Money Mayhem: Everyone at Fashion Week Makes Bank Except for Models

LearnVest always seeks to educate and inform, but every once in a while, a financial matter hits the headlines and makes us go, “Huh.” Sometimes it even provides us a lens to learn about ourselves. In that spirit, from bad money decisions to financial lessons worth millions, consider our Money Mayhem your source of financial edu-tainment.

You’ve probably been seeing New York Fashion Week coverage popping up on every blog, usually accompanied by a picture of a serious-faced model strutting her stuff down the runway. These models are at the center of the commotion, and their visages will show up in magazines and websites around the world in the next few weeks.

You would think the stars of the show would get paid the most, but interestingly enough, it’s all the people around the models that are making more. has an interesting infographic that compares the yearly compensation of the people involved in NYFW, from the makeup artists to the editors to the security guards. And everyone is making more than a typical model’s $27,200 salary.

At first glance, this might seem to be an issue of too many models and not enough demand, or maybe even outright exploitation of a vulnerable and young population. But is that really the case?

Look closer, and you’ll see that a typical model works 14 hours a week. If she gets two weeks of vacation a year, that means she works only 700 hours a year, which comes out to $39 an hour. Compare that to an editor who works ten-hour days for $67,500 (which comes out to $27 an hour) and you’ve got a pretty plum job walking the runways.

Also, models often get paid in clothing, which is called being “paid in trade.” So that takes care of one expense quite nicely. Still, even if you are making a lot for the number of hours you work, $27,200 in a year won’t get you far in New York City. (And it’s pitiful compared to what these complainers make.)

See the entire infographic on