Celebrating 50 Years of PRIDE

Every June, millions of Americans celebrate the culture, struggles, and victories of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community during Pride month. These celebrations often culminate in a Pride parade. This year marks 50 years since the Christopher Street Liberation Day March on June 28, 1970

Christopher street is located in Chelsea, High School of Fashion Industries happens to be nestled in the heart of Chelsea and has been ‘the’ safe haven for LGBTQ youth for as long as we can remember apart from Harvey Milk High School located in the Village.

To celebrate 5 decades of PRIDE, we want to award a Fashion Design Major student with a sewing machine!…

Did you think we would just show love to students on their way OUT?!
no pun intended!

Celebrate PRIDE’s 50th Anniversary by sharing ‘What PRIDE means to you‘ in a short video posted on your IG and tag @lesdowntown & @powerofoneforall & @liveoutloud_info & @fashionhighnyc

Include hashtags

Fill out the application and submit the required documentation to qualify for the award




What you need to win a Sewing Machine

Sewing Machine Award Application

Please review the checklist of items you will need before you Apply
ALL images MUST be CLEAR and legible in order to be considered acceptable

  • IMAGE – A snapshot of your current report card
  • IMAGE or PDF DOCUMENT – Acceptance Letter/Email from school where you will continue your journey in Fashion
  •  VIDEO – Short Video where you declare HOW IMPORTANT A SEWING MACHINE is for you (+/- 1 min. 30 sec.) Will be asked to be attached to Application
  • Post Video on IG and tag our leading sponsor @LESDowntown – @powerofoneforall – @fashionhighnyc AND the SCHOOL you will be going to

You do not have to wait to start posting YET you MUST include all tags and include these hashtags


Lastly, by applying you are SINCERELY CONFIRMING and HONESTLY ATTESTING to NOT currently owning a sewing machine.

This Non-Profit organization was created
to serve students with urgent financial needs
At this time of great financial uncertainty, every dime
a family can save for shelter, food, necessary bills is vital
Our opportunity can be a sigh of relief for these families
Assist With Young People’s Dreams Coming True

Thank you to all of you have donated and keep donating!

Graduate Together gift…

Our past project has given us the opportunity to PAY IT FORWARD.. It may not be much, but we will do what we can to make a difference in a Graduates life..

Our city of New York has been affected by COVID-19 in a way that has allowed us to reflect on everything that needed to change going forward.

Healthcare and how it is managed was not the only topic that imploded in this ‘New Normal‘, Education has been hard hit. How we transfer knowledge was poked by Technology, almost tickled decades back and we knew, those in education, that it was a matter of time, before we had to submit to that fact, join it because you can’t beat it.

In the matter of days, teachers took to the screen, the knowledge they were imparting to their students face to face.. and so remote learning started.. and it looks like it might stay with us in the Fall.

Teachers in the NYC Department of Education will cross that bridge when they get there and do what they can to make sure students do not fall behind yet what about those that are leaving us and moving forward to college? Now that many colleges are taking their instruction to online learning, where does that leave the graduates that are committing to Fashion Design as their major? How is Fashion Design as a skill and craft be taught when you don’t have the proper tools and equipment?

Schools like Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons School of Design and Pratt all have labs where students that DO NOT have the needed equipment like Sewing Machines can go and use them.. but how will that work with remote learning?

This is up to those schools to figure out.. in the meantime we want to look out for our own and make it possible for 3 graduating seniors that have been accepted and will attend a college or university with FASHION DESIGN as their major in the fall, to have their own Sewing Machine. 

As inexpensive as a home machine may seem, at this time, when many parents are faced with unemployment, joblessness, food insecurities, a sewing machine is a luxury.
Imagine knowing your child has been accepted to a college that will further their dream of becoming a fashion designer yet dimmed by knowing you can’t provide with an essential tool that can ensure their success?

My grandmother was so proud when I was accepted into the High School of Fashion Industries because she never finished elementary school herself and because she too, had a love affair with sewing.. so to see her first granddaughter fall in love with the same, was probably more than she could hope for..

img_3863Today that same sewing machine she purchased with her welfare check 33 years ago sits in my closet.. an industrial sewing machine!
It has never left my side, throughout all the moves, the many apartments, except for the 5 years I lived in Florence, when it lived in a storage space, it strengthened my skills, it created beautiful garments, my many assignments at FIT, alteration after alteration of many family and loved ones garments, it served as therapy when I needed to breathe and channel my frustrations into something beautiful, this is my sewing machine…

And as this is written, I personally realize what a sewing machine can really mean for a graduate..

Please help us make that happen for more than three..

Application for Award will go LIVE mid-June

Our contribution to the Movement

On March 16th, a roll of fabric was taken down from fashion design classroom 429 to the lobby of Fashion High, to hand over to LES Downtown‘s CEO Lisa Rosa after running an idea by her, ‘what do you think about making masks?

Our president knew Lisa would be ‘down for whatever’, because that’s the kind of person she is. Our president wanted, needed that kind of spirit as a Co-founder for this Non-profit and she made the right choice.

Lisa appeared in her Black Toyota Camry in front of the school while taking a break from one of her many jobs. She is one of these relentless workers that find different profitable ways to fill her time while her brain spirals new ideas to grow her American Dream. She popped the trunk to store the 1st roll of fabric and that’s how this all began two months ago.

After that day, more fabric made it’s way to Rosa’s home. img_3643Elastic, pins, batting, twill tape, all materials purchased, or donated and needed to create packages for the tailors that signed up to help, because that’s how ideas evolve. You can’t get great ideas off the ground without someONEs to help you through. And so a Facebook group was created to gather and communicate with all housebound tailors, surveys were created to collect addresses because the idea was to deliver materials to their door and pick up completed masks for the cause, all thanks to Timely Fashion Logistics, started by Lisa, to offer employment opportunities to drivers.

Our Co-Founder Rafael Mathiss gathered his group of friends and funds that would regularly go to students for their dreams, now purchased items needed to make masks for much needed people on the front lines. Remembering the reason why we created this entity, allowed us to shift our energies to serve the ALL presently in need.

Line of packages
Packages of fabric and lining for tailors

In the span of two months, around 50 packages were made and delivered for all participating tailors to contribute their sartorial skills. The task, to make a simple item that can essentially save a life. Twenty-two tailors created over 1,000 masks that will now be delivered to the essential workers, livery cab drivers.
These ONEs have been forging through, serving as lifelines between other essential workers and their destinations and April 2nd saw it’s first casualty, fellow Uber driver of our Vice President, Anil Subba.

Anil met his fate after driving an infected passenger from JFK during the first week of March, before all of this began. His family now lives with that loss and the loss of that financial source and his story was sobering for Lisa.

The passing of Mr. Subba became a reality that hit very close to home. That could’ve been me. I too, am sacrificing so much to make sure my daughter’s will not have to do without.  I sleep in my car at times in order to avoid contact with them. I may Facetime many times a day but nothing replaces holding your children in your arms.’

In two months making masks has turned into a global mission, reminding us that we’re not facing this alone. Just look up #makingmasks in Instagram to witness the unity.

From all corners of our USA, not only have personal spaces become mask-making workshops, companies with manufacturing capabilities have dived in. Images of masks are everywhere, on everyone, on children and their dolls, for philanthropy or for profit…

A rectangular piece of fabric to the face has taken on a whole new meaning. 

One story absolutely enlaced with the message of what purpose and passion can do is found on Instagram – Hides in Hand img_3666

At first glance you see this muscled tattoo’ed man on a sewing machine with a woman leaning over and curiosity strikes. Many things may have changed in our world, yet a scene such as that one has yet to become normal. And so I begin to read and the first 6 words, ‘Let me say, I love him.’ had me. It turns out he’s a ‘rock star’ in more ways than one.
He sat at her sewing machine to help out. Never having pressed a treadle or placed fabric between a feed dogs and a presser foot, he learned..  Her purpose was infectious and that was the goal.  That was all our goal, to come together and simply ‘help out‘.

Our collaborators have made this possible and we want to thank them.
Thank you Timely Fashion Logistics, Fashion Week Brooklyn, Art Factory Studios, Park – Pro Systems, Cope NYC, Barely Naked Designs

And lastly our Tailors, or better, our RIVETERS of 2020NYC SEWS
You all are breathes of oxygen, all that is good and needed on this Earth.. Please remain true to your good nature and may you be rewarded infinitely for your altruism.

Amanda Haught, Arlene Delgado, Lucy Fierro, Valentina Rivoli, Natanyah Menna, Laura Moore, Julia Thang, Jasmine Spaight, Bernardo B., Iran Sadaf Padder, Ananoda Clarke, Cameron Bryzek, Humaira Sheikh, Cynthia Casiano, Wendy Gleckner, Maureen Jeffries, Ann Feige, Megan LeBlanc, Rick Davy, Bessie Mercado, Celinne Lyons, Mildred Guzmán, Michelle Esp, Latisha Moye and Assane

Thank you Lisa Rosa for being the vein throughout this entire endeavor.. We are eternally grateful to have you as our ONE



It seems as if every day is blending with every other day as we sit patiently and wait this ‘time out’.

While some citizens continue to get up and go to work because they have no other recourse in NY, other citizens have taken to the #stayhome movement much more seriously than in other states.

In NYC we understand the severe consequences of not staying home and because of this we have joined another movement, #makingmasks at home.

We count 63 members in our group of tailors and they are almost done with the first round of mask making!


Thank you to Michelle – You are so appreciated!!

And thank you to our sponsor logo for their unrelenting collaboration!

Making Masks Happen – Ode to our ONES

It almost always takes more than ONE person to make an effort happen, to bring an idea to life.

Our initial goal is to awaken the potential within our high school students by giving them the opportunity to afford special items that can make their high school years memorable and your donations have done just that. We have been able to send students to Florence, Italy on our study abroad program scholarships and will continue to do that once this Global Emergency subsides, for now all you contribute will go to our NYC Sews – Mask Making Project.

Since this project first began three weeks ago, we’ve been able to corral a group of people to make this happen. Tailors through Fashion Week Brooklyn,  work space though Art Factory Studios, promotion through Fashion High Alumni’s Lucy Antonia Fierro from Rivoli Design Group, and our Board Member Rafael Mathiss .

Lucy through her contacts, made our project visible through the National Italian American Foundation’s online newsletter and Rafael proved once again that your circle is your tribe and their donations are funding the transportation of the materials needed to make the masks possible.

Rafael’s circle = Our ONE’s : His husband Dante Michael Sandoli, Daniel and husband Joe, Meltem Conant, Nancy Gruetzner, Leyla Mejia Castler, Jessie Palacio, Beth Jacowitz, Hector Rojas and Damiana May

We have 24 packages of fabric and lining ready for pick-up to drop off to tailors. Each package can yield up to 25 masks, which is a possible total of 600 masks!

PoOFA card

Line of packages
24 packages of fabric and lining for tailors


Scissors and Batting for Tailors – Thank you Daniel and Joe


Thanks again to our Vice-President Lisa Rosa and her incomparable energy. Thank you Lisa, for having the courage to transport these materials and for reaching always beyond the stars.

You are a very important ONE.

In the face of a pandemic – how ONE can help

As the entire country rallies together to flatten the curve against the COVID-19 crisis, needs within the health care are increasing.

Shortage of supplies needed to combat the rise of contagion is alarmingly real and in times like this, we must think outside the box.

Just as in WWII times, when the products of some factories turned into ammunition and the call to action to citizens were the daily norm, that is the feeling that is circulating today.

So how can we help?

Designers are turning their teams of sewers into the ROSIE THE RIVETER‘s of 2020 while some company’s are looking into making needed supplies with their existing ones. Granted the ordinary citizen at home, exercising their civic duty, cannot participate in these efforts yet if you cannot join those teams, then START YOUR OWN!

And that’s what our President did. She started a FACEBOOK Group – NYC SEWS

The truth is that our story began at Fashion High School, which was once known as Central High School of Needle Trades, a 10 story building located in Chelsea Manhattan, standing tall yet discreetly among the residential homes of a tree lined street.

The schools mission, to teach the sartorial crafts to any and all for close to a hundred years and still does to this day. Our own Ms. Belinda David, alumni of the school and Coordinator of the Alumni Association is assisting with alerting alumni living in the NYC area of the need for sewing skills and the willingness to offer them in the making of masks at home.

Now this does seem like an immense feat but our experience has taught us that anything can be achieved if you have the following:

  • Drive
  • Persistence
  • Belief in the purpose of the goal
  • Like Minded ONES

We are calling out to ONES that have sewing machine homes and are home bound that want to assist in this effort, please join the FACEBOOK Group – NYC SEWS, which is furnished with a variety of links to patterns for masks and tutorials on how to make them.

If you want to join in the effort without Facebook group involvement, please fill out THIS SURVEY and we can contact you to plan out a a delivery of supplies and/or masks pick-up.

All masks are intended to meet the urgent shortage need of all health care workers. Because of their individual preferences and generally use the cloth ones to cover the N-95 masks, ALL masks are welcome.

The inevitable truth is, a mask is better than nothing at all.

Man Power – CHECK

Where are the materials? That’s another part of the equation

How will they get to the sewers? How will the masks get to where they are needed?

Our Vice President and CEO of LES Downtown, Lisa Rosa has recently teamed up with giant AMAZON as a Delivery Service Partner and is finding a way…


**To arrange a pick up for your masks, CLICK HERE**

Please consider donating to fund the sourcing of materials and cover cost of transportation

Studying Abroad

I have been blessed in my life. Even if I don’t have a lot, I have experienced a lot.

I have always said that there is a reason and a purpose for every thing you do and everyone you meet in your life.

When I had the opportunity to study abroad in college, I didn’t look at it as ‘I can’t because I don’t have money’, instead I thought of it as ‘This will get done, it’s just figuring out HOW’. That was the kind of thinking I was taught to have, to always think of the ways it can get done instead of the reasons why it WILL NOT happen.

After experiencing life abroad, the moment a potential employer of a company sits with you for an interview, the fact that you studied internationally makes a grand statement about you:

  • Your willingness to be open to other cultures teaches adaptability and assimilation
  • Your ability to travel independently makes a statement towards your level of maturity and responsibility
  • The knowledge you can acquire about another country and its people can serve you and your potential employer
  • And so much more that I want you to Discover on your OWN

After 5 years in Florence, from 2004 to 2009, I returned home convinced of making study abroad possible for any student when I began teaching in 2010.

I may have not known then, but the people I met along the way allowed me to make this happen.

Florence University of the Arts  is the illustrious institution we have collaborated with in our now 6th year in Italy.

We have grown from 5 students back in 2012 to last summer’s roster of 35!

My wish is that all of those students that have walked the streets of Florence because of our program feel their perspectives and horizons widen; it has been truly my pleasure.

And now to make it happen for MORE Fashion students this coming summer!


Please assist us in making it happen!



Grant Opportunity – HSFI Senior Dues

I remember as a teenager wanting to be like my friends.. being able to have the things EVERYONE had, happened to be a problem.

I didn’t know my family was poor, because I never felt poor. I just thought my grandmother was cheap.. because of the way she responded to every WANT I had..

‘No hay dinero para eso’ –  Spanish for = ‘There is no money for that’

She took care of our needs; we were fed; we were clothed and we never heard the word ‘eviction’. It was just the ‘other’ things we never had the chance to have, like the ‘latest’ this or the ‘latest’ that.. combined with our weekly church attendance, our programmed faith along with never needing, made up a ‘good’ life.

This is NEVER ENOUGH for a teenager, especially when as a senior, the cap and gown and yearbook were considered ‘other things’. There was definitely no ‘dinero para eso.’

I then discovered the joy these ‘small’ things can bring by having a part time job at 14 and to this day, it remains etched in my memory.

Today we have the chance to offer our first Grant Opportunity for the Seniors of HSFI.

This Grant Award is for Senior Dues, a cost of $225. It may not seem like much but for some families, this is a LOT!

Senior Dues covers:

  • Cap & Gown & Stole
  • Diploma case
  • Graduation photo
  • Award Ceremony
  • Graduation site rental fees
  • Yearbook
  • Senior Breakfast
  • Senior Sweatshirt
  • Senior T-Shirt
  • Senior Gift

 In order to be eligible for this award, Seniors MUST meet the following criteria:

  1. Be of financial need, family must be on public assistance.
  2. Student must be in good academic standing
  3. Student must have close to impeccable behavioral record
    If you do have a blemish on your record, essay and recommendation letter from Peace Center required.
    Everyone is deserving of a second chance. We all want to believe that there is nothing we can do, that should stop us from being our best selves, even mistakes made in our past. All of our experiences should always serve as lessons.
    Explain in detail the incident (do not include names of others involved) that stained your reputation and what you COULD’VE done if anything, to prevent the situation from happening. What positive lesson did you learn from that experience that has either changed your mindset, or changed you as a person?


  1. Online application completed + transcript attached
  2. Hard Copy of first report card of the fall
  3. Public Assistance awards letter
  4. Attendance letter – same as letter needed for ‘face to face’ appointment
  5. Hard Copy of Recommendation letter from staff member
  6. Hard Copy of Essay:
    The Power of One for All Non-Profit was created to help high school students have the ‘small’ experiences that make High School memorable. Certain things such as senior prom, senior trips, class ring, cap and gown, the yearbook and even participating in the graduation ceremony are not affordable for some NYC families. How specifically can or does this opportunity benefit you and/or your family? Out of the many seniors applying for this philanthropic grant, why are you the most deserving?


We urge all HSFI Seniors that meet the criteria and needs, to apply



Since you last saw us..

We’ve accomplished so much since the last time you’ve been around.

So many great souls have donated to our cause and we made ‘Michael’s’ dream come true.

Michael is Kevin Harman and now a graduate of the High School of Fashion Industries, and on his way to college.

He didn’t attend graduation because his first time ever on an airplane would happen to be that same afternoon and the destination, Florence, Italy.

He attended the three week program, that would earn him 6 college credits at the illustrious Florence University of the Arts.

His love for fashion compelled him to select Fashion Design Studio and Fashion Media & Culture. His time was not in vain. He loved every minute of it.

Kevin was able to experience an event that so many other teens his age may take for granted. Studying abroad is a right of passage for many young adults but not for many in our school. This past summer over 30 families entrusted the HSFI Study Abroad program advisors with their prized possessions as they embarked on life changing journeys half way across the world.

Living in a place that is far removed from your culture can bring you to appreciate your own. It can deepen your understanding of the world, force you to view it for the first time as an adult and this can be frightful, overwhelming and even intimidating.

Imagine doing this on your own?

Imagine facing the world, one foreign to you without the comfort of a friendly face? This past summer friendships were created and a familiar face that once was encountered in passing in the school hallways, became a friend with whom extraordinary moments were shared in Italy.

And the feeling of BELONGING would never be the same.

Kevin belonged.

He along with a dozen of other HSFI Seniors had ‘the best time’ of their lives, to quote Kevin. They made Florence their playground, the way only New York City kids can and hopefully that will not be the last time they will make their presence known on the globe.

It was our honor to make this happen for Kevin…

From Florence, with LOVE
Pink Vespa – pic taken by Kevin