Sponsored 19 April 2019
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.
5 Min Read
You may recognize Judge, Tanya Acker, from her political and legal commentary on different networks and shows like Good Morning America, The Talk, Wendy Williams, CNN Reports or The Insider. Acker is more than an experienced commentator. She is also a Judge on the fifth season of Emmy nominated CBS show, Hot Bench.
The show, created by Judge Judy, is a new take on the court genre. Alongside Acker, are two other judges: Patricia DiMango and Michael Corriero. Together the three-panel judges take viewers inside the courtroom and into their chambers. “I feel like my responsibility on the show is, to be honest, fair, [and] to try and give people a just and equitable result," Acker says. She is accomplished, honest and especially passionate about her career. In fact, Acker likes the fact that she is able to help people solve problems. “I think that efficient ways of solving disputes are really at the core of modern life.
“We are a very diverse community [with] different values, backgrounds [and] beliefs. It's inevitable that we're going to find ourselves in some conflicts. I enjoy being a part of a process where you can help resolve the conflicts and diffuse them," she explains.
Acker's career has been built around key moments and professional experiences in her life. Particularly, her time working right after college impacted the type of legal work she takes on now.
Shaping Her Career
Acker didn't foresee doing this kind of work on television when she was in college at either Howard University or Yale Law. “I was really open in college about what would happen next," Acker comments. “In fact, I deliberately chose a major (English) that wouldn't lock me into anything [because] I wanted to keep all of my options open." Her inevitable success on the show and throughout her career is an example of that. In fact, after graduating from Yale, Acker served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Dorothy Nelson who sits on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
It was not only her first job out of law school but also one of the formative experiences of her professional life. “[Judge Nelson is] certainly, if not my most important professional influence," Acker says. “She is really the living embodiment of justice, fairness, and believes in being faithful to the letter and the spirit of the law," she exclaims. “She delivers it all with a lot of love." Judge Nelson is still on the bench and is continuing to work through her Foundation: The Western Justice Center in Pasadena, California, where Acker serves on the board. The foundation helps people seeking alternative ways of resolving their disputes instead of going to court.
"I enjoy being a part of a process where you can help resolve the conflicts and diffuse them," she explains.
“It was important to her to try and create platforms for people to resolve conflict outside of court because court takes a long time," Acker explains. “I'm proud to be a part of that work and to sit on that board."
After her clerkship, she was awarded a Bristow Fellowship and continued building her career. Outside of the fellowship, Acker's legal work incorporated a broad variety of matters from civil litigation, constitutional cases, business counseling, and advising. One of her most memorable moments was representing a group of homeless people against the city. “They were being fought for vagrancy and our defense was, they had no place to go," she shares.
As part of her pro bono work, Acker was awarded the ACLU's First Amendment Award for her success with the case. Though, she has a hard time choosing from one of many memorable moments on Hot Bench. Acker does share a few of the things that matter to her. “Our show is really drawn from a cross-section of courtrooms across America and the chance to engage with such a diverse group of people really means a lot to me," she discusses.
How Did Acker Become A Judge?
In addition to Judge Nelson, Judge Judy is certainly among her top professional influences. “I think it's incredible [and] I feel very lucky that my professional career has been bookended by these incredible judges," she acclaims. “I've really learned a lot from Judy about this job, doing this kind of job on television." Before Acker was selected for Hot Bench, she hadn't been a judge. It was Judge Judy who recommended that she get some experience. Acker briefly comments on her first experience as a temporary judge on a volunteer basis in traffic court. “I was happy to be able to have the chance to kind of get a feel for it before we started doing the show," she comments. “Judy is a wonderful, kind, generous person [and] she's taught me quite a lot. I feel lucky."
Photo Courtesy of Annie Shak.
Acker's Time Away From Home
Outside of Hot Bench, Acker took recent trips to Haiti and Alabama. They were memorable and meaningful.
Haiti, in particular, was the first trip she excitedly talks about. She did some work there in an orphanage as part of LOVE Takes Root, an organization that is driven to help children around the world whether it's basic aid or education. “Haiti has a special place in my heart," she began. “As a person who's descended from enslaved people, I have a lot of honor and reverence for a country that threw off the shackles of slavery."
She was intrigued by the history of Haiti. Especially regarding the communities, corrupt government and natural disasters. “They really had to endure a lot, but I tell you this when I was there, I saw people who were more elegant, dignified, gracious and generous as any group of people I've ever met anywhere in the world," she goes on. “I think it left me with was a strong sense of how you can be graceful and elegant under fire." Acker is optimistic about the country's overall growth and success.
“[Judge Nelson is] certainly, if not my most important professional influence," Acker says. “She is really the living embodiment of justice, fairness, and believes in being faithful to the letter and the spirit of the law."
“There are certainly times when people treated me differently or made assumptions about me because I was a black woman," Acker says. “I've got it much better, but that doesn't mean it's perfect...it certainly isn't, but you just have to keep it moving."
Her other trip was different in more ways than one. She traveled there for the first time with her mother as part of a get out to vote effort, that Alabama's First black House Minority Leader, Anthony Daniels was organizing. “It was incredible to take that trip with her [and] I've got to tell you, the South of today is not the South of my mother's upbringing," she explains. Originally from Mississippi, Acker's mother hasn't been back in the South since 1952. “Every place has a ways to go, but it was a really exciting trip [and] it was nice for me to connect with that part of the country and that part of my history."
Overcoming Racial Barriers
As a black woman, Acker has certainly faced challenges based on her race and gender. But it doesn't define who she is or what she can accomplish. “There are certainly times when people treated me differently or made assumptions about me because I was a black woman," she says. “There's no sort of barrier that someone would attempt to impose upon me that they didn't attempt to impose on my mother, grandmother or great-grandmother." In a space where disparity is sometimes apparent, she recognizes that there is no barrier someone would try to impose on her that they didn't attempt to impose on her mother or grandmothers. “I've got it much better, but that doesn't mean it's perfect...it certainly isn't, but you just have to keep it moving," Acker states. The conversation continues truthfully and seriously. Acker shares what it can be like for black women, specifically. “I think we're underestimated and we can be disrespected, whereas other folks are allowed the freedom to enjoy a full range of emotions and feelings," she articulates.
At times black women are often restricted from expressing themselves. “If someone wants to make an assumption or jump to a conclusion about me because of my race or gender, that's on them, but their assumptions aren't going to define me," Acker declares. “If something makes me angry or happy I will express that and if someone wants to caricature me, that's their pigeonholing; that's not my problem." A lifelong lesson she learned and shared is to not let other people define who you are. It is one of three bits of wisdom.
Three Pieces Of Advice From Judge Acker
The Power Of Self-awareness
“It's really important that you have a really firm sense of what you want to do and be, and how you're moving in the world because when people try to sway you, judge you or steer you off course you've got to have some basis for getting back on track."
Know Your Support System
“Have a strong community of people who you trust, love and who love you," she advises. “But also learn to love and trust yourself because sometimes it's your own voice that can provide you the most comfort or solace in something."
Learn From Your Experiences
“Trust yourself. Take care of yourself. Don't be too hard on yourself. Be honest with yourself.
“There are times when it's not enough to say this is who I am. Take it or leave it. Sometimes we've got things that we need to work on, change or improve upon," she concludes.
Acker stands out not only because of her accomplishments, but the way she views certain aspects of her life. These days, she's comfortable accepting what makes her different. “I think there's a time when you're younger when conformity feels comfortable, [but] I'm comfortable these days not conforming," she laughs. She enjoys being a decision maker and helping people work through it on Hot Bench.
This article was originally published May 15, 2019.