The median annual wage of fashion designers was $64,530 in May 2010. 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 $32,500, and the top 10 percent earned more than $130,890.
Earnings in this occupation can vary widely based on experience, employer, and reputation. Starting salaries in fashion design tend 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 2010, the wages of fashion designers in the industries employing most of the occupation were as follows:
|Management of companies and enterprises||$70,660|
|Apparel, piece goods, and notions merchant wholesalers||63,750|
|Specialized design services||60,900|
|Performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries||44,130|
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, 2012-13 Edition