The Average Salary of Entry Level Jobs in Fashion

Entry-level fashion employees often work long hours for little pay.
Entry-level fashion employees often work long hours for little pay. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Salaries for jobs in the fashion industry vary by experience, occupation and location. Salaried fashion employees typically earn a higher wage than those doing freelance work. PayScale reported the average salary of entry level jobs in fashion to be $34,620 a year as of 2011.

Salary by Experience

The average fashion salary for those just starting out and who have less than one year of experience was reported to be $34,620, while those with one to four years of experience earn $40,073, according to PayScale. So, while entry-level employees start with lower salaries, they can quickly work their way up. Those with five to nine years of experience earn a salary of $59,170, and those with 10 to 19 years of experience earn a salary of $59,261. Fashion employees with 20 or more years of experience earn a salary of $88,222.

Salary by Job

Salaries vary greatly by type of fashion job. Fashion designers have an average salary of $51,801, according to PayScale as of 2011, while assistant fashion designers earn $35,509. Entry-level employees are more likely to be assistants. Average salaries for additional fashion occupations include graphic artists at $39,765; graphic designers at $39,765; retail store managers at $39,903; assistant buyers at $41,669; and executive assistants at $44,698.

Salary by City

Salaries for jobs in fashion also vary by the location. According to PayScale, those employed in the New York City earn an average salary of $50,877, while those in Chicago earn significantly less, with an average salary of $40,695. New York has a higher cost of living and is one of the major fashion cities in the world. Average fashion industry salaries in other cities include Boston at $42,500, Los Angeles at $45,561, San Francisco at $53,283 and Miami at $48,283.

Hourly Rate by Employer Name

Fashion industry salaries also vary greatly depending on the employer. For example, according to PayScale, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. fashion employees earn an hourly rate of $15.09 on average in 2011, and BCBG Max Azria Group employees earn $14.50 per hour. Guess? Inc. employees earn some of the highest hourly rates reported by PayScale, at $17.00 an hour, while Nordstrom’s, Inc. fashion employees earn the lowest reported hourly rate at $12.00.

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