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Jonathan Simkhai: Strictly For The Driven

At Jonathan Simkhai’s Midtown studio, everything takes place under one roof. Upon entering the space we stumbled into a lookbook shoot, where a bare breasted model was hopping into her next outfit, while seamstresses in the backroom were crafting together some of Simkhai’s recent works. The energy was high, and the designer himself was proudly overlooking everything happening around him—everything he made happen. With his first runway show set to debut at MADE Fashion Week, Jonathan Simkhai filled us in on exactly why he creates for women, and the theme behind his FW15 collection—cars.

"I think fashion is a form of expression and a way of getting through life’s bumps," Jonathan says. "I think that sometimes you just wake up and are not in the right mood to get things done. So it’s about throwing on great pieces, getting through those humps, feeling great about what you’re wearing, and having confidence."

At his namesake label, these pieces started speaking to the New York city woman. "I definitely think about my girl and where she’s going, what she’s doing and giving her the right things to wear." This special “girl” is, "…a creative, passionate, determined woman who makes things happen."

Jonathan draws his cues from the women he’s been surrounded by his entire life and caters to their needs. He first began to understand this need at the age of fourteen, working in a clothing boutique which granted him first hand experience in guiding females through their shopping experience. "I just felt a sense of value in myself when women would come to me asking me for advice at the store."

"Growing up here with a lot of women," he continues, "watching them go through different points of life, and getting through it all is very inspiring. I grew up relatively 45 minutes outside of the city, and a lot of my friends moved to Manhattan. Seeing what they went through when it came to job interviews, dates, and work events really taught me what they needed and what it takes."

After traveling around the world and having his clothes sold on an international level, Jonathan’s begun to connect with customers from distant places. "It’s nice to see what they’re going through in a different part of the world. The collection also has a different need and a different kind of meaning to different women, so understanding that is nice to bring back to the studio."

The mood board for his Fall/Winter ’15 collection – keeping that driven woman in mind – receives a vehicular twist. This stems from his brother’s need for speed in the form of prints of car interiors and wiring. "My brother bought a new car and Instagramed this video. It’s like a race-car and he took it off the road to the racetrack and drove it past the speed limit. Watching the video, I loved how gutsy he was and how he had this dream and just went for it knowing it’s scary and that there’s a risk involved. That’s what I want the Fall/Winter girl to do. I want her to go for it. That’s what the collection’s about— fearlessness and pushing the pedal to the medal."

Jonathan Simkhai is showing at MADE Fashion Week Thursday, February 12th at 10AM.

Photographs shot exclusively for MilkMade by Mitchell McClennan

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