Fashion design is an exciting career for creative people and people who have a passion for fashion, clothing and accessories. Monthly salaries for fashion designers vary widely, based on employer, experience, location and talent. Fashion designers search for inspiration to sketch, cut and sew fabrics into the next big trend in clothing. Designers might work for a clothing company or design firm, or might work independently and start their own company.
According to the Fashion Designer Salary Data website, the average salary range for most fashion designers is between $50,000 and $80,000 a year, which equates to $4,167 and $6,667 a month. Most fashion designers earn about $65,000 annually, or $5,417 per month. Some designers earn considerably more, especially those who own their own successful fashion design company and design clothes for wealthy people and celebrities. They can easily make a few million dollars each year, or hundreds of thousands a month. On the other end of the spectrum, entry-level designers or designers who have not had much success might earn $30,000 or less each year, or less than $2,500 a month.
Other Salary Statistics
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual salary for fashion designers in 2009 was $74,410 a year, or about $6,200 a month. The median salary was lower, at $64,260 a year, or $5,355 a month. The lowest paid 10 percent of fashion designers earned $32,320 a year or less, which equals less than $2,693 a month. The highest paid 10 percent earned more than $130,900 a year, or more than $10,908 a month.
Salary by Industry
Fashion designer salaries vary by industry, according to the BLS. For example, designers who work in the apparel, piece goods and notions merchant wholesalers earned an annual average salary of $73,150 in 2009, or $6,095 a month. Designers in the performing arts industry earned less than any other industry listed by the BLS, at $53,270 a year, or $4,439 a month. The motion picture and video industry paid fashion designers more than any other industry listed by the BLS, with an average salary of $92,850, or $7,737 a month. Designers in the specialized design services industry earned $80,720 a year, or $6,726 a month, while designers in the durable goods merchant wholesalers industry earned $79,380, or $6,615 a month.
Salary by Location
Location also plays a role in a fashion designer's salary. For example, according to the BLS, fashion designers who lived and worked in New Hampshire in 2009 were the highest-paid designers in the country, with an average salary of $85,460, or $7,121 a month. Maine designers were the next highest paid on the BLS list, with an average salary of $81,540 a year, or $6,795 a month. California designers came in third, with an average salary of $81,490, or $6,790 a month. Surprisingly, designers in New York state were the fifth-highest paid, with an average salary of $79,800, or $6,650 a month. New York City is considered one of the fashion hot spots of the world, so the competition among aspiring designers living and working in New York seems to drive average salaries down.
Chris Newton has worked as a professional writer since 2001. He spent two years writing software specifications then spent three years as a technical writer for Microsoft before turning to copywriting for software and e-commerce companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado.