What can you do with a fashion degree? (Jobs and salaries)

Updated 22 February 2023

Fashion degrees apply to several industries, including merchandising, public relations, photography and retail. The diversity among fashion careers means you could work in an office environment, small or large fashion houses or warehouses. If you're looking for a career change and wondering ‘What can you do with a fashion degree?', learning about different fashion job opportunities ensures you pursue a career that aligns with your interests. In this article, we discuss some fashion degree careers, including their average salary and primary duties.

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What can you do with a fashion degree?

There are several careers you could pursue if you're wondering ‘What can you do with a fashion degree?'. These careers all have different experience requirements, so be sure to perform research into the roles you're interested in before applying. Some job options include:

1. Make-up artist

National average salary: £18,550 per year

Primary duties: Make-up artists ensure that models, presenters and presenters have suitable make-up for appearing in front of an audience or cameras. They create make-up looks, hairstyles and prosthetics according to a client brief. Make-up artists work in a range of industries including film, television, theatre and photography. They may create more dramatic looks or special effects for drama pieces in theatre and films or more basic looks for presenters. Some other general responsibilities of the role include ensuring continuity in hair and make-up on-screen, sourcing, budgeting and ordering materials and equipment and reading scripts to compare the looks required.

2. Visual merchandiser

National average salary: £22,852 per year

Primary duties: Visual merchandisers promote a retail brand's product or services by developing visual concepts and strategies. They ensure visual strategies align with creative trends by performing market research into the latest fashion. Visual merchandisers also work with galleries and museums to create visual backdrops for promotional events. The primary responsibilities of the role include creating design plans and themes that align with client requirements, discussing sales strategies with retail and sales managers, sourcing props, hardware and fabrics and negotiating with suppliers to secure the best deals on visual materials and remain within budget.

Related: 15 concepts of design and what these design types entail

3. Stylist

National average salary: £23,146 per year

Primary duties: Stylists use their understanding of fashion trends to create appealing outfits, photoshoots or displays. They style clothing in a way that communicates a visual message and accentuates the brand they work for. Some responsibilities of the role include maintaining sets, styling props, shoot areas and mannequins, directing make-up and hair, creating fashion mood boards and steaming, pinning and fitting clothes. Stylists often work collaboratively with photographers, models, content managers, studio coordinators, creative directors and other professionals depending on the industry they work in. They work within image production teams, public relations, magazine publishers or large retailers.

4. Retail manager

National average salary: £25,689 per year

Primary duties: A retail manager oversees the day-to-day management of a retail store or department. Their responsibilities include recruiting and training staff members, conducting performance reviews and appraisals, setting staff and sales targets, dealing with customer complaints and feedback and devising pricing structures. Retail managers also ensure that the store complies with workplace health and safety standards and other relevant legislation. They may analyse sales figures to forecast future purchases and interpret buying trends. When new products arise, retail managers organise special promotions, displays and events aimed at marketing the product and selling it to customers.

5. Fashion journalist

National average salary: £25,923 per year

Primary duties: Fashion journalists work for a fashion website, advertising company, TV channel or publisher to display or discuss current fashion trends or stories. They conduct extensive research into the fashion industry to discover newsworthy topics and report on them. Some of their day-to-day responsibilities include attending fashion events and press days, publicising the company through social media, writing fashion content and arranging interviews and meetings with story insiders. Because of the fast-paced nature of the fashion industry, fashion journalists regularly research design trends to ensure they report up-to-date information.

6. Fashion merchandiser

National average salary: £27,169 per year

Primary duties: Fashion merchandisers display clothing and accessories in stores in a way that makes them appeal to customers. This requires them to work closely with buyers and designers to determine what merchandise to stock by assessing customer buying behaviours. Fashion merchandisers complement their displays with marketing strategies targeted at promoting the products. Other general responsibilities include preparing sales forecasts, profit/loss forecasts and budgets, liaising with manufacturers to understand production cycles, setting sales targets and managing stock levels. Fashion merchandisers also analyse price points to select the best price for clothing items based on their style, colour and material.

7. Textile designer

National average salary: £27,645 per year

Primary duties: A textile designer creates two-dimensional designs used for the production of textile products. Textile designers usually specialise in interiors where they design carpets, soft furnishings and upholstery or in certain fabrics. Some fabrics they specialise in include knit, weave and printed fabrics. A textile designer liaises with clients to determine their requirements before presenting them with sketches, designs and samples. They then work with technical and marketing staff to develop approved designs. General responsibilities of the role include approving production standards, using computer-aided design (CAD) programmes to create designs and sourcing materials from trade fairs and markets.

Related: 9 interior design careers (with salaries and duties)

8. Fashion designer

National average salary: £28,985 per year

Primary duties: Fashion designers create various clothing items, shoes and accessories. They create products that match current trends by using stylish fabrics, concepts, textures and patterns. Some responsibilities of fashion designers include designing sketches for new products, maintaining relationships with suppliers and vendors, carrying out fittings and determining prices. Fashion designers may work independently or as part of an apparel company. The job sometimes requires them to travel to trade shows to obtain the materials and fabrics they require for their designs. Fashion designers collaborate with design teams and other designers and report to the creative directors of the company.

Related: How to write a fashion designer cover letter (with two examples)

9. Fashion marketer

National average salary: £28,999 per year

Primary duties: A fashion marketer develops advertising campaigns and promotional events for clothing and accessories. These campaigns target a specific demographic that the designer or business wants its clothing brand to resonate with. They advertise products and clothing through newspapers, social media platforms, magazines and television. They aim to help clothing brands communicate with consumers and increase sales. Other primary duties of fashion marketers involve developing a brand's image, scheduling photoshoots for new clothing collections, analysing market reports and maintaining a marketing budget. These professionals usually work on behalf of fashion brands or within retail stores.

10. Garment technologist

National average salary: £31,769 per year

Primary duties: Garment technologists manage and oversee every stage of clothing production, from sketch to manufacture. They help companies choose the correct fabric and ensure production remains on schedule and budget. Garment technologists collaborate with pattern cutters, designers, production teams and buyers regularly. They check and approve sample garments, identify and correct faults and maintain good relationships with suppliers. Garment technologists usually work in an office environment, yet regularly visit design studios and factories to oversee the manufacturing process. Other duties involve administering fabric testing, overseeing first sample fittings and generating quality control reports.

Related: Guide to how to get an interior design apprenticeship

11. Public relations officer

National average salary: £35,277 per year

Primary duties: Public relations officers build, manage and maintain the reputation of their clients through planned publicity campaigns and appearances. They're responsible for planning and implementing PR strategies, writing and distributing press releases, monitoring the media for opportunities for clients and analysing media coverage.

When a crisis arises, a public relations officer may manage the client's public image by having them speak at community initiatives. They may also devise photoshoot opportunities and organise promotional events, such as press conferences or open days. Public relations officers are also responsible for updating the client's social media pages, commissioning market research and attending meetings on behalf of clients.

Related: A guide to courses in fashion designing (plus requirements)

12. Jewellery designer

National average salary: £36,183 per year

Primary duties: Jewellery designers use gold, silver, precious stones and other materials to design and create jewellery pieces. This includes necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Jewellery designers either work independently to create bespoke jewellery pieces commissioned by a client or as part of a retail brand to produce jewellery for mass production. They're knowledgeable on all jewellery manufacturing techniques, including mounting, model making, stamping, chasing and polishing. Some general responsibilities of jewellery designers include using CAD to create sketches, liaising with clients to understand their design requirements and determining the value of jewellery pieces.

Related: How To Become A Jeweller: a Complete Guide

Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.


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