Maryland is home to 100 salaried fashion designers and many more that are self-employed. Maryland is also home to multiple Fashion Week events that take place in Baltimore, Silver Spring, and Bowie. These events attract designers from Miami, Paris, New York City, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC to name a few.
Fashion Week is only one reason aspiring fashion designers and fashion merchandisers choose Maryland. The state is also home to dozens of mega malls, each with more than 100+ retail stores and shops. This offers plenty of job opportunities for designers and merchandisers interested in working exclusively in retail.
Malls, boutiques, department stores, and independent shops can be found in principle cities such as Baltimore, Columbia, Germantown, Silver Spring, Waldorf, and Glen Burnie. But don’t be fooled by the state’s laid-back smaller cities. Hanover has a population of less than 40,000 and it is currently home to one of the largest (and newest) malls in the state. It features more than 200 stores from Ann Taylor to Saks Fifth Avenue to Zales.
If you decide that Maryland is the best place to launch your fashion design or fashion merchandising career, all you need is talent and the right education. Fortunately, Maryland has the education part covered. The state is home to a number of schools that cover the technical and creative aspects of fashion design. The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore and Stevenson University in Stevenson are among the best.
Career Opportunities & Employers in Maryland:
Maryland fashion designers work for other designers, they may work for apparel manufacturers, or apparel, piece goods, and notions merchant wholesalers, or they may work independently. Fashion merchandisers work in product development, production, marketing, and sales. Many also work in visual merchandising for retail stores or fashion houses. Fashion design and merchandising graduates can find work across the state from Towson to Bethesda.
Maryland Fashion Schools & Programs:
A degree from an accredited college isn’t always necessary to break into the fashion industry, but most employers prefer a degree from an accredited program. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits approximately 300 postsecondary institutions with programs in art and design. Some are located in the state of Maryland and most award degrees in fashion design and fashion merchandising.
As stated earlier, aspiring fashion designers and fashion merchandisers living in Maryland may study at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) or Stevenson University in Stevenson. They may also study at Harford Community College in Bel Air or Baltimore City Community College, Baltimore.
To get started on a career in fashion design or fashion merchandising, enroll in a fashion design or fashion merchandising degree program. Some schools may offer an apparel design degree, an apparel design and development degree, or fashion and textile management degree. Please review all degrees and requirements to make sure you have chosen the right program for your career goals.
If you are interested starting your own business, consider combining your fashion design or fashion merchandising degree with a business or marketing degree.
Most universities offer marketing and business degrees, while most art and design schools do not. You may choose to take business courses at another school while completing your fashion program or you can wait until you have completed your degree to enroll in a full-time business or marketing degree program.
For more information about the fashion design and fashion merchandising industries, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics at Bls.gov.
Employment and Salary Trends for Maryland:
Maryland fashion designers work in textile design, technical production, apparel design, pattern making, and administration sales in the textile industry. In 2006, they earned an average of $59,570. As of July 2011, current salary figures had not been reported. Employment and salary figures for fashion merchandisers had not been reported either, but a significant part of the job involves working with window and store displays. As of 2009, there were 910 merchandise displayers living in Maryland, up from 790 in 2006.
Overall, employment in the fashion industry is expected to grow by one percent for the 2008-2018 decade. Sewing and cutting jobs may decline as more and more designers and brands choose manufacturing companies overseas. However, employment of fashion designers is stable because many firms prefer to keep design work in house.
As of May 2008, the mean annual wage for fashion designers nationwide was $61,160. The lowest paid fashion designers earned an average annual salary of $32,150 and the highest paid fashion designers earned $124,780 per year. Because many fashion designers are self-employed, salaries may vary greatly. A top fashion designer may earn millions per year, while others may earn much less than the national average.
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