The apple of the big apple’s eye is back at Calexico and it’s fair to say we’re a bit excited. To get you in the mood, we’re delving behind Jonathan Simkai, sharing with you a few of our favourite things about the brand and the man behind it (who is total eye candy by the way, we’ve included a picture at the bottom of the article for your viewing pleasure) that you may not know, but certainly ought to.
Born and raised in Westchester, New York, Jonathan Simkhai was exposed to elements of the fashion industry from a young age. With his grandfather having owned a lace factory in Iran in the 1970s, he always recognised this piece of his heritage and family history as a driving force behind his path in becoming a designer, further evoking it as inspiration within his design aesthetic. He has revealed that his focus on developing and customising lace fabrics within his collections is a subtle nod to his heritage and tribute to his family legacy.
An alumni of Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology, the early success of his fledgling label launched him into the CFDA program, known as the “Fashion Incubator”, where he was able to further hone his quality and attention to craftsmanship, creating hand-made pieces with the needs of the modern woman forefront in his stride. He describes his own aesthetic as modern, architectural, elegant; reflected in his careful selection of customised fabrics, romantic detailing, linear lines, and contoured silhouettes.
Simkhai has been noted as saying that he creates shapes based around elements of menswear, after recognising that there was a lack of strong silhouettes with the femininity needed to make them relevant within the women’s market. He focuses on combining delicate textures and intricate detailing with an element of edge, working with fabrics that can be manipulated to create linear lines and contour the figure in a way that is flattering.
He has always tied his interest in fashion to shopping with his mother as a child, where she would try things on and seek out his opinion. This sentimental and nostalgic reminder of how special he felt to have a voice and a perspective on style shaped his desire to dedicate his career in trying to help women look and feel their best.
Before launching his label, he gained extensive experience as a merchandiser and buyer, which equipped him with the tools he needed as a designer to anticipate the busy modern woman’s penchant for exquisitely detailed yet wearable designs that coincide with her life and personal style. He describes the Jonathan Simkhai woman as having an appreciation for fashion and fearlessness in her approach to style, playing on the versatility of his designs for all her wardrobe needs.
In 2015, Jonathan Simkhai was announced as the winner of the prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, which recognised his contributions in reinvigorating American fashion and redefining the 21st century New York wardrobe. He often claims that it is his love for New York City that serves as a main source of inspiration in many of his designs, through his use of architectural elements within his pieces that have been borrowed from his urban surroundings.
Also, did we mention that he’s flipping gorgeous? His picture as promised. You’re welcome.