers earned more than $125,270, according to the BLS.

Fashion designers working in specialized industries can also qualify for higher salaries. The BLS reports the following wages in top-paying industries: motion picture and video ($86,380), cut and sew apparel manufacturing ($83,080) and management of companies and enterprises ($83,720).

The following geographical data about fashion designers is also available through the BLS:

  • The states with the highest concentration of jobs were New York, California, Kansas, New Hampshire and Maine.
  • The top-paying states were Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, California and Indiana, which all paid mean annual wages between $72,340 and $87,960.
  • The metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of jobs were New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA; Portsmouth, NH-ME; and Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA.
  • The top-paying metropolitan areas were St. Louis, MO-IL; Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA; and Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA.

Focusing on Fashion Designer Career Trends

According to Projections Central, competition for jobs should continue to be intense in the future, with only a 2.9 percent increase in employment -- 620 annual openings -- expected from 2014 to 2024.

Why You Need a Fashion Designer Education

A formal fashion designer education can help you get the best jobs in this highly competitive industry. According to the BLS, fashion designers are increasingly reliant on computer-aided drafting, or CAD, in the design process. After sketching by hand, images must be uploaded to a computer to streamline the production process. As a result, employers are seeking designers with a formal education in CAD, as well as other design fundamentals.

An online fashion designer education program can be an excellent resource for aspiring designers who seek to advance their careers. Courses are available in color, textiles, sewing, tailoring, pattern making, fashion history, and CAD and two- and four-year degrees are available so you can find the best program for your needs. Online education can provide you with the flexibility to attend classes when and where you want, on your schedule. You can even keep working full-time while you pursue an education. 


  1. Fashion Designers, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistic, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes271022.htm
  2. Fashion Designers, Long-Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm