Karen Henry

Fashion Marketing & Management

Fashion Instructor
The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston

San Antonio Fashion Instructor Karen Henry

I've learned that it's extremely important for students to know they have someone to help guide their success. Karen Henry , Fashion Instructor
, The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston

Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

Owning and and operating an apparel store opened my eyes to the importance of being creative in the retail industry. And it inspired me to share what I’d learned with Fashion students in the classroom.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

I share everything from what to expect when attending tradeshows to how to be a great retail manager to the importance of knowing your customers, and choosing the right product mix for stores. And because I know how important it is to network with key people to get a good start in the retail industry, I arrange field trips so students can speak with industry professionals—and invite those professionals into the classroom.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

For my Sales & Event Promotion class I assign a visual merchandising (window display) project. Students work as a team to come up with a theme, budget, props, background, visual elements, and ways to communicate their message. Using this approach with a window display assignment allows the students to work as a team, be creative individually and collectively, understand budgeting, and learn how to communicate a message visually.

How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?


As an example, the window assignments with visual merchandising force students to push themselves creatively in ways that they haven’t before. After completing the assignment, they’re extremely proud to have work they can add to their portfolio

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?


It lets them network and learn about each other and their various projects. They get a deeper understanding of an area that may not be their strong point, learn to take responsibility for themselves and each other, and build positive relationships.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

I think the most valuable thing is my time and attention. I work with students one-on- one to make sure they succeed in my class and the real world. I’ve learned that it’s extremely important for students to know they have someone to help guide their success.

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?


Always do your best, be professional and punctual, and work as if someone’s watching you at all times.

Anything else?

I thoroughly enjoy teaching students about the fashion industry, using my expertise to equip them for success.