A New York Fashion Week Minute with Jonny Cota

September 12, 2013 4:34 PM

Even during crunch time, Skingraft designer Jonny Cota happily opened up to TWELV about his first New York Fashion Week show. If the California native was frazzled or even slightly nervous, he did not let on. Just an hour before his Spring/Summer 2014 collection, which includes his first solid venture into color, was to debut, Cota exuded a kept and breezy demeanor. 

How are you feeling right now?

“I’m good. You know, an hour ago, I was ready to throw up, but right now, I’m super excited.” 

Can you tell us a little bit about your collection?

"We’re a leather brand; I love leather. So sometimes spring is a challenge for me. So this time I was thinking, ‘How do we bring our leather story into the spring/summer market?’ So this collection is inspired by exoskeletons, and I found it in two places: I was finding it in sportswear, in football pads and baseball armor and all the different things, which is kind of fetishistic and very interesting; and also, we produce in Bali, and there [are] these tribes in Papua New Guinea that have skeleton warpaint. They paint skeletons on their bodies, and I was just so mesmerized by that. I was seeing a lot of similar shapes, and it was making me further understand sportswear armor as an exoskeleton. So there’s a lot of that in this season. And with exoskeletons, you can have skin, you can have mesh, and then you have places of heart. So that’s our spring collection. It’s hard and soft. There’s skin, there’s structure, and I hope the show really shows that."

Being a California native, would you say that the west coast influences your designs?

"California definitely influences my designs. We just opened a store here, but we still have our home base in L.A. There’s a freedom there; there’s fewer designers there, fewer expectations, I feel like there’s a freedom to design without expectation, without as many of the rules of the industry that I feel in New York, from the moment I land. And I think that’s good; I think it allows us to design from the heart, and I hope it shows in what we do." 

Can you describe your customer?

"When we started, my target market was young, artistic people who want to express their creativity through fashion and aesthetics. And I still think that’s very much our customer, but I’ve been so pleasantly surprised to see such a wider range of people buy the brand and use it as a vehicle to feel fierce, to feel edgy, to feel creative, even if they work a boring office job or whatever. So it’s been really exciting to see our customer base expand to not just the young artists and [art enthusiasts] but anyone who really wants to express themselves in the aesthetic that we’re portraying."  

Well thank you so much, and good luck!

"Thank you. Thank you so much!"






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