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Jacksonville Fashion Careers: Employment & Salary Trends, Career Options, & Training Programs for Fashion Designers and Merchandisers

Written by FS StaffOctober 14, 2011

The Jacksonville Fashion Scene

Jacksonville is well on its way to becoming a major contender in the fashion industry. Jacksonville Fashion Week (JFW) is a huge part of the plan to establish Jacksonville as a major presence in the fashion world. It features creations by emerging local and established designers, as well as model competitions. Apparel, accessories, and footwear designers present to an audience of retail buyers, boutique owners, and consumers from all over. This event is an excellent place for aspiring designers to show the world that they have to offer.

JFW isn’t the only thing Jacksonville has to offer the fashion world and aspiring designers.

Jacksonville is home to a number of shopping venues where locals and visitors can shop for fashions ranging from bohemian to classic to chic. Head over to the Five Points shopping district where independent retailers outnumber retail chains. For chain lovers, Avenues Mall is home to more than 150 shops including Dillard’s and JCPenny, and Regency Square mall has much of the same along with a Gap, American Eagle Outfitters and Claire’s.

While Jacksonville’s retail industry offers plenty of employment opportunities for fashion designers and fashion merchandisers, it also offers access to several schools that have fashion training programs. Keiser University and the Art Institute of Jacksonville are two popular options.

Jacksonville Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising Schools and Programs

The state of Florida is home to 207 colleges and universities—more than double the national average of 88. The schools here are a mix of traditional universities, technical schools, and art and design schools. In Jacksonville, Keiser University and the The Art Institute of Jacksonville are the most popular options. Keiser University offers an Associate of Science in Fashion Design & Merchandising. The Art Institute of Jacksonville offers a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion & Retail Management, and a diploma in Fashion Retailing.

Jacksonville Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising Employers

Jacksonville fashion designers are a versatile bunch. They work in apparel design, technical design, technical production, pattern making, administration sales, and retail. Fashion merchandisers also work in retail, mostly, as well as promotions, buying, and visual merchandising. Employment opportunities can be found in department stores, retail shops, textile manufacturing facilities, production studios, design studios, and corporate offices across the city and in the surrounding areas.

Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising Careers at a Glance

As of July 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics had not reported employment or salary figures for Jacksonville fashion designers. However, the state of Florida is home to 310 salaried fashion designers. Based on the number of retail venues, fashion events, and production facilities here, it’s safe to assume that some of these designers live and work in Jacksonville. Employment of fashion designers across the nation is expected to grow by 1 percent between 2008 and 2018. Florida fashion designers average around $62,290 per year. Nationwide, fashion designers average around $61,160. The lowest paid fashion designers average $32,150, and the highest paid salaried designers average $124,780 per year.

Figures for fashion merchandisers have not been reported either, but a significant part of the job involves creating window displays and managing the overall look and feel of stores. Nearly 2,500 merchandise displayers work in the state of Florida. More than 100 live in Jacksonville.

For more information about the fashion design and fashion merchandising industry, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics at