Naomi Mishkin ‘07 makes her mark on the fashion industry

Jude Herwitz , Staff Writer

Naomi Mishkin (’07) first started working in fashion in the Middle Division, when she sold her homemade hand bags to her friends. Her journey to holding a trunk show for her own fashion label, Naomi Nomi, has not been a straight shot, but nonetheless, last Saturday she debuted five new silk scarves at an event in Lower Manhattan.

In her early childhood, she learned how to sew, which came with the territory when her mother’s family had been working in the garment industry since coming to the US.

“When I went to my grandmother’s house the two options were to play outside or play with the sewing machine,” Mishkin said. She chose the latter.

Starting in ninth grade she began to intern for Charles Nolan, a fashion designer who had started his own brand after working for Ann Klein, an influential and popular designer, Mishkin said. Among her experiences with Nolan included missing a week of school in the fall of her senior year while preparing for and helping at New York Fashion Week.

Another major activity of hers at school was The Record, she said. Mishkin worked as production manager, the equivalent of today’s design editor, who is largely responsible for the layout of the paper.

“I was faculty advisor of the paper for twelve years so every year has its own special quality, and she was definitely a key a part of making that board special,” Dr. Glenn Wallach said.

In fact, while preparing for the trunk show, she used the same printing service which she contacted when sending the paper to print for The Record.

“Horace Mann gave me the space to do whatever I was going to do very well, and to be smart and professional about it,” Mishkin said.

After graduating from the school and spending one year at Cornell University, she ended up transferring the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and received her undergraduate degree in glass.

Mishkin then worked as an artist’s assistant and fabricator for more well-known artists, meaning she actually made some of the constituent parts of works which her employer designed. In 2017 she got her Masters in Fine Art from Oxford.

Throughout her time at school, Mishkin also worked on her art in a variety of different mediums. Some of the sculpture which she designed and made has been featured in galleries in London and Paris.

“She didn’t see walls between the studios,” Visual Arts teacher Keith Renner said. “She saw them all as one art room.” For example, even though she never actually enrolled in a ceramics class she spent a lot of time in the studio, both making herself and helping teach younger students how to create their own art.

All the while she continued to make clothes during her free time and ended up making most of the clothes in her closet, she said.

“I’m not surprised that she’s doing fashion design right now,” Middle Division Visual Arts teacher Natasha Rubirosa said. “Even in middle school she was making things with fabric.”

Last year Mishkin started her own line of clothing, Naomi Nomi, which, according to the website, makes women’s everyday workwear. She designs all of the products and for now is the only full-time employee of the company, though she specialists in other fields, like photography or e-commerce, depending on her needs.

“You’ve got to assemble a team,” Mishkin said. “It’s impossible to do alone.”

Last month, the New York Times published a profile of her and her work in the Sunday Styles section of the paper.

“When everyone in my family reached for the other sections that only had pictures of boring old guys yelling at each other, no one took Styles – it was mine to obsess over,” Mishkin said. “It also was extremely validating at a young age to see what I was interested in up there with all the ‘important’ (albeit boring to a ten-year-old) news.”

Her newest products are a line of silk scarves inspired by the process of making, she said. For example, one scarf is yellow with a one-centimeter wide grid, meant to mimic tape measures.

“[Mishkin’s work] is really bringing together all of the sides of her that we saw here when she was in high school,” Wallach said. “Design. Art. Flair. Style.”