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In Conversation With: Jonathan Simkhai

We might only be in July, but American designer Jonathan Simkhai has already had an extremely busy year. First, he relocated his label’s headquarters to Los Angeles. Then, he presented his fall 2018 collection in February, in New York. Now, he’s getting ready to open the brand’s first ever physical store, which will also be in LA, all while juggling upcoming shows and collections. And we thought we had it difficult…
By Clara Virieux.

A passionate artist in its purest form, Jonathan Simkhai’s extreme attention to detail comes from years of experience, first starting as an assistant buyer for a local boutique at the very young age of 14 only to be promoted as buyer and merchandiser within the year. Upon graduating from high school, Simkhai enrolled for classes at the Parsons School of Design, as well as the Fashion Institute of Technology. After attending two of New York’s most prestigious fashion schools, he went on to work for his family’s fashion manufacturing company, where he learned about everything required to start your own business-which he eventually did in 2010 when he established his eponymous label. Is your head spinning already? Because ours sure is.

Seeking to empower women through his designs, he believes them to be at their best, physically and mentally, when they walk around with ease and fierce confidence. His collections are infused with sophistication and sartorial impact; a hypnotizing combination that makes for some of today’s most coveted statement pieces.

Continuously incorporating menswear codes into his work, his ambiguous approach to fashion allows boundary pushing creations crafted from luxurious fabrics to come to life. There’s a certain uniqueness about his creative process. A uniqueness he’s truly made his own over the years, and even more so since winning the Vogue/CFDA’s 2015 Fashion Fund. It’s safe to say no one quite does refined yet athletic yet tailored like this New York native. Find out more about the genius behind the clothes through our exclusive Q&A interview right below!

What is the ethos of your brand?
I aim to provide luxury ready-to-wear to the modern woman. The core aesthetic of the brand plays with the tension of feminine strength and sensuality, with craft and fabric innovation being at the heart of each design. It is important for me that women feel confident yet at ease when wearing Simkhai.

What is the inspiration behind your Pre-Fall collection?
The inspiration behind the Pre-Fall collection was the adaptability of womanhood, and the understated flexibility that I find to be a defining factor of the modern woman and her wardrobe. The Pre-Fall 2018 season, therefore, provides new classics with unexpected twists, focusing on silhouette and form.

What is your first fashion memory?
I have the best memories of skipping school to go shopping! I was drawn to fashion at such a young age and shopping was one of the first ways I could express myself through clothing design as well as begin to build an understanding of silhouettes and fabrication.

Living or deceased, who are your style icons (and why)?
Vanessa Traina. I love how she embodies an effortless and feminine style.

What is your top fashion tip?
Confidence is the best way a woman can dress.

What is your favorite fashion decade (and why)?
My favorite decade in fashion is the Victorian Era. I love drawing inspiration from that time to weave into modern styles for the 21st century woman.

What is your favorite karaoke song?
“How Many Licks” by Lil Kim.

Describe your perfect day.
It would probably involve hiking Runyon, possibly wine tasting in Malibu, laying on the beach, and cooking at home. And of course, being with my family - my husband, two children, and dogs.

What is your proudest achievement thus far?
There have been so many incredible moments over my fashion career but looking back, I think winning the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund and dressing Michelle Obama.

What’s on your bucket list?
I have so much I would love to still do and see, but I have been thinking a lot lately about owning my own wine vineyard one day.

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