Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonny Cota.
Jonny, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I got my start in fashion design while I was performing as a stilt walker in a San Francisco-based circus troupe. I was surrounded by all these amazing costumes and characters and it really inspired me to start designing costumes for the cast. My costume business, SKINGRAFT, launched in 2005 but soon turned into ready-to-wear collections and in 2008, I opened my first brick and mortar in downtown Los Angeles and rebranded as a fashion line, leaving costuming behind. Since then, I’ve opened four stores, showed seasonally at NYFW and most recently, I was cast on, and won, Making the Cut, the first fashion design competition on Amazon Prime Video.
Has it been a smooth road?
The road to my current success has been far from smooth but the challenges have shaped me into the designer I am today. Most of the stores I opened I have also had to close at some point, relocate or close permanently. My most recent venture is a new contact-free, pandemic proof Jonny Cota concept store at ROW DTLA and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
The company has scaled up and scaled down multiple times over the years. My greatest lesson during this journey is that as a designer and business owner, you have to be flexible to change and always ready to pivot. Our failures can become our greatest lessons and can mold us into even more successful entrepreneurs in the future. Most recently, I won Making the Cut and it really put my entire journey into perspective. All the ups and all the downs were significant moments in creating my career.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am most proud of finding my distinct voice as a designer and surviving and thriving in an industry that can be rather harsh at times to young visionaries. I used to say I was a leather guy, and leather jackets were my specialty (and they still are), but recently I’ve started to see a larger vision for my brand that moves beyond leather and streetwear and embraces a fully realized lifestyle vision. I recently just launched my first jewelry, candle, incense and signature parfum and hoped to continue to expand my brand’s lifestyle offerings.
Who else deserves credit – have you had mentors, supporters, cheerleaders, advocates, clients or teammates that have played a big role in your success or the success of the business? If so – who are they and what role did they plan / how did they help.
I am nothing without my team and my family and every successful moment in my career can be attributed to their support. My brother is my business partner and has been by my side through every chapter of our growth as a business. My husband and my family have also been huge supporters and are often the ones steaming racks of clothes at midnight before my store openings. And finally, one of my greatest supports these days comes from the team at Amazon. After winning ‘Making the Cut’ I was able to launch my namesake label and Jonny Cota Studio, an exclusive collection on Amazon. They have really mentored me in a powerful way to bring my collection to a wider audience with a diverse range of sizes, fabrics, colors and marketing.
- SKINGRAFT: $50 – $1000
- Jonny Cota Lifestyle Products: $40 – 175
- Jonny Cota Studios: $40 – $750
- Address: 767 S Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
- Website: https://www.jonnycota.com/
- Phone: (213) 315-0505