Besides easy access to New York City, New Jersey has a lot to offer aspiring fashion designers. First, the Garden State is home to several popular Fashion week events including New Jersey Fashion Week, Atlantic City Fashion Week, and Newark Fashion Week. The state’s biggest fashion week (New Jersey Fashion Week) attracts big name fashion designers from around the world, emerging local designers, and other members of the fashion industry from across the country.
Next, the state has more malls per square mile than most other states, and according to The New Jersey Retail Merchants Association (NJRMA), retail is the 2nd largest employment sector in New Jersey. Although shopping venues are plentiful in large cities such as Newark and Jersey City, several smaller cities and towns offer excellent shopping excursions for the adventurous.
Some of the biggest areas for fashion and retail therapy are Nassau Street in Princeton, East Ridgewood Avenue in Ridgewood, and Upper Montclair in Montclair. Finally, New Jersey is home to a number of worthy fashion schools that offer everything from Fashion Design and Product Design to Fashion Marketing & Management/International Business.
If New Jersey sounds like a great place to launch your fashion career, continue reading to learn more about the state’s best fashion programs and where to find then.
New Jersey Fashion Schools
Scroll through the list below to review New Jersey’s best options for aspiring fashion designers and what they have to offer.
Centenary College - Degrees Offered: B.F.A. Fashion Design, B.F.A. Design and Merchandising
Brookdale Community College - Degrees Offered: A.A.S. Fashion Merchandising A.A.S. Interior Design
Burlington County College - Degrees Offered: A.A.S. Fashion Design, A.S. Fashion Product Merchandising, A.A. Fashion Studies, Specification Technology for Fashion Design Certificate, Technical Fashion Design Certificate
Montclair State University – Degrees Offered: B.A. Fashion Studies, Fashion Design Minor, Fashion Merchandising Minor
Berkeley College - Degrees Offered: A.A.S. Fashion Marketing and Management, B.B.A. Fashion Marketing and Management, B.B.A./B.S. Fashion Marketing and Management with Minor in International Business, B.S. Fashion Marketing and Management, B.F.A. Interior Design, A.A.S. Interior Design, B.S. Interior Design Management
More Programs to Consider:
Employment and Salary Trends for New Jersey Fashion Designers
According to the latest report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (April 2013), New Jersey is home to 380 salaried fashion designers averaging around $61,160 per year. The population of salaried designers has declined over the years, but not dramatically.
In 2006, the state was home to 470 salaried fashion designers averaging $67,860 per year. By 2008, the population decreased to 420 designers averaging $65,640 per year.
Still, the state has the nation’s fifth largest population of salaried fashion designers. New Jersey shares the spotlight with New York (#1), California (#2), Texas (#3), and Ohio (#4). In addition, New Jersey has the fourth highest concentration of jobs and location quotients for fashion designers and like many other populous states, New Jersey is home to a sizable population of independent designers.
Independent designers work as contractors for other designers, studios, and brands; they might have their own design studios, or they may own a boutique or other retail store. Some independent designers earn much more than the national average, while others may earn the same or less. Some of the top independent designers in the world earn millions.
Many aspiring fashion designers often work in other related careers while developing their own line, searching for that perfect design job, or just to get their foot in the door. Aspiring fashion merchandisers may do the same. A promising place to start is in the merchandise display industry. The U.S. is home to 73,490 salaried merchandise displayers, up from 62,580 in 2006. They earn an average mean annual salary of $28,860, up from $26,550 in 2006. The highest paid merchandise displayers earn an average salary of $43,940 yearly and the lowest paid displayers average $17,940 per year.
The Bureau projects a 10.4 percent increase in employment for fashion designers nationwide for the 2010-2020 decade. Average salaries are on the rise as well. In 2006, the annual mean wage for fashion designers nationwide was $69,270. A news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics dated March 29, 2013 states that the average mean wage for fashion designers today is $72,620 per year.
Some of the most lucrative opportunities can be found in New Jersey’s principal cities. Aspiring fashion designers should consider Newark—the state’s largest city, followed by Jersey City (second largest), Paterson, Elizabeth, Edison, Trenton, and Camden. Atlantic City is well worth looking into as well as Princeton, Ridgewood, and Upper Montclair. And, of course, many New Jersey based designers spend a lot of time working right next door in New York City—the nation’s fashion capital.