The median annual wage for fashion designers was $62,860 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,110, and the top 10 percent earned more than $126,290.
Earnings in this occupation can vary widely based on experience, employer, and reputation. Starting salaries in fashion design tend to be very low. Salaried fashion designers usually earn higher and more stable incomes than self-employed, freelance designers. However, a few of the most successful self-employed fashion designers earn many times the salary of the highest paid salaried designers.
In May 2012, the median annual wages for fashion designers in the top five industries in which these designers worked were as follows:
Most fashion designers work full time; however, some work part time. Occasionally, fashion designers work long hours to meet production deadlines or prepare for fashion shows. Designers who freelance generally work under a contract and tend to work longer hours and adjust their workday to their clients’ schedules and deadlines.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition
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