Fashion and education have been part of Miki Omori’s life for as long as she can remember. An early interest in fashion inspired her to sketch clothing designs by the time she was five years old. But by the age of 10, she had decided to become a teacher. She never imagined that someday she would be able to combine her love of fashion design with her aspiration to teach.
Omori’s career began in Japan, where she was a fashion design and pattern-making professor at Miyagi Bunka Fashion College. But her interest in experiencing other cultures led her to the fashion industry in Paris and New York City. In Paris, she spent more than 15 years as a designer with several renowned fashion brands, including Balenciaga, Lanvin, and Nina Ricci. Then she moved to New York City where she was Senior Design Director of Women’s Ready-to-Wear at Coach for several years.
What drew Omori to the Fashion Design and the Arts MFA program is its integration of educational instruction with a wide range of professional practice. Students in the program will benefit from rare opportunities to learn from and network with working practitioners in the fashion community while pursuing their degree. “Education and professional experience are not separate here,” says Omori. “They are intertwined.”
Another feature of the program that Omori appreciates is the unique way it positions fashion in context with other creative fields and the world at large. “Fashion is not only about clothes,” she says. Omori feels that to truly understand fashion, it’s important to also have knowledge of music, photography, art, architecture, literature, theater, cinema, pop culture, and other forms of creative expression and cultural critique, past and present.
Omori is excited about the opportunities she’ll have to help the diverse cohort of MFA students channel their own creative passions and inspiration into fashion-related work. For the role, she can draw on 20 years of experience working in an industry that has increasingly relied on collaboration and creative confluences and that exerts ever-greater influence. In the classroom, she’ll focus on ensuring that students develop an open mind, curiosity, and an expanded point of view, which she describes as “critical for designers seeking to continually learn, evolve, and stay relevant.”