The idea of getting into the fashion industry appeals to people from different generations, but it’s the young ones that are more aggressive in making a mark in this industry. It’s probably because they have a lot of fresh, new ideas to contribute, or because the new generation is keener on seeking jobs that are more diverse than corporate careers -- and for good reason.
Becoming associated with fashion’s biggest names, such as Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Ford, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, and Valentino is a dream of a lifetime for many people. For some, writing for the top fashion magazines like Essence, Vogue, or Ebony is the most coveted career.
You can make your fashion dreams a reality with hard work and a bit of luck. We’ve rounded up the top 10 careers in fashion and the average salary for each to inspire you and help you get started.
- Fashion Designer - $63,000
Fashion designing is one of the most high-profile jobs in the entire industry. It’s the designer’s job to oversee projects and sketch the entire collection right up to the finishing touches. But you can’t become a fashion designer overnight. While proper education is preferred, creativity and inspiration matter more to build an entire fashion house.
- Textile Designer - $52,000
Professionals who specialize in patterns for both upholstery and fabrics are called textile designers. Most textile designers have one or two fields they work in, which commonly involves using 2D designs to be knitted or woven in fabrics, carpets, garments, and similar items.
- Fashion Merchandiser - $49,000
A career in merchandising is for those who find numbers appealing and the technical aspect of distributing various fashion products. Merchandisers are responsible for ensuring that there are enough products in the right stores, sold in the right time. The skills required for this job is the ability to monitor and forecast sales.
- Illustrator - $45,000
Fashion illustrators work closely with creative directors and designers in order to bring life to their visions. An illustrator commonly uses CAD software in order to create designs and sketches. However, free-hand sketching still applies to this day. Illustrators are not only creative and artistic people, but they are also very accurate in producing realistic images.
- Fashion Photographer - $43,000
If you think landscape or portrait shoots are similar to fashion photography, think again. Fashion photography requires a specific set of skills and creative ideas to shoot garments, still-life images, mannequins, and models. You can acquire a ton of exposure if your ideas become real-life ad campaigns displayed in magazines, posters, and billboards.
- Graphic Designer - $43,000
If you love creating new designs, using different typography, and editing images, you can have a lucrative career in graphic designing. This career makes fashion images look better and more appealing to consumers by touching up editorial shots, seasonal lookbooks, and other marketing materials.
- Model - $42,000
Fashion models are one of the most well-known personalities in fashion due to the fact that they are the face of a brand. As a model, you are tasked to promote different items of clothing and products, be it footwear, clothing, accessories, perfumes, and other similar products. Your looks are essentially your weapon, seen on various forms of marketing, including billboards, social media, websites, and magazines. To succeed in this career, you must have the right ‘look’ and your portfolio of pictures should be readily available.
- Personal Assistant - $40,000
A personal assistant is a hard-working and dedicated individual working for high profile individuals in the fashion industry, such as celebrities, magazine editors, and fashion designers themselves. What makes this job exciting is the fact that you have several perks, including getting to work closely with your favorite fashion icon and their peers. You’ll often run errands that they don’t have time for, as well as make reservations, book flights, and arrange your boss’ schedule.
- Fashion Blogger/Writer/Journalist - $39,000
If you have a knack for expressing yourself through words or always loved reading, a career as a fashion writer can be a fulfilling job. While you can create your own blog, you also have the option to write for your favorite publication or even write a book. While not a requirement, a degree in journalism or creative writing will be advantageous.
- Fashion Stylist - $31,000
Stylists can work with fashion organizations or on a one-to-one basis. Regardless of the setting, the goal is to help a client find an attractive and suitable outfit for an important occasion. Successful stylists have a keen eye for detail and are often skilled at communicating. This makes them a rare breed and the only professional who understands a client and what he or she wants to portray.
Work Your Way Up in the Fashion Industry
There are many other careers in the fashion industry and you can work in one if you have a creative mind and live up to the constant need and demand of the rapidly changing trends. A career in fashion can be temporary, but there’s also a guarantee to last a lifetime if you equip yourself with the right attitude and skills for the job.
I walk into a room full of men and I know exactly what they're thinking: "What does she know about whisky?"
I know this because many men have asked me that same question from the moment I started my career in spirits a decade ago.
In a male-dominated industry, I realized early on that I would always have to work harder than my male counterparts to prove my credibility, ability and knowledge in order to earn the trust of leadership stakeholders, coworkers, vendors and even consumers of our products. I am no stranger to hard work and appreciate that everyone needs to prove their worth when starting any career or role. What struck me however, was how the recognition and opportunities seemed to differ between genders. Women usually had to prove themselves before they were accepted and promoted ("do the work first and earn it"), whereas men often were more easily accepted and promoted on future potential. It seemed like their credibility was automatically and immediately assumed. Regardless of the challenges and adversity I faced, my focus was on proving my worth within the industry, and I know many other women were doing the same.
Thankfully, the industry has advanced in the last few years since those first uncomfortable meetings. The rooms I walk into are no longer filled with just men, and perceptions are starting to change significantly. There are more women than ever before making, educating, selling, marketing and conceptualizing whiskies and spirits of all kinds. Times are changing for the better and it's benefitting the industry overall, which is exciting to see.
For me, starting a career in the spirits business was a happy accident. Before spirits, I had worked in the hospitality industry and on the creative agency side. That background just happened to be what a spirits company was looking for at the time and thus began my journey in the industry. I was lucky that my gender did not play a deciding role in the hiring process, as I know that might not have been the case for everyone at that time.
Now, ten plus years later, I am fortunate to work for and lead one of the most renowned and prestigious Whisky brands in the world.. What was once an accident now feels like my destiny. The talent and skill that goes into the whisky-making process is what inspired me to come back and live and breathe those brands as if they were my own. It gave me a deep understanding and appreciation of an industry that although quite large, still has an incredible amount of handmade qualities and a specific and meticulous craft I have not seen in any other industry before. Of course, my journey has not been without challenges, but those obstacles have only continued to light my passion for the industry.
The good news is, we're on the right track. When you look at how many females hold roles in the spirits industry today compared to what it looked like 15 years ago, there has been a significant increase in both the number of women working and the types of roles women are hired for. From whisky makers and distillers to brand ambassadors and brand marketers, we're seeing more women in positions of influence and more spirits companies willing to stand up and provide a platform for women to make an impact. Many would likely be surprised to learn that one of our team's Whisky Makers is a woman. They might even be more surprised to learn that women, with a heightened sense of smell compared to our male counterparts, might actually be a better fit for the role! We're nowhere near equality, but the numbers are certainly improving.
It was recently reported by the Distilled Spirits Council that women today represent a large percentage of whisky drinkers and that has helped drive U.S. sales of distilled spirits to a record high in 2017. Today, women represent about 37% of the whisky drinkers in the United States, which is a large increase compared to the 1990s when a mere 15% of whisky drinkers were women. As for what's causing this change? I believe it's a mix of the acceptance of women to hold roles within the spirits industry partnered with thoughtful programs and initiatives to engage with female consumers.
While whisky was previously known for being a man's drink, reserved for after-dinner cigars behind closed doors, it is now out in the open and accessible for women to learn about and enjoy too.
What was once subculture is now becoming the norm and women are really breaking through and grabbing coveted roles in the spirits business. That said, it's up to the industry as a whole to continue to push it forward. When you work for a company that values diversity, you're afforded the opportunity to be who you are and let that benefit your business. Working under the model that the best brand initiatives come from passionate groups of people with diverse backgrounds, we are able to offer different points of view and challenge our full team to bring their best work forward, which in turn creates better experiences for our audience. We must continue to diversify the industry and break against the status quo if we really want to continue evolving.
While we've made great strides as an industry, there is still a lot of work to be done. To make a change and finally achieve gender equality in the workplace, both men and women need to stand behind the cause as we are better collectively as a balanced industry. We have proved that we have the ability to not only meet the bar, but to also raise it - now we just need everyone else to catch up.