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How much money do people in fashion really make? With their globe-trotting lifestyles and accessories that cost more than the average person's rent, it might seem like a lot, but that isn't always the case, especially in the early years of one's career.

To get to the truth, we once again anonymously surveyed our readers — about 850 of them, from all experience levels, company sizes and segments of the industry, including retail, styling, editorial, PR, marketing, photography, product development and influencing. We asked them where they work, what their titles are and how much they make, as well as details like location, gender identity and race, which can impact pay in less obvious ways. 

A bit about our participants: According to the responses we received, most were college-educated women with under 15 years of experience. They were fairly evenly spread across segments of the industry, with a bit more representation from fashion design and retail. They work for companies including Nordstrom, LVMH, Tory Burch, Shopbop, Ralph Lauren, Rent the Runway, Purple PR, Nike, Marc Jacobs, Hearst, Gucci, Condé Nast and Bustle Digital Group. About 40% were based in New York, 14% were in California and 18% were international. About 69% identified as white, 19% as Black and 13% as Asian.

As for how these demographic details impacted average pay, men made about 18% more than women; white respondents made 15% more than Black respondents and 5% more than Asian ones. Education level didn't seem to have much of an impact on respondents' salaries, as long as they graduated high school.

The field with the highest entry-level pay was editorial, with an average salary of $54,570 for those with 0-2 years of experience. On the other end of the spectrum, those with 20+ years under their belt got the highest pay — $246,000 on average — if they worked in PR. Meanwhile, the highest concentration of $100k+ salaries overall was in buying/retail/sales; the lowest average salaries were in styling.

It's been two years since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic (more on how that impacted salaries here), so we also asked about how current salaries compare to what respondents were making pre-pandemic; 45% said they're making around the same, while 43% said they're making less. 

Below, you'll find the mean salaries for each field we surveyed and received a significant number of responses for.

Fashion Design

Assistant designer: $44,710
Associate designer: $64,000
Senior designer: $82,00
Technical designer: $61,000
Senior technical designer: $87,500
Designer: $128,630
Design director: $150,620
Creative director: $162,250

Public Relations

Assistant publicist: $43,540
Associate publicist: $49,700
Publicist: $58,530
Senior publicist: $81,000
Publicity director: $114,470
VP Publicity: $202,250

Editorial - Digital

Assistant editor: $43,000
Writer: $52,140
Associate editor: $62,500
Fashion editor: $72,630
Senior editor: $73,250
Senior writer: $81,000
Editor-in-chief: $186,000

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Editorial - Print & Digital

Writer: $25,000
Associate editor: $41,000
Fashion editor: $47,330
Assistant market editor: $50,000
Assistant editor: $52,000
Director-level editor: $105,200
Editor-at-large: $210,000

Creative (Graphics/Photo/Visuals)

Graphic designer: $60,000
Associate photo editor: $65,000
Photo director: $78,750
Senior graphic designer: $83,330
Art director: $89,630
Design director: $105,000
Creative director: $141,170


Assistant: $37,130
Coordinator: $54,570
Social media manager: $55,000
Copywriter: $83,170
Account executive: $86,800
Project manager: $69,110
Marketing manager: $99,620


Stylist's assistant: $29,420 
Stylist: $77,240


Sales assistant: $36,690
Assistant buyer: $49,070
Assistant merchandiser: $51,380
Visual merchandising: $57,170
Associate buyer: $64,330
Store manager: $64,500
Sales rep: $81,610
Merchandiser: $103,880
Buyer: $106,830
Fashion director: $170,570

Product Development/Supply Chain

Development assistant: $44,400
Pattern maker: $79,250
Product manager: $85,890
Sourcing manager: $162,800

Model/Talent Management

Agent assistant: $60,000
Talent agent: $99,830
Talent manager: $133,000



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