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High Paying Jobs in the Fashion Industry

The fashion industry provides several high-paying jobs that vary greatly in job duties and responsibilities. Find out about a few of these careers, their education requirements, median salaries and more.

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High-Paying Career Options in the Fashion Industry

There are high-paying careers with an annual median salary greater than $50,000 (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) available in the fashion industry on both the business side of the industry and the more creative design side of the industry. Compare and contrast a few of these high-paying careers in the fashion industry below.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Fashion Designers $65,170 3%
Art Directors $89,820 7%
Wholesale and Retail Buyers $53,340 (except those for farm products) -2% (decline)
Purchasing Managers $111,590 6%
Top Executives $103,950 8%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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Career Information for High Paying Jobs in the Fashion Industry

Fashion Designers

Fashion designers are responsible for creating the various clothing and accessories that make up the fashion industry, and the BLS reported that they made an annual median salary of $65,170 in 2016. These designers typically choose a theme for their collections and then create designs of their pieces and select their desired materials and fabrics. They typically oversee the production process of their pieces and then sell their work to retailers and/or consumers. Fashion designers need to have a bachelor's degree and a good understanding of the production process for clothing.

Art Directors

The BLS reported that art directors made a median salary of $89,820 in 2016, and some of these professionals may work in the fashion industry as art directors for fashion magazines, fashion shows or fashion advertising campaigns. Art directors help create the visual style and design of these productions, which may require them to choose the layout of the magazine or fashion show stage, the photographs that will be used in the magazine or advertisements and other graphics or artwork that may be used. They also oversee and coordinate the activities of various creative departments, monitor the budget for the project and communicate with clients about the project. Art directors typically need prior work experience in an art or design job and at least a bachelor's degree in art or design.

Wholesale and Retail Buyers

Some wholesale and retail buyers specialize in purchasing clothing and accessories based on current fashion trends. In general, wholesale and retail buyers (except those for farm products) made a median salary of $53,340 in 2016, according to the BLS. The clothing and accessories they purchase are then resold to consumers, and buyers help evaluate the quality of these products before resale. They also evaluate suppliers and work closely with suppliers to negotiate contracts and discuss various agreements, such as the delivery of products. Wholesale and retail buyers usually need a bachelor's degree, typically in business, finance or a related field.

Purchasing Managers

Purchasing managers are similar to wholesale and retail buyers and may specialize in the fashion industry. The BLS recorded an annual median salary of $111,590 in 2016 for these professionals who oversee the activities of buyers and purchasing agents. Purchasing managers also oversee complex procurement tasks, such as analyzing contracts and financial reports, and may review inventories and product performances to help guide their buyers toward specific items. Purchasing managers need at least a bachelor's degree and work experience.

Top Executives

Top executives may oversee the daily operations of a fashion magazine or fashion companies and make a median salary of $103,950, per the BLS for 2016. Top executives include both chief executive officers, for whom relatively few positions are available, as well as the much more abundant general and operations managers. Top executives typically think 'big-picture' and help an organization develop strategies to reach its various goals and search for different areas of improvement. They closely analyze performance indicators and manage the organization's financial activities. Top executives need a lot of work experience and at least a bachelor's degree in business administration or their field of work.

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