The High School of Fashion Industries

Phone: (212) 255-1235
Website: Click here
Admissions: portfolio/entrance exam
Wheelchair accessible
specialized arts
Principal: Daryl Blank
Neighborhood: Chelsea/ Greenwich Village
District: 2
Grade range: 09 thru 12

What's special:

In-depth training to prepare students for fashion careers

The downside:

More than half of graduates still need remedial help in college

The InsideStats


Our review

Most mornings, Principal Daryl Blank says hello to students outside of the High School of Fashion Industries, dropping the vocabulary word of the day (“valiant” on the day we visited). Once inside, the students scan their ID cards: if students are late, their parents automatically receive an email or text message notification.

Located in the heart of Manhattan's garment district, Fashion Industries offers three majors: fashion design, fashion marketing, or graphics and illustration. Students in the marketing program may earn a CTE certificate in visual merchandising. All students may take advantage of the school's fashion industry connections -- the school has a long list of partners, including Macy's and Kleinfeld Bridal. Students collaborated with accessory company Allegre to design handbags for sale at Macy's and junior year art majors were designing perfume bottles for the Fragrance Foundation in a business of art class. The fashion design students' work culminates in a fashion show for industry insiders in the spring of their senior year. Fashion touches all subjects at the school, even gym, where students learn to walk the runway as part of their conditioning class.

Blank became principal in 2010 after more than a decade as a history teacher and assistant principal at school. The transition to new leadership after the retirement of the old principal has been smooth; the staff is stable. The building is clean, if rather worn and dimly lit. When we visited, students seemed enthusiastic in their art classes, and most students were alert and participating in their academic classes. We particularly enjoyed a senior U.S. history class discussing the Montgomery bus boycott and the civil rights movement. The school offers AP biology, English and history and also has an honors program.

The school has a solid graduation rate -- nine in 10 students graduate within four years. One downside: many graduates still need remedial help once they get to college. But, the school is making an effort to better prepare students for college and has added more advanced classes in recent years, including calculus and chemistry. High-achieving students also have the opportunity to enroll in college courses at local universities like Hunter and Baruch and select juniors and seniors may participate in the Fashion Institute of Technology's Tech Prep program. A full-time staffer works in the high school's college and career center and more than 80 percent of students enroll in college after high school. 

Only one in 10 students at Fashion Industries is male, with most boys in the graphic design and illustration program. Emmanuel, a junior, told us there's "lots of pressure being a boy, lots of attention from girls. But school is not too hard as long as you pay attention in class." Catiana, a freshman, said the lack of boys made it easier for her focus on schoolwork.

Special Education: The school has a robust office dedicated to instructional support. There is a full time psychologist, social worker, speech teacher and hearing teacher. The school offers Collaborative Team Teaching for three years. District 75 students are integrated into classes at Fashion Industries. More than 40 students are English Language Learners.

Admissions: Students take an entrance exam and submit a portfolio for review. Fashion Industries looks for students with at least a B-average and good attendance records. On average, 450 of the 1000 students who sit for the exam are offered admission. (Anna Schneider, visited October 2010 and updated with new information April 2013)

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