Miami Fashion Institute at MDC

This is an industry driven program that prepares students to work as creative professionals in the fashion industry. From concept to production, students learn the process, skills and language of fashion design and technology, combining business and creative skills to develop an individual portfolio that expresses a solid understanding of the fashion industry.

  • Learn the business and art of fashion
  • Develop competitive skills and techniques for the fashion industry
  • Innovate, explore and nurture your creativity
  • Prepare for a dynamic career in fashion

Courses are led by renowned faculty members who bring decades of real world experience into the classroom. MFI's instructors are artists, designers and business professionals who have worked with some of the most notable names in fashion including Calvin Klein, Diane Von Furstenberg, Jason Wu, Mara Hoffman, Marc Jacobs and Zac Posen.

Meet the people

Photo of Asanyah Davidson



I love design and the way a designer’s mind works. I spent several years in the industry in New York and after completing my graduate degree in London, I returned to the States and worked at Macy’s Florida Division as an assistant buyer. During that time I also started teaching at Miami International University of Art & Design and Broward Community College while working on my own mini collections. I most recently took my love of teaching and knowledge of fashion to West Africa where I taught at schools in Lagos, Nigeria and Accra, Ghana. That year on the Continent allowed me to learn extensively about native techniques and the ever popular Ankara fabrics. I love mentoring and sharing my passion for design with students. My areas of interest are education, global studies, design and fashion as communication.

M.A. Design Studies from Central Saint Martins London, England,
B.S. International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries from F.I.T.,
Studied abroad in Polimoda, Florence, Italy,
A.A.S Fashion Design from F.I.T.,
Design and Architecture Senior High

Photo of Mia Causevic

Mia Causevic

MFI Advisor

Born in Croatia, raised in Italy where I’ve played professional volleyball for more than 10 years. Driven by passion and curiosity, I decided to put aside my volleyball career and complete my BA in Fashion Design and Communication at NABA. After graduating I had the opportunity to work for NABA. For years, I oversaw the contests and special projects with companies, and events for the NABA Fashion programs. During those years I had the chance to work on numerous collaborations with some of the most influential Italian brands, artists, and designers such as Romeo Gigli, Benedetta Barzini, Angela Missoni, Shingo Sato, Max Mara, Etro, Pandora and many more. I eventually moved with my family to California where I worked in Retail Management as a Clothing Buyer for Men’s Wearhouse in the Suits and Sport Coats division.

In 2019 we moved to Miami, and shortly after joined the MFI Team. I love working with creatives, and I am passionate about helping them pursue their dreams, reach goals, and develop into successful designers and merchants.

BA Fashion Design and Communication from NABA, New Academy of Fine Arts, Milan, Italy. 

Photo of Lauren Baccus

Lauren baccus

MFI Lab Manager

I am a textile artist and researcher whose work centers around the construction of Caribbean identity through textile and costume. I am strongly influenced by masquerade and the Caribbean region’s legacy of resistance and storytelling through cloth and clothing. My most recent project, Salt and Aloes, is an archive of Caribbean material culture over the past century. I enjoy being a catalyst to creativity and providing a safe functional space for our students.

**Masters in Textiles and Material Culture, University of Nebraska, Lincoln,




After graduating from F.I.U. I was hired as the Visual Merchandising Manager for Harding Brothers Retail, a duty-free company who provides merchandise for Carnival Cruise shops. I spent months traveling on the ships and visiting islands such as Jamaica, Curacao, and Aruba. During my time with Carnival Cruise Line, I created numerous windows displays, store layouts, and marketing signage. Although the experience was life-changing I eventually returned to Miami to pursue a Masters.

I'm still an avid world traveler, and I have visited many countries including Thailand, Bali, France and India. I'm passionate about teaching and helping our MFI students develop into successful merchants.

ACUE Certified Instructor

MBA International Business at Florida International University
B.A. in Fashion Merchandising at Miami International University of Art and Design

Photo of Prisca Milliance



After receiving a BA in Journalism from Georgetown University in 2005, I revisited my childhood love for art and fashion when I enrolled in a costume design class at Boston University. When my sewing instructor recommended I enroll in the Master's of Science program at Drexel University, I considered it to be a call from the universe to pursue my lifelong passion. However, I took the year before starting my graduate degree to travel across the US as a costume attendant for the Ringling Bros Circus. I have worked as a technical designer for contemporary brands including Mara Hoffman, Tracy Reese and Vanilla Beach.

I have a strong affinity for the use of technology in creating fashion including Digital Illustration along with Patternmaking in CAD. Nevertheless, the love of art and fashion history is what drew me to this profession. My goal is to share that curiosity and interest in research with the MFI community.

ACUE Certified Instructor

Master's of Science in Fashion Design at Drexel University
BA in Journalism from Georgetown University

Photo of Alberto Ravelo

Alberto Ravelo

Adjunct Faculty

I have been working on developing my private label specialized in menswear and womenswear. My work is bespoke and expands to red carpets, stage performances, ballet, prom and wedding dresses. With a science background and more than 15 years of experience I own very strong technical skills, my patterns are precise, with very accurate proportions and fit. My goal is to train students' imagination and advanced understanding in the application of creative and interpretative skills required to translate designers' drawings into three dimensions.

Graduate of Central Saint Martin's Innovative Pattern Making Course

Photo of Carlos M Rico

Carlos M Rico

Adjunct Faculty

Born in Colombia and Raised in Miami, I always had a penchant for art and design, ultimately settling on fashion design to combine both my interests. I completed my A.A. in New York while working under Benjamin Cho as a design assistant and also with Kimora Lee Simons in NYC.  Later moving to London to attend Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design where I secured a BA Honours in menswear and immediately accepted a position in the Masters program. While living and studying in London I was lucky enough to work under the Alexander McQueen fashion House as an intern.

After Graduating from CSM I moved back to NYC to work under Phillip Lim and throughout my career I have been able to work with many designers on a freelance basis.  I started my own fashion brand and was shortlisted for GenArt's young designer award for my menswear collection in NYC.

Later moving back to Miami, I guided my career to education where I worked as fashion adviser to the fashion program at Miami International University and now Joining MFI my passion for teaching can be realized.  Although my true passion is menswear; throughout my career I have been able to work with womenswear, graphic design, textile pattern design, and digital illustration. As a Local, I aim to bring my national and international education to our wonderful community.

M.A. in Menswear Design, Central Saint Martins, London, England
B.A. (Honors) in Menswear Design, Central Saint Martins, London, England
A.A in Menswear Design, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City, New York

Photo of Desirae Allen

Desirae Allen

Adjunct Faculty

Following the completion of my M.B.A studies, I gained experience as a Freelance Fashion Colorist, Fashion Design, and Production Assistant for companies such as Liz Claiborne Inc., DKNY Jeans International, and Warnaco/Calvin Klein Jeans. Desirae extended her time abroad and traveled to countries such as Japan and South Africa; in addition, interning at Diane Von Furstenberg Studio in London as a Wholesale Sales Assistant.

M.B.A studies in International Business Administration in London, England.
B.A. in Fashion Design/Merchandising from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Ga.

Photo of Herion Park

Herion Park

Adjunct Faculty

I’m a visual artist, teacher, and fashion design entrepreneur. I encourage my students to transcend beyond style, integrating correlative artistic disciplines in order to present their own distinct convictions.

I trained under the mentorship of artist Nick Cave, who’s vision asserts the vital interrelationship between the costumes we wear and the thorny cultural world we all navigate. I also believe that outside of the theatrical ephemera, fashion has the potential to transmute into a critical language that communicates a message to and from our time, a kinetic art-form with many layers of meaning and relevance to our sociology.

I want my design students to become empowered to tell profound stories through their work, whether they be personal, or comprehensive of the challenges encountering us as a global citizenry. Each student has a unique story and gift for humanity. My goal is to encourage their dreams and help them develop all the skills necessary to make them into thriving capable professionals.

MDes, Fashion, Body and Garment School of the Art Institute of Chicago
B.F.A, Fashion Design, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Photo of Jeanie Lisenby

jeanie lisenby

Adjunct Faculty

I began my career in the apparel industry during the 1980’s and I have held various positions including sales, merchandising, design, product development, brand management, and sourcing. My experience spans from the retailing selling floor to the manufacturing facility, and I have worked in Texas, New York and Florida in the fashion industry. My early fashion design work has been featured in major department and chain stores in the United States under various brand names. I was also involved in import/export activities through my work in international materials sourcing and creating technical packages for overseas garment production. I am currently at Miami-Dade County’s Office of Film & Entertainment where I coordinate resources for film production companies, issue film/photo permits, and provide logistics assistance and production information to the fashion, film and entertainment industries. I also own an ecommerce design company specializing in art, apparel and gifts. My favorite thing about teaching is building a positive relationship with students and helping them obtain their dream in life.

M.B.A. in International Business from the University of Miami
B.S. in Retail Merchandise Management from Lamar University, Texas State University System
A.A.S. in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology New York

Photo of Jill Odermann

Jill Odermann

Adjunct Faculty

I have enjoyed three decades working in the business of apparel design and production. I attended design school in Chicago after which, my first and second jobs were as dancewear designer and pattern maker. Years later I moved to a large national department store chain as Technical Designer for Asian production across multiple markets. Eddie Bauer Int’l Americas offered me a Technical Design management position here in Miami working directly with the factories in South Africa and the Caribbean in private brand.

Post Corporate, I have taught for twelve years at many local institutions receiving training for teaching at the high school and university levels. I’m grateful to now be able to mentor and share with my students here at MFI.

ACUE Certified Instructor

B.A. from Ray College of Art, Chicago and the University of Wisconsin

Photo of Joanne DeMartini

Joanne DeMartini

Adjunct Faculty

I have over 25 years of experience in the fashion industry in various positions. I started my career in the Intimate Apparel department of Lord & Taylor, and then went on to become a buyer for Saks Fifth Ave and a Divisional Merchandise Manager for Designer, Dresses and Coats and Suits at the late Bonwit Teller. I changed to the manufacturing side and became President of R & K Originals, a moderate dress company. After being in my own fashion business twice, I joined The Jump Design Group where I was President of the Marina brand and also V.P. of International Sales for all the Jump brands. I became the On-Air personality for Jump’s “Tiana B” brand for QVC in the U.K., Italy, and Germany, for TVSN in Australia, and even CNR Mall (a QVC partner) in China. Jump actually shipped U.S. made apparel TO China!

Along with teaching in New York at F.I.T. and L.I.M and now Miami Fashion Institute, I continue to be the On-Air guest for Tiana B in Canada at The Shopping Channel.

M.A. Philosophy and the Arts, The New School
B.A. Education/Art History, Queens College

Photo of Julian Asion

Julian Asion

Adjunct Faculty

I graduated from Miami Dade College with a degree in Fashion Design in 1972. I then worked in the industry here in Miami for several years before moving to New York to further develop my craft. I worked as the premier(master) mans for some of the most important names in America's Fashion Industry: Zac Posen Jason Wu, Narciso Rodriguez, Isabel Toledo and Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein Collection among others. I'm now retired and love sharing my craft, learned over 45 years.

A.S. in Fashion Design Miami Dade College. Premier Mans with 45 years of Experience

Photo of Laura LaFrance

Laura LaFrance

Adjunct Faculty

I was born in a household of seamstresses, designers, and tailors. While I worked for almost eight years in the medical field as a nurse, I was completing my Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design and Apparel. From then on, I worked in various sectors as an assistant designer, technical designer, creative director assistant and textile designer.

After some time, I enrolled at the Miami University of Arts and Design for a master's in Design Media and Art Management, so that I could understand the operational side of the industry that I love so much. I also took an opportunity to travel internationally working for CINTAS for two year and returning to complete my masters in 2021.

I own a print/digital publication call House of Lafrance Magazine LLC, and a private clothing label Laura Lafrance LLC, and I work full time as a Global Account Associate Designer for Cintas, the same company I used to travel with. I hope to bring all the knowledge that I’ve gained both from my personal experiences in the industry and from my academic studies, to help the students navigate their careers in the fashion Industry.

M.B.A. Design Media and Art Management, Miami International University of Arts and Designs
B.S. Fashion Design and Apparel, The Art Institute of F Lauderdale

Photo of Leonardo De Armas

Leonardo De Armas

Adjunct Faculty

I started my career as a student at Parsons School of Design, in New York City, I had the opportunity to learn the disciplines of design, clothing construction and illustration from some of the most legendary names in the American fashion industry. Right after graduation, I opened my design studio, creating luxury ready to wear lines and exclusive bridal and evening gowns for a demanding global clientele, while also devoting time to a life-long passion; teaching and sharing my expertise in different educational institutions and art foundations throughout the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean.

I strongly believe that a truly successful professor is a communicator who is capable of inspiring and motivating aspiring designers by leaving on them an indelible mark of honest work ethics and values, while nurturing their abilities and talents.

ACUE Certified Instructor

B.F.A. Fashion Design, Parsons School of Design
Gold Thimble Award for Design Excellence.

Photo of Matilda Kavelshi

Matilda KaLAveshi

Adjunct Faculty

My introduction to the international fashion industry started at an early age in Europe. After transitioning into the buying world when I joined Macys Corporate Inc, I completely fell in love with retail and the business side of the fashion world. For the past 17 years, I have worked for numerous retailers in the southeast region and have held different positions such as fashion buyer, planner, senior buyer, fashion director, and consultant. I currently run my own retail consulting boutique where I help brands and retailers build and grow profitable businesses.

At a local level, I am the Downtown NEWS Business Correspondent. I focus on retail news, consumer trends, e-commerce, emerging brands, new retail developments, and more. My ultimate goal is to prepare my students to navigate the multi-faceted world of retail by bridging the gap between fashion and business.

M.B.A. International Business Florida International University
Certificate in Corporate Strategies for Europe EDHEC Business School Lille & Nice France
B.A. International Business and Marketing Florida International University

Advisory Board Members

Thank YOU for your support

Taylor Anne Abess

Founder & Creative Director, Parlor Miami

Oscar Carvallo

Artistic Director OCP USA, LLC

Menchu Dominicis

Owner, J.A. Uniforms

Barbara Hulanicki

Founder Biba & Hu Design, Inc.

Elysze Held

Stylist/Consultant, Founder Style Out of the City

Rene Ruiz

Founder & Creative Designer Rene Ruiz Wholesale

Godfrey Del Rio

Personal Stylist, Bloomingdales

Julian Chang

Fashion Designer Fashion with Intension

Oscar Feldenkreis

CEO & President Perry Ellis International

Merline Labissiere


Juan Lopez

Vice President & General Manager Saks Fifth Avenue, Dadeland

Rosemary Pringle

Retired, Lead Fashion Instructor,Design and Architecture Senior High