Words by Taylor Dent — Photographs by Jenny Kim

Last week, we swung by the Skingraft store in Downtown L.A. to scope out clothing from the spring ’14 collection. This season, Jonny Cota, the creative director of the streetwear line, created more than two dozen tees, shorts and dresses, all made from his signature blend of black leather and jersey fabrics. But to change things up a bit, Cota also crossed over into colored and textured fabric as well, using vibrant blues and yellows in some of the women’s designs.

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We wanted to know a bit more about his inspiration, so I wrote the designer a few questions, to which he kindly responded:

Taylor Dent: Your designs before spring 2014 were all darker and monochromatic. What led you to experiment with prints and color for this season?

Jonny Cota: I’ve been wearing black almost every day since I was 13 years old. As a designer, I have to constantly push myself out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to evolve with each season. Experimenting with print and color for the spring collection was incredibly refreshing and just like a night sky, the light is most beautiful in a sea of black.

TD: Did you have a favorite piece from the spring 2014 collection?

JC: I really loved the hightop sneaker sandals in the men’s spring collection. They were so polarizing on the runway, you either loved them or absolutely hated their existence. I obviously fancied them but I really appreciated that they commanded such a fiery response from everyone. They also look like exactly what I would want to wear to visit a beach on a distant planet.


TD: What’s the best compliment you’ve gotten on your work?

JC: I’m not the best at receiving compliments. It is something I want to work on. The best compliment to me is when you buy something from my collection. It means you value something I have created and want to add it to your life. Watching the sales figures rise each season is what excites me.

TD: I understand you’re in Bali right now working on the spring ‘15 collection. Can you give us a hint of what we can expect?

JC: We are really pushing ourselves this season to bring Skingraft to the next level. The inspiration will be viewed by many as coming from a very dark place, but the end result will be filled with light and hope. Imagine sophisticated athletics on the planet Venus.

TD: Finally, are you reading anything right now?

JC: Sadly, no. Every waking moment these days is consumed by Skingraft.

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