How Much Do Fashion Designers Make In California In 2023: An Easy Explanation

As one of the global hotspots for fashion, California offers endless opportunities for fashion designers — from the glitz and glam of Hollywood to the trendy streets of Los Angeles. But how much do fashion designers make in California? 

In this post, I’ll delve into the financial details of working as a fashion designer in California in 2023, offering an easy-to-understand earnings breakdown. Whether you’re an aspiring designer or simply curious about the fashion industry, this article offers valuable insights into California’s financial landscape of fashion design.

how much do fashion designers make in california

Is Fashion Design a Good Career in California?

Fashion design is an exhilarating and dynamic field that involves creatively designing clothing, accessories, and footwear. The fashion industry is a significant and growing worldwide sector that generates billions of dollars in revenue annually. Hence, many aspiring fashion designers wonder if it is a good career in California.

To put things into perspective, the fashion industry is vital to California’s economy. The state is home to several prominent fashion houses, including those in Los Angeles and San Francisco. In addition to its vibrant fashion industry, California is renowned for its world-class museums and exhibitions showcasing the latest trends and designs.

Moreover, California boasts a strong and diverse fashion job market, providing various employment opportunities for aspiring designers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of fashion designers in California is expected to grow by approximately 2.8% over the next ten years. Additionally, California offers some of the highest fashion designer salary rates in the United States, averaging around $85,240 annually.

Another factor that contributes to California’s viability as a fashion design career destination is its exceptional education system. Many reputable fashion design schools, including the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise and the Academy of Art University, are situated in California. These schools offer world-class programs in fashion design, providing students with the necessary skills, knowledge, and expertise required to succeed in the fashion industry.

Furthermore, California’s fashion industry also encompasses an array of sustainable and ethical practices aimed at reducing environmental impact and promoting social responsibility. Designers are encouraged to create collections using eco-friendly fabrics, such as organic cotton and recycled materials while promoting fair labor practices.

How Much Do Fashion Designers Make in California in 2023?

Fashion design is a rewarding and creative profession, and like any other job. California is one of the most popular states in the US for fashion design in 2023, with several high-end boutiques and fashion brands located in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. So, What is the average salary for a Fashion Designer in California, and how much do fashion designers make there?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary of fashion designers in California is $85,240, which is 5.3% higher than the national average. However, the salary range of fashion designers in California is quite broad and varies depending on factors like experience, education, and location. Entry-level fashion designers in California can expect to earn a yearly salary of around $50,000, while seasoned professionals with years of experience in the industry can earn upwards of $146,000 or more.

The location of a fashion designer in California also significantly affects their salary. For instance, fashion designers working in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, where the cost of living is higher, can expect to earn a higher salary than those in smaller towns or rural areas. The fashion industry in California is competitive, and designers are expected to possess the skills and creativity necessary to develop an innovative brand, product line, or fashion collection.

Apart from salary, fashion designers in California may also receive additional benefits like health insurance, bonuses, paid vacation, and other perks depending on their employer. Some designers may also work as independent consultants, freelancers, or entrepreneurs. In these cases, their earning potential can be much higher, but it also requires handling self-employment taxes, marketing yourself, etc. 

Check out the video content below to learn more about a fashion designer earnings.

Earning Sources of Fashion Designers in California

Fashion design is one of the world’s most lucrative and creative professions, which requires exceptional talent and hard work. California is home to some of the most successful and renowned fashion designers who have made a name for themselves nationally and internationally. From glamorous runway shows to haute couture, there are several earning sources that fashion designers in California can tap into. Here are some of the primary earning sources for fashion designers in California.

Fashion Designing Etiquette

Aspiring fashion designers can study fashion design etiquette and take an in-depth course online to polish their craft. This option is usually recommended for early-career designers, but it can still become a primary source of income. Also, most well-established fashion designers often conduct fashion design classes on the side to educate and inspire aspiring designers. These classes can range from one day to several weeks.

Fashion Line Sales

Designers need to focus on how to sell their designed products, and one strategy for selling products is building their line. In California, designers can create a collection of designer clothing, bags, jewelry, and other fashion items in line with their brand. Then, showcasing them in boutiques, department stores, or pop-up stores. Conducting a fashion show to show their clothes to potential buyers could be a smart marketing stunt if the budget allows it.

Custom-Made Designs

Another trick to increase earnings is personalizing fashion designs for clients tailored to their tastes to boost their wardrobe. Whether creating a bridal outfit tailored for a client’s everyday wear or party dress, designers can earn impressive income from custom-made designs.

Endorsement Deals

California is also home to top celebrities and successful business people, creating a hub for advertisement revenues and rockstar-level incomes. It makes designers frequent recipients of endorsement deals from celebrities and other high-profile individuals. The designers receive financial compensation in exchange for credible brand affiliation and wearing clothes designed by those designers.

Fashion Publication Sales

Designers can earn extra income by publishing articles in reputable fashion publications such as Vogue, Harpers & Bazaar, and Elle. This can be an incredibly profitable way to increase exposure to the designer’s brand, attract new customers, and elevate their profile as successful designers.

Freelance Earning

Freelancing is also an option for fashion designers in California. They can offer their services, including designing collections or creating custom-made pieces, to interested clients. This could be done on a one-time or long-term basis, depending on the agreement between the designer and the customer. Several freelance websites allow freelancers to post their services and receive proposals from potential customers. Designers in California can take advantage of these platforms to increase their income. 

For example, platforms like Freelancer, Fiverr, and Upwork are great for designers in California to showcase their work and get paid for it. They can also build a portfolio of satisfied customers, making them more attractive to prospective clients. The pay rate for freelance projects depends on the complexity of the task and how long it takes to complete. Generally speaking, more experienced designers tend to charge higher rates. 

What Are the Benefits of Being a Fashion Designer in California

California is one of the epicenters of fashion in the world, making it a dream destination for aspiring fashion designers. It is a place where fashion enthusiasts come together to create, inspire, and innovate, making it the ideal location for those who are passionate about fashion design. The benefits of being a fashion designer in California are numerous and range from access to the latest fashion trends, opportunities to work with leading brands, and access to some of the world’s premier fashion events.

One of the primary benefits of being a fashion designer in California is access to the latest fashion trends. California is home to some of the most well-known fashion brands in the world, attracting fashion enthusiasts from all corners. Fashion designers in California have access to these brands and can stay up-to-date with the newest trends in fashion. The state’s diverse population also allows fashion designers to showcase their designs to a wider audience and explore new styles and concepts.

Another benefit of being a fashion designer in California is the opportunity to work with some of the world’s leading brands in the industry. Some of the biggest names in fashion have their headquarters in California, allowing fashion designers to collaborate and innovate with established brands. This can also lead to increased exposure, resulting in greater recognition and more opportunities in the industry.

California is also home to some of the most prestigious fashion events in the world, such as LA Fashion Week and the San Francisco Fashion Week. Participating in these events allows fashion designers to showcase their designs to industry experts, media, and potential clients. This exposure can lead to collaborations with top fashion professionals and potential clients and increased opportunities for marketing and brand recognition.

Aside from these benefits, California is known for its vibrant and creative fashion scene, inspiring designers and promoting innovation. The state’s commitment to sustainability and ethical fashion practices also allows fashion designers to incorporate eco-friendly materials and production methods into their designs.


Fashion designers in California can anticipate earning an average yearly salary of approximately $85,240. However, this wage range can vary based on experience and location. Entry-level designers may receive lower salaries, while seasoned professionals have the potential to earn significantly higher incomes. 

Moreover, depending on their employer, fashion designers may enjoy supplementary benefits, including health insurance, bonuses, paid vacation time, and other perks. Ultimately, possessing the necessary skills and creativity to craft an innovative brand or product line promises a competitive salary for fashion designers in California.

Tamim Shikder
Tamim Shikder

Head of the editorial team of I have been working as a merchandiser in the apparel-sourcing industry for the last seven years. Over the years, I have gained a strong understanding of the clothing business and have developed skills in product development, quality control, pricing negotiation and customer service. I am also well versed in the latest trends of fashion and retail industry. For any clothing manufacturing needs, please email me at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *