Having established a strong reputation in women’s luxury fashion, Jonathan Simkhai is now venturing into men’s wear.
His journey in the fashion world, beginning as an 11-year-old in a sweater outlet, becoming an assistant buyer at a New York boutique at 14 to a successful brand owner, is marked by resilience and dedication. Despite academic setbacks at Parsons and FIT, Simkhai capitalized on his retail experience and family’s involvement in garment manufacturing to enhance his skills.
He said, “Whatever I needed to do, I tried to do it”, encapsulating his spirit of commitment. Notably, he took part in the CFDA Fashion Incubator program, fostering the up-and-coming fashion talents in New York City, and followed their guidance faithfully. “I take a lot of pride in being a New York designer“, he admitted.
Following his dedication, Simkhai was nominated for the International Woolmark Prize in 2014 and debuted his first runway show in 2015, the same year he was honored with the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award. The designer’s commitment has significantly reflected in his company’s financial performance with $55 million sales in 2022.
Jonathan’s success in women’s wear has motivated him to venture into men’s fashion. During an exclusive preview of his men’s collection at his SoHo store, he stated, “Now I’m finally making something for myself, my brothers and my dad”.
The launch of the men’s collection marks an extension of the brand’s rebranding to “Simkhai” that was unveiled during the designer’s Fall/Winter 2023 runway show in New York in February.
He envisions his men’s collection to bridge the gap in the market for timeless, fashionable pieces. His men’s line is designed to be “sophisticated sexy in a modern way”, akin to his subtly sexy women’s collection.
However, his first men’s collection is more concise. Simkhai explained, “I wanted to start with what I would wear. It’s my perfect wardrobe”. While the women’s line is intentionally extensive to cater to a broad audience, the men’s collection is crafted in a way that any man could buy a complete wardrobe. His line is, “inspired by geometry and architectural shapes”, highlighting the importance of fit, fabric and details in menswear.
The collection, expected to ship in October, inspired by geometry and architectural shapes, ranges from $300 to $1,200 and includes a variety of pieces from a double-breasted tech twill wool-blend suit to fine-gauge knits.
Partnering with visual artist George Harvey, the collection features shirt prints inspired by Simkhai’s move from New York to Los Angeles. Available at Simkhai’s retail stores and online, the collection represents a transitional wardrobe, paving the way for a spring collection with swimwear.
The collection will be available in the brand’s retail stores in SoHo and Southampton, New York, and L.A. and Dallas. It will also be sold online and possibly in limited wholesale. Beyond the men’s launch, Simkhai aims to expand his brand and hopes to open 10 stores by year-end.
Being a self-funded venture, the brand enjoys a robust online presence and collaborates with renowned retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Selfridges, Harrods, and Net-a-porter both domestically and internationally.