Mika Furuya

In the Bag is a series of interviews that dive into the streamlined packing habits of creatives we think you should know about.

Fashion Week ends after a month-long journey of shows that started in New York, London followed by Milan, and wrapping up in Paris this week. And what would these collections be without the models showcasing the designers vision and how it’s worn and styled with? Today we profile one such face, Mika Furuya.

A Japanese native who landed in New York five years ago with little English skills, she now lives with her musician boyfriend* in Brooklyn, mastering the art of the go see (English fluency, check) and the quick change (heels to flip flops to heels again in between meetings and shows), shooting with photographers to build her book** and finding her place in the New York fashion scene. Being featured on front page coverage of the World Journal and Sing Tao daily for her first walk in New York Fashion week may seem glamorous, but that’s just another day in the life of a jobbing model. I catch up with her at the lab to see what she’s been up to.

What was the first trip that you took that changed your life? A ten-day trip to New York City!!

How was this trip inspirational to you? It inspired me to move here.

What type of trip are we talking about today? Business with pleasure. I’m meeting with agencies in Los Angeles to find representation for a week and to see a friend in Rego Park.

Any travel buddies? Just me!

Local weather is like… Dry and nice. It’s 70 degrees!

How many bags and suitcases? One small tote and suitcase to carry on the plane

Are you checking in or carrying on? Carrying on, it needs to be small enough to carry on!

What’s in your carry-on? Clothes, shoes and towels.

Tools-of-the-trade for how Mika rolls: cheeky tote, jelly zip bag (not shown), sunglasses, towel and water canteen and pens (2), model card with stats for clients, flip-flops for quick shoe changes, Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35, eyeliner, origin unknown, makeup brush, origin unknown, Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores, Iphone and Blackberry portable computers, MAC Black Night Lip Stick, Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume mascara, lipstick and makeup samples, pink nail file, lipstick, honey lip balm and fuchsia lip, origin unknown, RMK cheek color and four-color eye shadow, origin unknown, Laura Mercier Foundation primer, Orbis Aqua force Lotion-M and moisturizer, a self-curated skin care set (suntan lotion, PM cream, body lotion, shampoo, toner, conditioner) and eyelash curler.

Before getting on a flight, you… Eat. I eat food.

Any travel aids & splurges? Lots of snacks.

What travel apps or checklists do you use? Uber and Google map!

Any reading material? Just magazines and two books (in Japanese).


Mika’s go-see uniform sticks to two color palettes. From clockwise, left: Straw hat, black slip dress, black paisley halter dress, black shirt dress, black logo jersey knit skirt, shades, denim (blue rinse and black), white umbrella, tee shirts (one faded and rock n’ roll, check, one clean and sleek), bathing suits (black halter and gray halter one pieces are her go-tos), jelly plastic zip for toiletries, beach towel and bikini set to hang out at the pool with friends, clutch wallet, killer heels for go sees and everything else in between, bandeau, and Le Sportsac zip bag.

Are you a prep packer or one of those last-minute types? Last minute *wide grin*

Any rituals, guilty pleasures, or good luck charms  A beloved suitcase given to me by a photographer during a Milan trip.

Beloved suitcase gifted by photographer.

Have you ever missed a flight? Yes! One time I showed up to the airport at 10pm, but the flight was at 12am (10 hours earlier). I completely misunderstood the time, and it was gone *sad face*

Who’s bag would you love to see the inside of?  Liu Wen and Kristen McMenamy’s (both models)!

Any tips for fellow travelers you find helpful? If you decide to escape, consider hiking. It will re-inspire you!

*Ethan Hampton, lead singer and guitarist for The Hampton Brothers

**Models build a portfolio of work by working with different photographers, sometimes for trade, other times for photos. These photos showcase their range of what they can do (pretty, feminine, androgynous, sexy, preppy). Are they high-fashion or more commercial, print vs. catwalk, look book vs. fit-model types? The more versatility the better as agencies will send them out to meet with casting directors and designers.

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