The High School of Fashion Industries
Hands-on training for fashion-related careers
Larger-than-average class sizes, slow elevators in ten-floor building
The High School for Fashion Industries prepares students from all over New York for fashion careers ranging from business to design. It's a great fit for hands-on learners who want opportunities that extend beyond the classroom.
Founded in 1926, Fashion Industries is older and larger than many other CTE (Career and Technical Education) schools. Principal Daryl Blank, who has led the school since 2010, says the school is a perfect sizenot so big that students get lost, but not too small to offer a range of electives and activities to keep them engaged.
Students we talked to on our visit said they have great relationships with their teachers, and enjoy internships, the fashion show and networking opportunities. The ratio of girls to boys at the school is 10 to one. Girls say they like this because it's less of a distraction from their studies. There is a boys club to support the males at the school.
For the CTE diploma, students major in fashion design, graphic design and illustration, marketing or visual merchandising. An advisory board of fashion industry representatives is tasked with ensuring these majors align with industry standards. Classes in these majors include digital patternmaking, foundations of art, photography, business law, entrepreneurship and window design. Students start with one CTE class each semester in freshman year, and increase to three per semester for junior and senior year.
Most academic classes we saw had a traditional feelwith teachers leading classes from the front of the room. In recent years Fashion Industries has expanded academic offerings, and students now take four years of math and science, with the option to take AP (Advanced Placement) calculus and biology. ELA (English language arts) follows the EngageNY Common Core curriculum. This curriculum focuses on short and nonfiction texts, but teachers at Fashion Industries try to supplement with novels and full texts. For example, juniors read "Macbeth" and seniors read Alice Walker's The Color Purple.
The school has consistently graduated more than 90 percent of students, but this number hasn't always translated into success in college. To address this, Fashion students now take a year-long college access class starting in junior year. Trained peer mentors and a college counselor are available to assist with applications. Alumni are hired to work with students between graduation and starting college. "I've learned that you can't rely on students getting preparation for college done at home," said Principal Blank.
Another initiative designed to boost academic achievement is the VTOD ("Vocabulary Term of the Day"). Blank uses the VTOD ("reciprocal" on the day of our visit) as he greets students every morning, and reads its formal definition during morning announcements. Students affectionately call Blank the "VTOD Master" and created a graphic with it written on his forehead. "It gives me a lot of street cred I think," he said.
Around one-third of Fashion Industries' students continue a fashion major at schools such as Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons and SCAD in Georgia. The rest go to CUNY and SUNY schools.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: For students with IEPs (individualized education programs), Fashion Industries offers ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes and SETSS (special education teacher support services). Special education teachers work closely with each academic department to ensure that their knowledge of a subject is strong.
ADMISSIONS: Students must submit a portfolio and take an entrance exam. Each year Fashion Industries admits approximately 300 students into the fashion major, and 100 into both the graphic design and business programs. For questions, contact Assistant Principal Danielle Silva. (Ella Colley, October 2015)
About the students
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Programs and Admissions
Art and design related fields including: Beginner & Advanced Illustration, Painting, and Design, Beginner & Advanced Computer Graphics, Photography, and Portfolio Development.
Fashion Design, Garment Construction, and design related fields including: Beginner & Advanced Fashion Illustration, Beginner & Advanced Garment Construction, Draping, Pattern Making, and Portfolio Development.
Introduction to Business Marketing, Introduction to Visual Merchandising, Beginner & Advanced Computer Applications, Business Law, Business Marketing Tools, Techniques, & Lab, Window Display and Exhibition Design, Fashion Buying & Marketing, and Entrepreneurship.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Computer Science, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Spanish, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP U.S. History
Boys PSAL teams
Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Volleyball
Girls PSAL teams
Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball, Wrestling
Coed PSAL teams
Manhattan NY 10011