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A Closer Look at Skingraft's New, Polished DTLA Store

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Skingraft's founder and designer, Jonny Cota, debuted the line in 2006 to the local industry and quickly became one of LA fashion's favorite names. Since then, Skingraft has evolved tremendously, first with a NYFW debut and recently a brand new Downtown LA store, leaving an impressive footprint on LA's fashion scene and the industry as a whole. Known best for the intricate leather details and monotone color scheme, the line has become a destination for lover's of fashion as an art form. "Five years ago the Skingraft customer was the downtown freaks and artists of CA and NYC," Cota explains of the brand's expansion. "Now our customer is diverse, international and excited by self-expression through fashion."

Skingraft's hot fall collection focuses on outerwear made of wool, leather and fur with the perfect addition of leather boots. "[It is] inspired by arctic cultures such as Mongolian and Siberian," the designer told us. "And playful layers of cotton t-shirts, silk blouses and woven tunics." We can't wait to get our hands on that knit tuque and that wolf-inspired snapback. Fancy headwear? Yes, please.

First things first, you just opened a brand new Skingraft store, what's changed?
So much has changed for us and yet still everything remains the same. We have matured a great deal as a brand since we opened our first store six years ago and you can feel that evolution from the moment you step foot in the store. However, we are still doing what we love and staying true to our vision of design and aesthetics.

Why do you love this area for your studio and store?
I was born and raised in California and it's beauty is almost overwhelming at times. There is room to breathe and be inspired and design without being piled on top of hundreds of other designers in a few mile radius such as NYC. I used to cringe at the casualness of LA fashion but now I cherish it in a weird way as a unique filter that prioritizes comfort and healthy living in fashion.

How did you come up with the name Skingraft?
The first collection of jackets were made with very little budget so we pieced together leather scraps from vintage garments no bigger than the size of my hand. The finished jackets were made from hundreds of tiny scraps and terrible sewing skills and it looked like these crazy skingrafts coming together to form a jacket.

Tell us about your design process.
Candles, minimal lighting, head wraps, whiskey and a sketch pad. I choose an inspiration for the season and get to work. I call it daydreaming with a deadline. I wasn't trained as a designer so I have been making it up as I go since the inception of the brand.

Where do you find inspiration for your collections?
Every Skingraft collection has been inspired by something old and ancient mixed with something very current or even future. Past collections have been inspired by Mongolian mountain tribes, African body modifications, classic equestrian riding and Santeria rituals mixed with newer ideas such as grunge, rave culture, LA latino metalheads and motorcycle futurism.

What piece epitomizes the line?
Skingraft leather jacket... 100%

You've worked closely with a lot of celebs, any big moments?
Celebrity culture has never really interested me too much and maybe that has contributed to our portfolio of dressing celebrities because we treat those opportunities very similar to how we treat any of our clients. A number of the celebrities wearing Skingraft actually come shop at the store themselves because we have established a very relaxed energy at the store that doesn't pedestal celebrities and instead just treats them as friends and individuals.

Anything new and exciting on the horizon for you and the brand?
We have some tricks up our sleeves that will be revealed next year that will see an exciting expansion of what we do.
· Skingraft [Official Site]
· Skingraft Opens Sleek New Flagship Store in DTLA [Racked]
· Skingraft's Jonny Cota Loves Leather, Hates Slouchy Boots [Racked]
· Explore the Eye-Popping Optical Haven of Garrett Leight [Racked]