All the young fashionistas out there wanting to break into the fashion industry know about being a designer or maybe a personal stylist. But there are many other jobs in the fashion industry that can be great careers.
Whether you’re interested in artistry, marketing, or business, there are jobs in fashion to fit your skills. Here is a list of the best jobs in the fashion industry to find out which job is right for you. We’ll start with the lowest paying and work our way down to the best paying jobs in fashion.
17. Sales Associate
Average Salary: $33,000
Sales associates work in retail stores and do a range of duties, from helping customers find the right styles and sizes, to re-stocking the floor, to running the checkout counter. They also greet guests as they enter the store, and maintain the store’s appearance throughout the day by folding and hanging clothes.
Depending on the clientele of the store, these duties will shift. If it’s a fast-fashion brand, there will most likely be more re-stocking and check-out duties. If it’s a more high-end or luxury store, there will be a stronger focus on customer service and recommending styles.
While this might not be the most luxurious or exciting job, it is one of several jobs in fashion with no experience required. It’s a great first job to dip your toes into the industry and learn about current trends and merchandising practices. Working as a Sales associate can also help you figure out which side of the fashion industry you’re most interested in.
16. Fashion Merchandiser
Average Salary: $40,000
Fashion merchandising is a job title that can encompass a few different things. Generally, merchandisers make sure the right quantity and style of clothes end up in the right stores, based on demand and geographical demographics.
There are merchandising positions with brands, where you’ll make sure that each brand’s clothes end up in the right stores. There are also merchandising positions with stores, where you’ll make sure each brand is sending the right things.
You will most likely need a Bachelor’s degree to get a job as a fashion merchandiser. There are specific fashion merchandising degrees, but degrees in business, marketing, or other corporate-related fields will also qualify you.
Fashion merchandising is a great entry-level position on the business side of the fashion industry. Once you get your foot in the door, this job can lead to positions like corporate merchandisers, trend forecasters, or account managers.
Corporate merchandisers are a common higher-level merchandiser position where you will work with designers and product developers to make sure their designs stay on track with trends and demand.
15. Wholesale Assistant
Average Salary: $42,000
Wholesale assistant positions are another great entry-level job that can lead you into many different careers in the business side of fashion. This job involves generating revenue by driving bulk sales.
Wholesale assistants work for brands and their duties include producing purchase orders, selecting and distributing product samples, and analyzing bulk purchases to inform product restocks. The position usually reports to an Account Manager, and that is a common position to be promoted to after working as a wholesale assistant.
Wholesale assistants also communicate with many other branches of the industry, from designers and merchandisers at the brand to representatives from department stores and other retailers.
Like other jobs in the business side of fashion, a Bachelor’s degree is usually required. You can get a degree in fashion merchandising or some other area of business or marketing. A degree in supply chain management would also be ideal for this position. You can also get a wholesale assistant job without a degree if you have data analytics and technical skills from another position.
14. Visual Merchandiser
Average Salary: $42,000
Visual merchandising might be for you if you’re into the more artistic side of fashion but don’t want to be a designer. You’ll work for a store or brand, and design the window displays and other interiors of the space to entice shoppers.
These displays include everything from styling and placing the mannequins to crafting pieces of art that will highlight the fashion pieces and draw eyes to the window.
This is the perfect job for someone who likes to work with their hands and has a creative vision. You will have to stay within the brand’s image and style, but you’ll likely have a lot of creative freedom to play around and have fun with the space you’re provided.
You don’t need a degree to be a visual merchandiser. Some places might look favorably on candidates with degrees in fine arts or other creative fields, but it’s possible to get this position by starting as a Sales Associate and working your way up.
13. Wardrobe Stylist
Average Salary: $45,000
A wardrobe stylist is another creative role that combines the artistic side of fashion with a business mindset. A fashion stylist works with photographers, filmmakers, and editors to bring clothes to life during photoshoots and videos.
Wardrobe stylists work with media companies to choose and style clothes on models for print and mixed media. They can work on magazine editorials, print or televised advertising campaigns, music videos, or concert performances. They also sometimes work with celebrities to style them for red carpet appearances.
Many wardrobe stylists work freelance, building up a client base through previous work and social media. However, once they establish relationships, they might be put on retainer by certain magazines or celebrities. There are also select talent agencies that will represent wardrobe stylists along with celebrity makeup artists and hairdressers.
You don’t need a degree at all to be a wardrobe stylist. The best way to get started in the business is to make connections over social media and showcase your styling skills online.
12. Fashion Illustrator
Average Salary: $48,000
Fashion illustrating is a perfect job for someone who is both artistic and technical. Illustrators will work for a fashion house or individual brand, helping fashion designers to bring their visions to life on paper before they are turned into garments.
The illustrator will listen to the designer’s vision and then make mock-ups of the designs from multiple angles, showing the color and pattern options and other details. Illustrators can work with physical mediums like pencil or watercolor, or with computer-aided design (CAD).
Many fashion illustrators work on a freelance basis. However, the bigger fashion houses hire teams of full-time illustrators who are entrusted to maintain the brand’s unique style.
While having a degree in fine arts or design can help secure a job as a fashion illustrator, it is not necessary. At the end of the day, work speaks for itself, and if you can show a portfolio that proves your illustration skills, you can get a job without a degree.
11. Graphic Designer
Average Salary: $55,000
There are many different types of graphic designer jobs, and one of the most creative ones is working in graphic design for fashion. This is another popular choice for those with technical and artistic skills who want to work in fashion.
There are two kinds of graphic designer jobs in the fashion industry. Some graphic designers combine hand-drawing and computer graphic work to create the images that are printed on garments. Others use their skills to create online materials for brands like lookbooks, marketing materials, packaging, websites, and social media content.
Both of these career paths use mixed media, usually a combination of print and CAD design skills. Graphic designers can work for a specific fashion label but also a magazine or advertising firm.
You don’t technically need an advanced degree to work as a graphic designer in fashion. You might be able to secure a position with an impressive portfolio. However, since graphic design jobs are very competitive, having a degree can get you a long way.
10. Fashion Writer
Average Salary: $58,000
Being a fashion writer is the perfect job for anyone who loves fashion but doesn’t want to work directly with brands. You can either work as a freelance writer or secure a full-time job with a media company to cover all topics related to fashion.
As a fashion writer, you’ll be able to write about a wide range of topics that concern the fashion industry. One day you might be covering the latest news about a luxury fashion house, the next making the best-dressed list for the Oscars red carpet. You might even go to fashion week in NYC or Paris to cover the events.
Writing is a competitive field, especially nowadays with the amount of different media content online. While having a writing or journalism degree can help you break into the industry, you can also build your platform on social media reviewing looks and breaking fashion news. Then you can start working at an established media company or keep freelancing.
9. Garment Technologist
Average Salary: $58,000
A garment technologist is a perfect career for anyone who likes to work with their hands and has an eye for detail. While you might not have heard of this position, it’s integral to any successful fashion brand, and talented garment technologists have been highly sought after.
Garment technologists are responsible for choosing and testing the fabrics that will make up each piece, considering everything from quality to dye capabilities to production costs. They also oversee the production of the garments to check for quality control and help make production processes more cost-effective and sustainable.
If you want to be a garment technologist, you’ll likely be employed by either a fashion house or a manufacturing company that works with multiple brands. The most common way to secure a job in this field is with an advanced degree in garment technology and production. However, if you manage to secure an apprenticeship, you can sometimes work your way up from there.
8. Account Manager
Average Salary: $60,000
An account manager is another great job in the business and merchandising side of the fashion industry. This is a mid to senior-level job at a fashion house or larger conglomerate. Account managers communicate with retail outlets that sell the brand’s merchandise to figure out logistics and secure deals.
This is the perfect job for someone with an eye for detail and amazing people skills. You’ll usually have a list of clients that you work with specifically, such as specific department stores, chains, or e-commerce websites.
You’ll communicate with contacts at each of those places to make sure supplies run smoothly. This means you’ll be communicating with people at every level of your own company as well as at stores.
Just as with other business-oriented fashion jobs, having a degree in merchandising, business or marketing is a good way to get into this position. Usually, you will start as a wholesale assistant or merchandiser and work your way to account manager.
7. Personal Stylist
Average Salary: $64,000
A personal stylist is a perfect job for anyone with an eye for fashion who loves working directly with clientele. There are a few kinds of personal stylists. Some work for high-end brands and companies in their stores, helping elite clientele find pieces while shopping. Others are hired by wealthy clients or celebrities directly to help them customize their wardrobes.
If you work for a brand, you’ll become intimately familiar with every piece they offer and how each one can be styled. Then, you can advise customers about which pieces are best for them. If you have individual clients, you’ll help them pick their entire wardrobe based on their career, budget, and personal style.
You don’t need any kind of degree to become a personal stylist, although there are certificates you can study for that might help you stand out to employers. The best way to break into this business is through personal marketing on social media and in-person networking.
6. Textile Designer
Average Salary: $68,000
Textile design is another career path in the fashion industry that involves a mix of artistry, creativity, and superior technical skills. Textile designers work with fashion designers to make 2-D and sometimes physical representations of the textiles and patterns that clothing will be made of.
This is a very technical position, requiring you to know the details of both the artistic and production sides of textiles. This includes types of fabrics and yarn, dyeing processes, weaving, embroidery, and printing methods. This way, you can design patterns that will look amazing on specific materials and from multiple angles.
Textile designers can work freelance with smaller brands that hire them for specific projects, or full-time as part of a team with a larger label. They work with designers and manufacturers at every step of the design process.
Textile designers almost always have an advanced degree in a related field because of the technical skills involved. There are textile-specific degrees that specialize in certain materials but also degrees in art and design that can prepare you for this career.
5. Pattern Cutter/Grader
Average Salary: $70,000
Being a pattern cutter is another fashion career for those with advanced technical skills who still want to express their creativity. Pattern cutters are the ones who bring patterns and prints to life on the fabric.
This is both so the designer can see what the actual fabric will look like with each style, and so the manufacturer can understand the logistics behind making the piece. It’s an important role that will see a design from its inception through the production process.
Pattern cutters can work with a fashion house, traveling to manufacturing plants with textile designers. They can also be employed by a manufacturing company that makes garments for multiple brands.
You don’t necessarily need an advanced degree to get a job as a pattern cutter. A degree in textile design or something else with fabric can help you get advanced faster, but you can also work your way up.
4. Trend Forecaster
Average Salary: $72,000
Trend forecasting is a fashion career with a perfect mix of business and creativity. This is an ideal job for someone who enjoys the merchandising side of the industry and cares about bringing fashion to customers but still wants to get creative with the actual clothes.
Trend forecasters do research about the future of fashion, fighting out which colors, styles, and patterns will be trendy each season, and which will go out of style. They do this by doing data analytics about what is selling well and what big names in the fashion media are touting as the new style. But, they also go to fashion weeks and into stores to see what customers are buying.
You don’t need a degree to become a trend forecaster, although a degree in merchandising can be beneficial. You will usually work for a forecasting agency rather than a specific fashion brand, and advise different companies on what they should be making.
3. Fashion Designer
Average Salary: $80,000
A fashion designer is a job every fashionista envisions as a child, and if you genuinely have the creative vision and the talent, you can become a successful one. This job combines creativity, artistry, and business knowledge to design clothes or accessories that fit a certain audience.
Fashion designers usually specialize in a particular area or type of garment. That can be anything from formal wear to children’s clothes to plus-size fashion. If you’re working for a higher-end brand, it might be something even more specific, like a certain style of dress or fabric.
While you can become successful with your own fashion label, most fashion designers work for a larger company. This could be either as an ‘in-house’ designer, which means you’ll work entirely with one label or as a specialist working with multiple brands on one type of item.
You will typically need an advanced degree to be a fashion designer. There are many degrees specifically in fashion design, but you could also get one in a related field like merchandising or textile design.
2. Fashion Marketing/PR
Average Salary: $92,000
Fashion Marketing/PR has always been a popular and competitive field and is only growing with the rise of social media. People who work in fashion marketing use their skills to get customers engaged with brands and in general, improve the brand or designer’s image.
There are many ways to market fashion brands, and people in the industry will do all of them. This could include running a print ad in a magazine, writing press releases, managing brands’ social media accounts and working with influencers, and designing and producing campaigns.
If you work in fashion marketing/PR, you will usually be employed either by a fashion brand directly or with a PR firm that works with multiple clients.
You don’t need a specific degree to get a job in fashion marketing, although it is common to have a general degree in marketing, PR, or communications. However, you can also work your way up in this career, especially through social media.
1. Creative Director
Average Salary: $150,000
Creative Directors are the ultimate job in the fashion industry, one that you can work your way up to over decades. Creative directors are trusted with the vision of the brand from both a creative and data-driven perspective and are in charge of figuring out the path a brand will go down each season.
These decisions include figuring out the overarching theme, color palette, and styling of the apparel for the season. Creative directors can also consult on marketing and designing runways. They make these decisions based on years of experience and research into sales data and trend forecasting.
The creative director meets with designers, marketers, and merchandisers throughout the season to make sure the vision is on track and advises people in every department of the brand. They are often the face of their fashion label. While they must follow the trends each season, they also end up setting the trends.
There is no degree to become a creative director. You will work your way up in a fashion house, either starting as a designer or merchandiser.
Best Paying Fashion Jobs, Closing Thoughts
There are many jobs in fashion, from simply being a sales associate at a local clothing store to more prestigious positions, such as being a fashion designer or creative director. If you’re truly passionate about fashion, consider going to a fashion school or applying to one of the many entry-level jobs in fashion listed here and work your way up.