FIT Honors Yoko Ohara
Ohara graduated from FIT in 1967 with a degree in Fashion Buying and Merchandising (FBM), now known as Fashion Merchandising Management. While working as a product developer at the Asahi Chemical Company in Japan, Ohara translated Inside the Fashion Business, the textbook then used in FBM courses at FIT. Written by Jeanette Jarnow who founded the FBM department, the book introduced American concepts of the fashion business to Japan and resulted in the FIT/Asahi seminar program of lectures on the fashion business, created by Ohara and Jarnow. The program ran for 28 years in Tokyo and at FIT with more than 160 fashion experts participating. Asahi ended the seminars in 1997 when Japanís Institute for the Fashion Industries (IFI), which is modeled on FIT, opened. Ohara is president of the IFI Business School.
Ohara has received many honors for creating a bridge between the Japanese and American fashion industries, including the Distinguished Industry Advocate Award from the Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries, the support body of FIT. When Hillary Clinton visited Japan as First Lady in the 1990s, Ohara was one of 13 Japanese women executives invited to the U.S. Ambassadorís residence to meet her.