We had the good fortune of connecting with Jonny Cota and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jonny, what do you attribute your success to?
Success is easy. Longevity is the challenge. My brand has experienced extreme highs and extreme lows over the past 13 years, but our resilience and our ability to stay on our path towards success relies mostly on one thing; strong brand identity. It’s most important to know who you are as a brand, what you stand for and what makes you stand out above the noise. It’s easy to get swept away by successful moments in your career and begin to lose sight of what you originally stood for so it’s crucial to constantly remind yourself, your team and the entire brand of who you are and where you are going. Anyone can create a brand. What makes your brand unforgettable?
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My path as a fashion designer has been an unconventional one to say the least. I started out in the circus as a performer and costume designer and eventually decided to translate the inspiration into fashion. I had no formal training as a designer and definitely not a single clue on how to start a successful business. However, looking back on my early journey I know that this lack of conventional wisdom of my craft helped me approach my brand without any rules or limitations and I followed my gut with every decision I made. Though I have great respect for fashion and business schools, I feel that my approach in my career was guided by a naive but ravenous energy that helped me build a fearless fashion brand that has accomplished so much over 13 successful years.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m an eastside boy when it comes to LA life. If I had a best friend in town and wanted to show them a good time I would start downtown at ROW DTLA where my shop is but also where a lot of other very cool boutique brands have inspired little shops. Late afternoon oysters and bubbles at Rappahannock, then pop by Soho Warehouse for sunset drinks. Dinner would be in Silverlake at Stella and then we would start our night at LA’s favorite queer dive bar, Akbar, After that, anything is possible.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My brother Chris Cota is also my business partner at Jonny Cota Studio. He is my other half in all things business. Without his business-minded sense of things and his obsession with operations and efficiency, my brand wouldn’t be able to survive. My creativity and designs rely on a strong system of manufacturing, management and sales and without that strong support there wouldn’t even be a brand to design for. I feel so fortunate that I get to travel this exciting journey of entrepreneurship with my brother, Chris Cota, everyday.