The Problem

High school is a make-or-break time when many students do not reach their full potential due to the lack of guided learning experiences that are tailored to their personal interests. Personalized learning requires working in collaborative teams, goal setting, and mentorship.

This is especially a problem for at-risk youth who are dropping out of high-school at an alarming rate. 

20% of public high school students fail to graduate and do not enroll in college.

Dropping out of school impacts students' self esteem and psychological well-being, faced with the reality that they lack skills and knowledge to fulfill their desires. 45% of dropout students face unemployment and are 3.5X more likely to be incarcerated.

The Solution

Fashion 101 empowers underserved youth through a personalized learning experience. With support from mentors and MFO staff, students are immersed in fashion education that opens pathways to college fashion programs, provides a clear direction for students’ futures, and welcomes them into a community that will support them long after high school graduation.

Through a fashion-based, hands-on curriculum, students learn how to:

  • Set a clear direction for their futures 
  • Explore careers in arts, such as fashion design, trend forecasting, and styling
  • Construct an original garment
  • Connect with college fashion programs 
  • Network with others who can provide insight and connections into college and careers 

Fashion 101 Curriculum

Fashion 101 was developed by high school teacher Alissa Sobel and Dominican University’s Professor of Apparel of 17 years, Tracy Jennings. The 30 week course covers the following topics: 

  • The fashion industry
  • Design
  • Illustration
  • Clothing construction
  • Repurposing an original garment
  • Ready for college


Students meet with mentors to discuss goals and to provide guidance. With help from mentors, by the end of the program, students have created an artist portfolio to accompany their college applications and a short list of colleges and scholarships that fit their goals. 

Mentors include fashion industry insiders from Brideside and Argaman&Defiance


The Students

Fashion 101 is launching at Evanston Townships High School during the 2016/2017 school year. Up to 20 students will meet Monday's after-school with with our dedicated instructor.  

Check out what they'll be learning everyday.

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