The fashion industry is filled with career paths as varied as just about any other degree. For those interested in the world of all things fashion-related, career paths for fashion majors can encompass jobs that appeal to those wanting to flex their artistic muscles all the way to those jobs that are more business or corporate-minded, but with a fashion element. Surprised? If you thought a degree in fashion was limited to a handful of career options or was only lucrative for a select few who make it big in the fashion industry, you will want to see our list of the 10 best paying fashion major jobs. We have looked at all types of jobs within the career paths fashion majors can pursue to show you not only what that route can look like but also what the pay opportunities are in this field. Let’s break down the 10 best paying careers for fashion majors to help you choose the career path that is right for you.
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1. Fashion Photographer
Closely related to fashion journalists, a fashion photographer is the one that grabs the perfect snap (or video) of fashion in action. A fashion photographer may attend live fashion events in Milan, Paris, or London to record the newest looks hot off the runways. Others may attend local happenings for smaller collection launches, brand events, or other promotional occasions. Above all, a fashion photographer is an artist themselves that captures the feel and image behind the pictures. Fashion photographers can freelance their work, meaning they work independently, and they can be contracted to shoot specific events or models, for example, or they can create a body of photographic work that they shop around to interested parties. Other fashion photographers are employed by a fashion house or other business to take specific pictures of clothing, models, events, or other fashion-related subjects.
While some fashion photographers are professionally trained, many are also simply students of the art and learned on the job. Those who have professional training typically study journalism in school to gain a deeper understanding of all types of media and how they are used. Artistic creativity is a necessary ability for a fashion photographer to find success in this field as well as a deep interest in the world of fashion. Aspiring photographers will create a portfolio of their best work to build on as their career advances post fashion schools.
The professional life of a fashion photographer may vary widely since work does not typically take place in an office or at a regularly scheduled time. Many fashion design events and photographic opportunities may take place after traditional work hours, and photographers will also have time to touch up their proofs before delivering the final products to a client or customer. Understanding and keeping up with advances in photo equipment technology is a must in this field, and fashion photographers typically own their own personal film and digital equipment which can be very expensive to purchase upfront for those just breaking into this field.
Average Salary: $43,000
Major or Degree Required: not required but Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Arts in Journalism or Media Studies is common
2. Fashion Merchandising
Have you ever wondered how clothes, shoes or accessories ended up in the store as the in-style, must-have items? Product selection and placement in the promotion of items are up to a fashion merchandising professional. Those who pursue this career path are not only interested in everything fashion as it relates to clothing, but fashion merchandisers also work with products like furniture, cosmetics or even toys. Students in this field will need to be proficient in design theory, textile composition and styles as well as keep up with the latest style trends. Fashion merchandising students will also need to master accounting skills as well as communication skills in school as they prepare to enter this field.
Breaking into the field of fashion merchandising usually includes entry-level positions assisting high-level merchandisers as they work towards influencing the way the fashion world frames trends and styles for the masses. As an intern or assistant to senior merchandising personnel, those new to the field may work long hours, may be in a retail setting, and may have to travel for this job as they learn the fashion design process.
The typical fashion merchandising career may take place with retail employers as a purchasing agent or representing a specific design house matching specific designs or aesthetics to purchasing retailers. Salaries are typically higher in sought-after markets like New York or overseas fashion hotspots as the jobs are more competitive in those fashion design markets.
Average Salary: $45,000
Major or Degree Required: Associates or Bachelors in Fashion Merchandising
3. Fashion Marketing Specialist
Those who work in the field of fashion marketing work closely with fashion merchandising professionals as well as buyers and designers. The job of a fashion marketing specialist involves creating and fulfilling marketing strategies for designs or items. The purpose of marketing is to create brand-loyal customers through creative and impactful marketing strategies. In the fashion design world, marketing specialists have to work hard to differentiate sometimes similar products from each other or create a buzz around a specific label or style.
Students interesting in fashion marketing will typically study business concepts but will also need to include fashion design and art principles with their degrees to snag a job in this hot field. Marketing degrees necessarily include all manners of advertising philosophies as well as gaining an understanding of pricing and the financial impacts of marketing. Fashion design Internships as well as retail or sales experience are generally required to break into this field.
A marketing specialist in the fashion industry will develop and implement marketing campaigns to promote products to retailers, wholesalers, fashion houses and other marketing firms.
Average Salary: $51,000
Major or Degree Required: Bachelor of Marketing and/or Communication plus experience in the fashion industry
If you love to find a great deal on fantastic fashion design, being a buyer or purchaser may be the career you are looking for in the fashion world. The primary job of a buyer is to locate and purchase the highest quality products for the best price. This means that as a buyer you will work with wholesalers to procure products for a retailer or other business to resell that they do not manufacture themselves. Excellent buyers are those with great interpersonal skills, a risk-taking mentality, and people who are good with numbers. Obviously, they should have an eye for fashion design as well.
Buyers work with forecasting trends since they are purchasing items long before a season actually arrives in the stores. Students will work on understanding the business cycles as well as work with data analysis strategies. Becoming a buyer starts with a degree, but most careers in this field expect potential buyers to have professional experience before becoming more than a junior or entry-level buyer.
Buyers typically research fashion design products, problem-solve for supply chain issues and scout out trends with wholesalers.
Average Salary: $56,000
Major or Degree Required: Bachelor of Business Administration or Bachelor of Fashion Design but experience in the field is necessary
5. Fashion Journalist
For those who love to write, a fashion journalist career is a path that combines the ability to write professionally with a love of all things fashion. A career in fashion journalism may eventually land you a seat at the fashion shows in New York City or around the world, but it may also involve writing about trends in clothing, accessories and shoes on different media platforms. This type of journalist works with fashion houses, interviewing design teams or marketing specialists, to inform the world about current or upcoming trends and styles.
To get started in this field, fashion journalism students will study the tenets of journalism in school and will focus on researching skills, communication principles as well as achieving a consistently journalistic writing style. Fashion Journalism internships are usually a part of undergraduate work towards working in this field, and those wishing to break into the fashion world usually hone their crafts with personal fashion blogs or other writing that will increase experience and visibility in the fashion world.
Fashion journalists may return to school for an advanced fashion journalism degree, but most jump into the field at entry-level positions working for trade publications, PR companies, or even e-commerce sites.
Average Salary: $63,000
Major or Degree Required: Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Media, Mass Communication, or Communication Studies
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6. Fashion Product Manager/Brand Manager
This career path in the world of fashion design focuses on promoting a specific product, fashion house, label, or brand. Combining the responsibilities of a marketing manager as well as a product manager and the motivations guiding the design process, a product or brand manager works to position their brand within the marketplace. Some brand managers create promotions for product launches while others may coach retail employees about brand or product details.
Students wishing to enter into the field of fashion product management will study fashion management, marketing, advertising and sales and other fashion courses. This highly competitive field will require internships and likely other retail or fashion-related job experience before even obtaining an entry-level position.
Brand managers will typically work in an office setting where they review data on products and marketing strategies to create and hone promotional approaches to position their brand effectively. On-the-job experience is the main way to move up in this career as the job expectations for brand managers is to be an expert at marketing, understand the product development process as well as have confidence in dealing with PR companies. This career path will involve multitasking on a daily basis since brand managers will have to have some understanding of all of the stages fashion passes through from conceptual design to the sale process.
Average Salary: $63,000
Major or Degree Required: Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing, or Management
7. Fashion Design
A fashion designer is likely the most commonly perceived career path for those looking to go into the field of fashion. However, this job is really the most creative side of the industry because designers are the ones that create the concepts, from sketch to production, for clothing, accessories and shoes. Students studying to become a fashion designers will learn the field from the nuts-and-bolts level of physically creating garments and products as well as learning design, color, and style theories, as well as taking fashion courses. Fashion sketching is where the heart of the educational path begins for many fashion design majors since this is the basis for creating most design inspirations. To be in this field professionally, most students typically vie for highly competitive internships to learn the ropes as well as gain valuable experience as a designer before entering the field.
Many times this fashion designers career path is built on a portfolio style of resume that includes past work completed as well as work the designer may have worked on collaboratively with others or conceptually. This portfolio is also used to connect the designer’s abilities and vision with a potential client or company’s ideals, making the portfolio a vital part of defining the successes and abilities of a potential fashion designer.
The day-to-day job of a fashion designer may include conceptualizing styles and designs in computer-aided design (CAD) programs and creative fashion design drafting. Creating mockups of designs by sewing by hand as well as making design improvements to established designs are also normal job activities for a fashion designer. Many will work collaboratively with other designers as well as an assistant when starting out in the field or in art galleries.
Average Salary: $66,000
Major or Degree Required: Bachelors in Fashion Design or fashion media; Bachelors in Clothing and Textile Studies; may pursue Masters in Fashion Design or related area
8. Fashion Advertising
The field of advertising encompasses many aspects of business, but those interested in the fashion world can use their creativity as an advertising professional that specializes in fashion-related projects. Advertising can take many forms: print, online, social media, and radio as well as the use of promotional products and other creative methods used to promote a product or a service. A career in advertising usually is a position perfect for a highly creative person who can work collaboratively and has a deep knowledge of marketing principles.
Students pursuing a career in fashion advertising will focus schoolwork on advertising concepts as well as communication and fashion courses. Creativity is at the heart of advertising careers, but developing a more narrow scope in the field of fashion will mean fashion students will need to develop an understanding of branding, marketing, and other sales strategies that will relate to creating promotional concepts behind products or brands. Internships in advertising agencies will be part of the educational groundwork future advertising copywriters will be required to complete.
A career as an advertising professional that specializes in the world of fashion will likely begin as a junior copywriter or assistant to a junior copywriter. Advertising professionals sometimes work with brand specialists or marketing departments as well as PR departments. This position is almost always a collaborative effort, too, so those in the field will have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Upward mobility in this highly competitive field is usually based on experience that is supported by a portfolio of past projects and campaigns.
Average Salary: $68,000
Major or Degree Required: Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Advertising, Marketing, or Bachelor of Business Administration
9. Product Manager
This field encompasses the design process once it has been conceptualized and follows through with the production of the item. A Product Manager works with the fashion industry to bring the designs to life on a big scale since this job oversees the factory production cycle from the prototype to the final product, working to overcome production challenges along the way.
Educational training for this position will include understanding the business cycle as well as relevant skills needed in this career. Students will study the principles of accounting to manage expenses on the job as well as how to work with data to create valuable reports along with understanding the fundamentals of the fashion world.
This career usually works in the manufacturing house, overseeing factories and the production processes. Getting into this field you can expect to complete an internship in the field as well as start off as an assistant to a senior product manager professional.
Fashion Management Degrees Average Salary: $87,000
Major or Degree Required: Bachelor of Business Administration, Management; additional coursework in fashion or fashion design field
10. Fashion Technology
A relatively new entrant into the field of fashion, careers in fashion technology combine advancing technological programming with design concepts, theory, and customer patterns. Algorithms are used to anticipate things like customer buying patterns while virtual simulations are completed to test out new textiles. Students interested in software design and creating new applications for technology within the world of fashion, this new career path is worth considering.
Students who want to pursue fashion technology will study software design and implementation, website design and other e-commerce topics. Students may also use this career path to engineer fashion design by creating specialized software programs or even advance the developments in 3-D printing in the field of fashion. Internships in fashion houses or software design companies are integral to becoming a part of this growing field.
Those who work in software engineering fields related to the world of fashion can expect to work in traditional office settings while developing and honing software or other related technology. Collaborative work is common in this field, and experience and a portfolio of projects and designs completed along with higher degrees, such as a master’s in software engineering, may be required to advance further in this relatively new fashion field.
Average Salary: $98,000
Major or Degree Required: Bachelor’s in computer science field or Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering