Make it work: Careers in fashion

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Last night was the season finale of season five for Project Runway. If you haven’t seen the episode, I won’t spoil the surprise for you, although you can read about who won here.

Project Runway showcases fashion designers. But those designers are only a part of the fashion world; there are other career paths that fashionistas can follow to break into the fashion industry.

Here’s a look at some jobs in the industry, along with salary date from (NOTE that the salaries I’m citing here are median salaries and are national averages. Depending on a number of factors, including where you’re located, actual salaries can differ. Jobs in New York City’s fashion industry would likely pay at or above the averages.)

HEAD FASHION DESIGNER. These are the head designers who are responsible for an entire product line. They create and design all of the garments that the label offers.

There are a handful of big industry names (like Alexander McQueen, Anna Sui and John Galliano) that create a lot of buzz and make millions. But the average head designer makes approximately $80,000 annually.

FASHION PATTERNMAKER. These are the workers who, as the job title suggests, create patterns from the designs and cut and create the actual garments.

CBsalary indicates that the median salary for this position is $34,707.

MERCHANDISING. Fashion merchandising can happen at several levels. There are people who work in merchandising roles at the label or clothing line who work with in-store presentations or implement advertising ideas. Major retail outlets, like department stores, will also employ merchandising experts to create the most engaging displays and presentation areas.

The median salary for a merchandising specialist is $63,672.

WRITER/REPORTER. Fashion has a strong tie to journalism; as a product that is primarily visual in nature, fashion is covered on a daily basis in newspapers, on television and in magazines.

There’s an entire segment of the magazine market dedicated to fashion reporting and analysis. You can see the real-life evidence of this at the nearest magazine rack, while films like The Devil Wears Prada and television shows like Ugly Betty paint a vivid picture of life at a fashion magazine.

The CBsalary database suggests that a fashion columnist’s average salary is $38,502.

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