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15 Careers in the Fashion IndustryPursuing a career in the fashion industry can be exciting and rewarding. Ifyou are starting to research jobs in fashion, it is helpful to understand whatis required of various positions. In this article, we discuss 15 commoncareers spanning all three main sectors of the fashion industry: sales, designand development.## What does a career in fashion involve?Fashion careers require creativity and an understanding of different types ofclothing. The type of creativity used varies depending on the specific job. Afashion designer needs to be artistically creative, while a technical designeruses creativity in engineering. Most importantly, a passion for style isnecessary to excel in the fashion industry.## Popular careers in fashionHere are 15 common professions in the fashion industry:### Sales-related careersNational average salary: $10.86 per hour Primary duties: Sales associates help customers find the right product forthem, complete transactions, restock merchandise and maintain a neatappearance in the retail store. They greet the guest as they enter the store,alert them of any current promotions and ask if they are shopping for anythingin particular. If the customer is seeking a specific item, style or size, thesales associate will strive to find the best match.Throughout the guest’s shopping experience, the sales associate can start afitting room and suggest other items to go with the pieces the guest likes.National average salary: $12.76 per hour Primary duties: Merchandisers are responsible for ensuring the right productsare available in the right stores, at the right time, in the right quantitiesand set at the appropriate price. They can work in retail stores or for anapparel brand at the corporate level. Corporate merchandisers partner withdesigners and product developers to ensure the design lifecycle stays ontrack.Merchandisers also work closely with designers to create a profitable productthe customer will buy. If the profit margins become risky, the merchandisermay request changes to the style or review a possible retail price increase toensure the brand remains profitable.National average salary: $13.43 per hour Primary duties: Stylists are responsible for creating outfits and advisingvarious ways to wear an article of clothing. A stylist can work for a clothingbrand or individual clients. A brand’s stylist creates outfits for photoshoots to show the customer how to wear their clothes and accessories.Personal stylists work with clients to help them choose styles that flattertheir body type and fit within their budget. The stylist must listen to theclient’s desires and give them options that suit their needs. The stylist cansuggest new styles or twists on the client’s current wardrobe to elevate theirstyle.National average salary: $54,111 per year Primary duties: Public relations specialists who work for apparel brandscreate and maintain a positive brand and public image. They work withmarketing specialists to plan events that raise consumer awareness andinterest in the brand and product. The public relations specialist is alsoresponsible for developing press releases and handling media inquiries. In acorporate environment, they may also plan employee events involving notablemembers of the public, speakers or performances.National average salary: $59,744 per year Primary duties: Inventory planners begin the apparel development cycle bydetermining the quantity required of various product types. They reviewcurrent inventory levels, seasonal needs and geographical data to forecast theconsumer demand for their product category. The inventory planner is alsoresponsible for allocating and distributing merchandise to warehouses andstores across the country. Throughout the selling season, they track inventorylevels and advise on product performance to their teams.National average salary: $59,846 per year Primary duties: Account managers are employed by companies that sell productsto other entities, stores or businesses and work to build a relationship withthem. They specialize in promoting their product to an entity instead of anindividual and building a client portfolio. Accounts for a branded companyoften are for store or business uniforms, which could include servicecompanies, banks and rental car companies. Some wholesale fashion companiessell their products to department stores and have account managers who developand maintain the corporate relationship.National average salary: $62,597 per year Primary duties: Retail buyers work in retail or department stores and choosethe merchandise assortment available for customers to browse. They take themarket demands, current style trends, price, quality and their customer’sshopping habits into consideration when selecting products to sell. The retailbuyer is responsible for ensuring the store’s stock stays competitive andrelevant to their customer’s needs. They also analyze buying patterns,forecast trends for their target market and develop plans to maintaininventory levels.### Design-related careersNational average salary: $16.13 per hour Primary duties: Fashion designers use creativity to design new styles fortheir target customers. High-end fashion designers exercise greater creativityto develop innovative, original designs. Most fashion designers work in streetfashion, where clothing is mass-produced at an affordable price point. Thesefashion designers gather inspiration from the previous season’s top sellers,runway shows and seasonal trends to design marketable styles for theircustomers. They choose colors and fabrics and design the number of tops,bottoms and dresses allotted by the inventory planning and merchandisingteams.National average salary: $17.50 per hour Primary duties: Graphic designers combine hand drawing and computer-aideddesign to create individual images that are printed on garments. Graphicdesigners have a strong sense of color and design cohesiveness and use theseto develop visually-pleasing graphics. They primarily develop designs in CADprograms but can start by hand drawing and transferring it into the CADsoftware. Graphic designers also use creativity to create a feasible design.In production, they are often limited to eight colors and will save money byusing fewer colors.National average salary: $23.45 per hour Primary duties: Textile designers hand illustrate or use CAD software tocreate designs that can be printed on or woven into a fabric. Textile designsare developed as repeats to cover the fabric yardage with the design. Textiledesigners can work as freelancers or for a company, such as a fabricmanufacturer or clothing brand. They work closely with fashion designers andmerchandisers to create textile designs that suit the clothing styles, seasonand customer. Textile designers also conduct trend research and forecastingfor their products to ensure their designs are on-trend.National average salary: $76,572 per year Primary duties: The creative director is responsible for determining theoverarching theme, color palette and styling of an apparel season’scollection. They can work for an apparel company or fashion magazine. Anapparel creative director conducts trend research and reviews high-level salesdata to determine what trending colors and styles their customers will likelypurchase. At the beginning of each season, they meet with senior designers toestablish the color palette, theme, inspiration sources and any key designelements they want to see in the collection. Throughout development, thecreative director ensures the designs are staying on track and maintainingcohesiveness.### Development-related careersNational average salary: $46,890 per year Primary duties: Product developers oversee the apparel process from designconception to production completion. They are the apparel company’s primarycontact with the factory and are responsible for choosing appropriatefactories to produce each product. The product developer handles the cost andtimeline negotiations with the factory. They also develop or source thefabrics, buttons, zippers and trims that the designers want to use in theproduct. The product developer must ensure all materials and the final garmentmeet the brand’s quality standards.National average salary: $62,318 per year Primary duties: The technical designer is the garment engineer and the liaisonbetween the design and product development teams. The design team gives thetechnical designer the creative vision for each garment, and they determinewhat stitches and hem finishing will be used. The technical designer isresponsible for communicating these sewing details to the factory, along withthe garment measurements. Their primary responsibility is fitting the garmentswhen the samples arrive from the factory and revising the measurements,pattern or sewing methods as needed to make a high-quality, well-fittinggarment.National average salary: $71,861 per year Primary duties: The quality assurance manager is responsible for ensuringgarment quality standards are maintained throughout production. They can beemployed by the apparel brand, manufacturer or a third-party auditor. Themanufacturer’s QA manager sets up checkpoints throughout the production lineto review the quality. They then have a final quality inspection after thegarment is complete.A third-party auditor QA manager visits factories after the production lot iscompletely boxed up and randomly opens boxes to review the quality and packingmethods of the garment. An apparel brand’s QA manager oversees the stock as itarrives in the warehouse and randomly checks pieces to ensure qualitystandards have been met.National average salary: $72,784 per year Primary duties: The production manager is responsible for overseeing allelements of the garment manufacturing process, including fabric testing,cutting, sewing, final garment appearance and packaging. Production managerscan be employed by the apparel brand or by the manufacturing plant. Theyensure the manufacturers are complying with all legal and ethicalrequirements. The production manager is also responsible for ensuring thetimeline negotiated by the product developer is met during production andshipping. The production manager and product developer roles can be combinedor duties interchanged depending on the company’s structure.