Income Disparity in the Fashion Industry

LOS ANGELES—Los Angeles employs a quarter of all fashion designers nationally and is the number one apparel manufacturing hub in the country, employing over twice as many apparel manufacturers as New York City. This makes income disparities between the highest wage earners and the lowest wage earners in the industry of particular importance to the region.

The national median designer salary is $74,000 a year, forty percent higher than the average American’s salary. In comparison, the average apparel manufacturer makes substantially less than the average American at $34,000 a year. To put this in context, the average designer makes 2.7 times that of the average apparel manufacturer. This disparity is emphasized since there are eight and a half times as many apparel manufacturers than there are designers.

LA fares a bit better in the disparity with an average per hour salary of apparel manufacturers of $15.00 compared to the national average of $11 per hour. The average salary for designers in LA remains the same.

“My issue with income gaps in the fashion industry is not with the [wage] gap between designers and manufacturers. My issue is with the markup prices taken at different stages of the design and manufacturing process that lead for some to make exponentially more than others,” states Executive producer of Fashion Week Los Angeles, Christina Iannuzzi. “Fashion can be Marxist at times devaluing the lowest wage earners to the point of putting them in poverty. That I take issue with.”


About FWLA:

The non-profit Fashion Week Los Angeles is an invitation-only trade event for buyers and press that takes place during Los Angeles Fashion Week wherein influential bloggers, trend-setting retailers, and celebrities connect directly with leading fashion designers and apparel brands.



Please contact Director of Communications, Jeremy Bamidele, at to set up an appointment to speak with FWLA Executive Producers, Gio Ferrigno and Christina Iannuzzi, about the changing fashion landscapes.