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

Written by FS StaffOctober 14, 2011
San Antonio

The San Antonio Fashion Scene

In the state of Texas, three cities rule the fashion scene—Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. San Antonio residents are all too happy to sport the looks that come their way from New York and LA, but with an added twist. Chunky jewelry is popular here, as well as designer bags, shoes, and clothes. Sure, you’ll come across an occasional cowboy hat and boots ensemble here, but this is not the norm for San Antonio’s fashionable set. 

San Antonio has a number of shopping districts that sell regional fashions and fashions from around the world. For upscale fashions, head to the Shops at La Cantera to shop at Neiman Marcus, Burberry, Tiffany, and Betsey Johnson. Stroll around five blocks from the Alamo to Rivercenter Mall to find affordable fashions at department stores such as Macy’s and retailers such as Express and American Eagle Outfitters.

Other popular shopping venues are North Star Mall (200+ retailers, 5 department stores), Tanger Outlets (200+ stores), The Collection at Broadway and Sunset (local designer boutiques), Rolling Oaks Mall (100 retailers, 3 department stores), and Ingram Mall (150 retailers, 5 department stores). The list doesn’t stop here, so aspiring fashion merchandisers have plenty of opportunities to work in retail, and fashion designers may even have the opportunity to sell their own creations to a number of welcoming retail shops. 

San Antonio is also home to several schools that offer fashion training programs and the opportunity to gain hands-on experience locally. The International Academy of Design & Technology and the Art Institute of San Antonio are popular options.

San Antonio Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising Schools and Programs

Did You Know.... Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion offers BFA's in Fashion, Fashion Merchandising, Textile Design, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Styling, Costume Design, and Fashion Product Development. Learn more.

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The state of Texas is home to 240 colleges and universities. This is nearly three times the national average of 88. Some Texas schools cater to art and design students only, while others are traditional colleges or technical schools that offer art and design programs. Some of the best fashion programs in San Antonio are offered at the:

The University of the Incarnate World’s Fashion Management Department offers concentrations in fashion design and fashion merchandising. Both programs have a fashion management core, which includes instruction in marketing, accounting, analysis, promotions, and economics.

The International Academy of Design & Technology (IADT) offers degrees in fashion design & merchandising and fashion merchandising. The Art Institute of San Antonio offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design, a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Marketing & Management and a diploma in fashion retailing.

If you don't mind commuting, Texas State University (TSU) in San Marcos has an excellent fashion merchandising program. TSU is around 50 miles north of San Antonio.

San Antonio Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising Employers

San Antonio has an active textile and retail industry. This means, aspiring San Antonio fashion designers can find work in technical production, textile design for product development, apparel design, pattern making, sample making, grading, handweaving, and embroidery design as well as retail and administration sales. Many fashion designers also teach, so San Antonio’s academic institutions and design centers are excellent sources of jobs for aspiring instructors.

Fashion merchandisers can find work at any of the thousands of shops, design studios, department stores, and popular retailers across the city. They can find work in product development, production, marketing, sales, visual merchandising, and more. San Antonio is a very large city, so leave no stone unturned. Search everywhere from downtown San Antonio to the outskirts of town.

Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising Careers at a Glance

The state of Texas is home to nearly 300 fashion designers. As of July 2011, figures for San Antonio fashion designers had not been reported, but based on the number of retail venues, fashion events, and production facilities here, it’s safe to assume that San Antonio is home to a sizable population of salaried and self-employed fashion designers. Employment of fashion designers across the nation is expected to grow by 1 percent between 2008 and 2018. 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.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report employment or salary figures for fashion merchandisers. However, a significant part of the job involves creating window displays and managing the overall look and feel of stores. There are 7,370 merchandise displayers in the state of Texas. More than 700 live in San Antonio.

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