Get to Know: Tomoko Ogura, Senior Fashion Director at Barneys New York

In the fall 2012 issue of TIME Style&Design, we profiled six of fashion's most forward-thinking women. Here, TIME talks to Barneys New York's senior fashion director Tomoko Ogura

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Ruven Afanador for TIME

Name: Tomoko Ogura
Age: 29
Provenance: Tokyo (born in New Jersey)

What do you do every day?
Everyday is different, but I spend a lot of my time in showrooms looking at collections—collections that we buy but also collections that we don’t. I’ve found it’s just as educational and valuable to see the things we don’t carry. It keeps me informed in terms of what’s happening in the overall market, and it’s important to keep my finger on the pulse.

What designers are you looking forward to seeing this next season?
Saint Laurent—I love what Hedi Slimane presented for pre-collection, and it left me craving more. Maiyet. It will be my first time going to this show in Paris, and I respect their idea of luxury and look forward to seeing the collection. Sacai is always one of my favorite collections to see. Mary Katrantzou always surprises, and you leave the show visually mesmerized.

What is your favorite aspect of the job?
I love listening to designers speak passionately about what they do. How something is made, the fabric they chose, the factory that it’s made in, the origin of a print—all of these details stay with me. Sometimes I get chills in these moments. Just the other day I was listening to a denim designer explain to me why Japanese denim is so incredible, and he said it has to do with the water in Okayama. There, the water has a particular PH level that doesn’t exist in the water anywhere else in the world. Listen and learn—I take pleasure in this.

What’s your work uniform?
Comfort is my choice. I’m often running around so being comfortable is important to me. Today I have on a striped tee, a pair of slouchy R13 jeans, and Celine sneakers—it’s quite a consistent, reliable look for me.

Who is your favorite designer to wear and why?
Wayne. I’ve known Wayne [Lee] since she was working in the Barneys buying office and wearing her own designs to work. I’ve seen her progression professionally, and as her friend, I’m proud to wear her collection. The pieces are modern, always with a touch of Wayne’s cool sensibility. In addition, the collection is beautifully made in New York.

Do you have a favorite tech item or phone app that makes work and getting through multiple fashion weeks a bit easier?
The G7 taxi app in Paris. It’s not easy hailing a taxi in Paris and this app makes the process a bit more seamless.

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