Senior Designer Spotlight: An Interview with Tomiko Harris ’15


Tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from etc.

I am a proud Buffalo native. I graduated from Hutchinson Central Technical High-School with a concentration in Architectural Engineering but always had a passion for Apparel Design and many other fields of the Fashion Industry.

How did you get started in design and what inspired you to become a designer?

I’ve always wanted to design; it is something I naturally took interest in.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?

I usually look at photos of abstract art and the work of popular expressionist painters.

Describe your collection in one word:


Tell us the theme behind your designs for Runway 8.0

My collection is titled “Chaotic Cortex,” it is inspired by the beauty of the human brain and the abstract nature of human emotion. Many people suffer from mental disorders such as Depression Anxiety; the purpose of this concept is to give a visual of what these thoughts look like.

What do you think is it about your work that sets you apart?

My work is simultaneously gritty and adorable.

Any projects you want to plug after Runway 8.0?

I want to continue crafting jewelry after the show and graduation.

What other activities do you enjoy doing besides design?

I own a lot of books, so you can say that I am an avid reader. Reading molds people into better writers and inspires me when it comes to designing.

What are your goals for designing? What type of person do you imagine you’re designing for?

I just want to be great. I’m not into constructing gowns, but it would be nice to perfect that type of design one day. I imagine I’m designing for an outgoing person who isn’t afraid to take risks when it comes to fashion.

If you could design for one celebrity, who would it be and why?

Rihanna. Trend followers watch her, it could be a smart way to get my name out there and she makes everything she wears work.

Could you give us a little preview of what to expect at Runway 8.0? What type of collection are you showing? What are the inspirations behind it/the philosophy guiding it?

The collection I am showing features laid-back design silhouettes and vibrant prints/colors. The silhouettes are minimal but the prints are expressive.

What can you tell us about the color scheme, construction and how you went about making the collection on the more technical side?

I only used four colors when designing my prints. The electric orange color that is spread throughout my collection is meant to tie the pieces together. The collection is flowy and meant to be comfortable. All of the dresses featured in my collection were draped using muslin and I also did a bit of pattern drafting.

How many hours a day do you spend working on your collection on average?

On average, I usually spend 6-8 hours working on my collection.

How do you think your education has prepared you for Runway 8.0?

Everything I have learned at Buffalo State has prepared me for Runway 8.0, though I am still learning a lot when it comes to apparel design, I would not have the skills I have today without the courses that Buffalo State offered me.

Runway Fashion Show student portraits.

Post-grad plans?

After graduation I plan to travel and eventually look to work in the textile design field.


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