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.
It's the question on everyone's tongues. It's what motivates every conversation about whether or not Liz Warren is "electable," every bit of hand-wringing that a woman just "can't win this year," and every joke about menstrual cycles and nuclear missiles. Is America ready for a woman president?
It's a question that would be laughable if it wasn't indicative of deeper problems and wielded like a weapon against our ambitions. Whether thinly-veiled misogyny or not (I'm not going to issue a blanket condemnation of everybody who's ever asked), it certainly has the same effect: to tell us "someday, but not yet." It's cold comfort when "someday" never seems to come.
What are the arguments? That a woman can't win? That the country would reject her authority? That the troops would refuse to take her orders? That congress would neuter the office? Just the other day, The New York Times ran yet another in a long series of op-eds from every major newspaper in America addressing this question. However, this one made a fascinating point, referencing yet another article on the topic in The Atlantic (examining the question during Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid), which cited a study by two Yale researchers who found that people were either the same or more likely to vote for a fictional male senator when told that he was ambitious; and yet, both men and women alike were less likely to vote for a woman when told that she was ambitious, even reacting with "feelings of moral outrage" including "contempt, anger, and disgust."
The question isn't whether a woman could be president, or whether a woman can be elected president – let's not forget that Hillary Clinton won three million more votes than the wildly unqualified man currently sitting in the oval office – it's whether or not it's appropriate for a woman to run for president, in a pre-conscious, visceral, gut-check way. In short, it's about misogyny. Not your neighbors' misogyny, that oft-cited imaginary scapegoat, but yours. Ours. Mine. The misogyny we've got embedded deeply in our brains from living in a society that doesn't value women, the overcoming of which is key for our own growth, well-being, and emotional health.
Why didn't we ever ask if America was ready for Trump?
That misogyny, too, is reinforced by every question asking people to validate a woman even seeking the position. Upfront, eo ipso, before considering anything of their merit or experience or thought, whether a woman should be president, that, if given the choice between a qualified woman and an unqualified man, the man wins (which, let's not forget, is what happened four years ago). To ask the question at all is to recognize the legitimacy of the difference in opinion, that this is a question about which reasonable people might disagree. In reality, it's a question that reason doesn't factor into at all. It's an emotional question provoking an emotional response: to whom belong the levers of power? It's also one we seem eager to dodge.
"Sure, I'd vote for a woman, but I don't think my neighbor would. I'd vote for a woman, but will South Carolina? Or Nebraska? Or the Dakotas?" At worst, it's a way to sort through the cognitive dissonance the question provokes in us – it's an obviously remarkable idea, seeing as we've never had a woman president – and at best, it's sincere surrender to our lesser angels, allowing misogyny to win by default. It starts with the assumption that a woman can't be president, and therefore we shouldn't nominate one, because she can't win. It's a utilitarian argument for excluding half of the country's population from eligibility for its highest office not even by virtue of some essential deficiency, but in submission to the will of a presumed minority of voters before a single vote has ever been cast. I don't know what else to call that but misogyny by other means.
We can, and must, do better than that. We can't call a woman's viability into question solely because she's a woman. To do so isn't to "think strategically," but to give ground before the race even starts. It's to hobble a candidate. It's to make sure voters see her, first and foremost, as a gendered object instead of a potential leader. I have immense respect for the refusal of women like Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and pioneers like Carol Mosley-Braun, going as far back as Victoria Woodhull, to accede to this narrative and stick to their arguments over the course of their respective campaigns, regardless of any policy differences with them. It's by women standing up and forcing the world to see us as people that we push through, not by letting them tell us where they think we belong.
One of the themes I come back to over and over again in my writing is women asserting independence from control and dignity in our lives. It's the dominant note in feminist writing going back decades, that plea for recognition not only of our political and civil rights, but our existence as moral agents as capable as any man in the same position, as deserving of respect, as deserving of being heard and taking our shot. What then do we make of the question "is America ready for a woman president?" Is America ready? Perhaps not. But perhaps "ready" isn't something that exists. Perhaps, in the truest fashion of human politics, it's impossible until it, suddenly, isn't, and thereafter seems inevitable.
I think, for example, of the powerful witness Barack Obama brought to the office of president, not simply by occupying it but by trying to be a voice speaking to America's cruel and racist history and its ongoing effects. By extension, then, I think there is very real, radical benefit to electing a chief executive who has herself been subject to patriarchal control in the way only women (and those who others identify as women) can experience.
I look at reproductive rights like abortion and birth control, and that is what I see: patriarchal control over bodies, something no single president has ever experienced. I think about wage equality; no US president has ever been penalized for their sex in their ability to provide for themselves and their families. I look at climate change, and I remember that wealth and power are inextricably bound to privilege, and that the rapacious hunger to extract value from the earth maps onto the exploitation women have been subject to for millennia.
That's the challenge of our day. We've watched, over the last decade, the radicalized right go from the fringes of ridicule to the halls of power. We've watched them spit at the truth and invent their own reality. All while some of our best leaders were told to wait their turn. Why, then, all this question of whether we're ready for something far simpler?
Why didn't we ever ask if America was ready for Trump?