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06-07-2008
  46
trendsetter
 
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I've always loved the fashion industry, and always wanted to be a designer. But I can't imagine working as a head designer for a 46k salary, especially in NYC.

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06-07-2008
  47
scenester
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by educo View Post
I don't know who you worked for but some of those figures are correct.

A production manager would never accept a job at 42K.

A head designer?? At 46K?? That would never happen. 46K is more appropriate for a junior level designer. Granted, I worked for a major brand and maybe they were more generous, but a head designer would make close to 80K than 46K.
I totally agree. The Production Managers I work with make closer to 75K (when they first get the position, and then make more with experience), and the head designer (of a specific category such as sweaters, outerwear, etc.) start off at 80K and go up, with design directors (all categories) well into the 6-figures. I've worked in many different categories (including designer and mega brands) and it's been similar in all of them.

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10-08-2008
  48
windowshopping
 
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Basically, dont work in fashion people. I used to harbour big dreams of wanting to write for a huge fashion magazine like Vogue, W etc but after doing a little research on salaries, I felt urgh. There's no way I can afford to pay rent, live a middle class existence(that means still able to enjoy yourself and save the rest of your salary). I felt that I wasnt superstar material - for every Anna Wintour, there would be a Fashion Editor just making that average wage for the next 20 years of your life. I decided to abandon my dreams. But don't take my word for it - life is short, do what you feel like it.

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10-08-2008
  49
Margiela's Muse
 
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That's so depressing.

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10-08-2008
  50
Margiela's Muse
 
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P.S. If you work inhouse and also freelance on the side, you can do QUITE well as a writer.

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10-09-2008
  51
windowshopping
 
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My first job in the fashion industry was as an assistant designer for a denim company and I made $25,000 a year (U.S. dollars for those here who are not from the U.S.). After taxes, my take home pay was roughly $240. - $250. That was not good.

Of course, this was back in 1987 - LOL

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10-09-2008
  52
front row
 
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^^^A note on what was said above, about writers.

I work inhouse for a fashion magazine. I'm an associate editor and the pay is a little below 40k. Assistant editors make around 22-25k and editorial assistants less than that. I also freelance on the side, but even then big magazines like New York Mag and Forbes pay $100-$200 an article if your lucky, and it is VERY difficult to find freelance magazine work, most is written by staff. The magazine industry and the writing industry in general is in a freeze right now. They have "editorial intern" doing work & writing that five years ago an editor would be responsible for. I'm not going to complain on and on...but really, fashion writing is the pits right now.

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11-09-2008
  53
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O/T but I am very on the fence with this whole fashion as a career thing.
The pay obviously isn't well, unless I think if you work in maybe the accounting aspect of the business or something???
After wanting a job in fashion so badly (mind you im still in uni) my parents told me that a lot of people love fashion, and that if I were smart I would get a 'real' job with 'real' pay lol, and then still be able to get all those things I love.

It's hard though because I know I could go into another field and maybe make 80k, but I wouldn't be doing what I have always dreamed of. On the other hand, maybe it is better to get a different job and then still be able to dip into fashion here and there.

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11-09-2008
  54
trendsetter
 
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I concur that this thread is pretty depressing. I mean I know you don't go into fashion to make money but still. I left my premed/bio major to pursue a visual comm. degree in hopes of eventually being an art director for eds/campaigns etc. in fashion instead of being a doctor. I figured I'd rather have a career where my job is fun and exciting to me and make less than have a job that makes tons of money but I have no time to enjoy it and I'm not passionate about my work.

That said, I don't want to live below a certain standard of living though. Maybe when I'm young 30,000 is fine, I'll just pinch pennies madly, but if even after I "work my way up" I'm still only making maybe 50-75 G's a year, I don't think that' provides for a very high standard of living in NYC. And what if I want to have children someday? How would I support them? I mean my parents make over 100K and we only live in the midwest (where cost of living is much lower) and we are still not "well off" by any means. I think I will definitely have to pick up freelance graphic design or other non-fashion "art dept" jobs to supplement my income. Or marry a guy in finance/banker/lawyer. Just kidding! (kind of, that actually might be a solution)

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Last edited by pinksatin; 11-09-2008 at 09:31 PM.
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12-09-2008
  55
front row
 
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As long as you love your job I think salary shouldn't be too much of a "deciding factor" per se. For example, I love draping and patternmaking, so much that I would practically do it for free for a designer, but I would probably need a salary to cover living costs. As long as I have a place to sleep and some clothes to put on my back, I'm happy.

I believe you also work your way up. If your an assistant designer, you salary isn't going to be 40K every single year for the 10 or so years you work there, it will probably increase. And with more experience, you can always get better jobs with usually equal better salaries.

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12-09-2008
  56
windowshopping
 
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Ugh.

Here comes my first post/ bitter rant!

I graduated almost 2 years ago with a BA in Merchandising Management. I loved fashion, had a knack for marketing/ visuals and thought it would provide more flexibility and chances to make a decent income than going straight for design.

Had I known what the job market is like after graduation, I probably would have either called it quits after an Associates or not have gone to school at all. So many employers want a 4 year degree and 3-5 years experience...and pay you 30K/yr tops. Its so disheartening the way we are encouraged to attend college, rack up debt without too much thought because when we graduate we're supposed to get a well paying job that will take care of all of our worries. Such BS!

Recently, I looked into visual merchandising at Forever 21 and Urban/ Anthropologie and was FLOORED that F21 was only paying $9/hr! I never got a straight salary out of Urban, but I found some info on the internet that wasn't much more promising than F21. I mean, these are big companies that are heavily reliant on image and eye catching displays, yet their compensation is awful!

I work PT marketing for a wholesale jewelry rep and get to work from home, and I also freelance style. Working for yourself is extremely hard (marketing and getting your name out there) but there is no over head and the money is pretty fantastic. I suggest freelancing whenever possible to make ends meet!

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12-09-2008
  57
V.I.P.
 
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My friend got a job as a visual merchandiser also
Pay is $11 an hour
She has a degree in visual arts

I think she must have been hired because she has some experience
probably working with galleries, while she was at school
--because she asked me to apply too, and I told them I didn't have experience... (didn't get hired lol)
So it's funny she had to have experience also to even get starter job pay

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15-09-2008
  58
windowshopping
 
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The answer to the original poster's question depends highly on the kind of job within the fashion industry. My friend is an executive assistant to a director at a fashion company and makes 55K. I also know others who are assistant buyers who make 40-55K. However, I also know people who make much less than that being designers' assistants.

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16-09-2008
  59
Margiela's Muse
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoeLady View Post
^^^A note on what was said above, about writers.

I work inhouse for a fashion magazine. I'm an associate editor and the pay is a little below 40k. Assistant editors make around 22-25k and editorial assistants less than that. I also freelance on the side, but even then big magazines like New York Mag and Forbes pay $100-$200 an article if your lucky, and it is VERY difficult to find freelance magazine work, most is written by staff. The magazine industry and the writing industry in general is in a freeze right now. They have "editorial intern" doing work & writing that five years ago an editor would be responsible for. I'm not going to complain on and on...but really, fashion writing is the pits right now.
No, you're completely right. It's a shame my heart is set upon such a fledgling occupation. I just can't see myself ever happy at a desk job and I refuse to sell out and take on some low-skill job in the mean time just to make ends meet as a writer. I won't work a job at 23 that I could have worked at in high school. I'll just ride out the recession and hope to God that a f/t position may find me sooner than later. Until then, it's freelance city and downgraded expectations (and my move to Manhattan, like hiring situations everywhere, is on freeze).

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16-09-2008
  60
don't look down
 
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I second a lot of what ShoeLady said about writing - even if you know your stuff and produce good output, because of the sheer amount of people who want to do the job, employers are going to reckon they can get away with making junior staff do it for less pay and get the same result (or a result 'that does the job').

What I've found is: plenty of places will be happy for you to work for free, so portfolio is not a problem BUT unless you market yourself as a personality, or are related to someone, the big bucks might seem hard to come by.

A related problem is: because of the apparent lack of opportunities, you can also become too afraid to leave the job you get, even if you know you're in a rut and it's time to launch out. So it's easy to stall in your upward climb for all sorts of reasons - as soon as you can afford a roof over your head, you don't want to imperil the regular income. It might seem glamorous to be a starving writer when you're 19 or 23, but if you're in your 30's, there is a whole other world of considerations (and social judgements) that you'll have to battle against if you do something irregular, like leave that steady journo job, to get back on the trail of your 'exciting career'.

Yet however hard it looks, overcoming the seeming difficulties is rewarding - even if it doesn't seem so, when you're standing in front of them, and can't see the way forward or around a problem.

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