CCAD international student: Kumiko Ota

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The swooping, scooped roofs iconic in Japanese architecture bring Kumiko Ota peace.

She created a collection that combines both structured fabrics and floral silks in homage to her home country and its ancient buildings.

The temples offer refuge from the busy city life of Tokyo, her hometown. Columbus brings Ota peace, too.

The quieter pace is a good environment for designing, said Ota, whose biggest challenge was getting used to driving everywhere - not to mention learning to drive in the first place. She cited magazines, fashion show photos and internet research as sources of ideas for her designs.

"I don't mind staying in a quiet place and not getting inspiration from outside the house," said Ota, who recently accepted a job offer to be a design assistant at Abercrombie & Fitch.

While Japan serves as inspiration for her collection and remains close to her heart, Ota hasn't spent much time there since starting high school in Massachusetts. Getting an education in the States was always her intention. She found out about CCAD through a high school friend's brother, who attended Ohio State at the time.

Her parents, though, visit often. Still, their trip to town for the fashion show this weekend will be their first look at her designs for the senior fashion class.

"They asked me to post some online, but I said, 'Oh, you guys have to come to the fashion show,'" said Ota, who's kept her collection a secret from her family. "I worked a lot harder to make them proud of me."