Born-and-raised New Yorker Jonathan Simkhai has been racking up the Air Miles lately. The designer, who is known for his romantic, feminine clothing, recently relocated his design studio to L.A. Then, after presenting his latest resort collection in Sydney, Australia, this summer, he was on the road again, jetting to Toronto to host his first Canadian pop-up at Yorkville boutique TNT. We got him to stay in one spot long enough to talk about Cali, inspo and the future of Fashion Week.
On moving to California
“The way the landscape is…the air and the spaces are very open. Even our studio has an indoor/outdoor space. It has really opened my mind and my design soul, if you will. Sometimes, designing in New York felt very peripheral; you’re just so focused on one thing that you don’t have time to stop and look around you.”
On evolving as a designer
“When you start, you have an idea of who you think your customer is, but then your customer turns out to be someone different. So you begin to understand, and then you fall in love with them and you’re constantly challenged with designing for their needs.”
On why he designs his own fabrics
“There are so many things you’re tasked with on a daily basis that you’re not that excited about; fashion allows you to get excited about those moments. You can put something on to escape that reality and go on a journey in your dressing—the customized fabrics really help create that feeling.”
On the future of Fashion Week
“Fashion shows are always very exciting for the team, even though they feel like a lot of work and they sometimes get the best of you. One of the things that could be done better is to include more young designers. It feels like we’re constantly trying to find new talent, but at the same time, there’s so much more that can be done to nurture emerging talent.”
A version of this article appeared in the September 2019 issue of ELLE Canada. Subscribe now.