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Doni Nahmias on the LA fashion uprising and the fusion of sports and luxury

By Rachel Douglass


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People |Interview

Designer Doni Nahmias. Credits: Nahmias.

While LA may be known for its illustrious film industry embedded in Hollywood culture, from which stars materialise as beacons of success on a global scale, there is also an underlying precedence in emerging talent that is shaping the subcultures that define the city’s wider lifestyle. Among these underdogs has emerged Doni Nahmias.

On moving to the ‘City of Angels’ after graduating from high school, he set about establishing his eponymous brand as a luxury streetwear label. It was a status Nahmias was seemingly able to achieve, as evidenced in the brand’s popularity with celebrity clientele, some of whom became collaborators of the brand later in its lifespan. Rapper Kodak Black, for example, worked with Nahmias on a collection unveiled at Paris Fashion Week FW23, through which the duo explored 90s hip-hop culture that informed their youth.

Nahmias has also expanded his influence beyond just the brand. In late 2023, he was named the creative strategist for the ice hockey team Arizona Coyotes, a position through which he has revealed multiple merchandise collections. The partnership leans heavily on the rising fusion between sports, fashion and luxury, offering fans items that blend seamlessly between wardrobes.

On the back of Nahmias’ Selfridges pop-up, part of its first phase of entering the UK market, and a recent partnership with artist Andrés Reisinger for a gallery takeover and collaborative collection, FashionUnited spoke to the designer and entrepreneur on the current state of streetwear, the LA fashion uprising and what is on the horizon for the fast-moving brand.

Nahmias x Andrés Reisinger collaborative collection. Credits: Nahmias.

Tell me a little about your journey to LA and the process of becoming a designer there.

I started designing in high school back in my hometown of Summerland, California. After graduation, I quickly realised that Los Angeles was where I needed to be to pursue my dreams in fashion. At first, I worked odd jobs as a server and bartender. It was a slow grind, but I kept pushing forward, investing every paycheck into Nahmias.

As someone from outside of the city, what were some distinct parts of its fashion industry that you found you had to adapt to?

Adapting to the LA fashion industry was both challenging and rewarding. One distinct aspect I had to adapt to was the fast-paced nature of the industry. Things move quickly here, and you have to be ready to keep up. I had to put myself out there, reaching out to stylists and industry professionals, forging connections that eventually led to partnerships and collaborations.

How would you describe the LA fashion industry and scene today? How has it changed since you first arrived?

The LA fashion industry today is vibrant and diverse, reflecting the city’s culture and lifestyle. Since I first arrived, I've seen significant growth and evolution in the scene. There's a newfound appreciation for authenticity and individuality, with emerging designers making waves alongside established brands.

A look from Nahmias' AW24 collection 'Summerland Ranch'. Credits: Nahmias.

What opportunities and challenges does it currently present?

One challenge is the competitiveness. With so many talented designers and brands vying for attention, standing out can be tough. However, this also presents opportunities for collaboration and innovation. LA's fashion scene thrives on creativity and collaboration, and there's always room for fresh perspectives and new voices.

With the increased exposure of LA Fashion Week and an influx of luxury brands taking to the city to present their collections, it appears that LA is on the up. What do you think needs to be done to further build on this?

LA Fashion Week has definitely gained momentum in recent years, attracting attention from both industry insiders and fashion enthusiasts worldwide. I think fostering a supportive and inclusive community is essential, as is embracing diversity and providing platforms for emerging talent - this will help LA solidify its position on the global fashion stage.

How do you envision the future of the city’s fashion industry?

I see LA's fashion scene continuing to evolve into a hub of innovation and creativity, where designers from all backgrounds are celebrated and empowered. By nurturing talent and fostering collaboration we can ensure that LA remains at the forefront of the fashion industry.

You have also taken part in Paris Fashion Week in the past. How was this experience for you?

Participating in Paris Fashion Week is always an incredible experience that pushes me out of my comfort zone and exposes me to a new level of the industry. The energy and excitement of Paris during fashion week is palpable, and being surrounded by some of the world's most influential designers is definitely inspiring & motivating.

Kodak Black in the finale of Nahmias' AW23 show during PFW. Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

What was it about this city that motivated you to participate?

What motivated me was the opportunity to showcase the Nahmias brand on a global stage and connect with a broader audience. Paris is the epitome of high fashion and creativity, and it’s exciting to see how Nahmias resonates in such a prestigious environment.

Let's talk celebrity collaborations. What do you look for in a collaborator?

When considering celebrity collaborations, authenticity is paramount for me. I look for collaborators who genuinely connect with the brand and share our values and vision. It's not just about the star power, it’s about working with people who align with Nahmias' ethos and can authentically represent what we stand for.

How has your relationship with celebrity clients and partners evolved since you started out?

My relationships have evolved organically over time. Starting out, it was about building real, meaningful relationships and establishing trust. As Nahmias gained recognition and credibility, our relationships with celebrities deepened, leading to more meaningful collaborations and partnerships. It's been incredibly rewarding to see how our brand has resonated with such influential figures in entertainment and sports.

Chris Brown and Doni Nahmias at the Nahmias x Andrés Reisinger collection launch and gallery takeover at at Maxfield LA. Credits: Nahmias.

You have also recently become the creative strategist for the Arizona Coyotes. What new challenges does this partnership present?

Joining the Arizona Coyotes has been a really exciting new venture for me. It presents unique challenges, such as translating design concepts into the world of sports apparel and engaging with a diverse fan base. However, it also offers exciting opportunities to bridge the worlds of luxury, sports, streetwear, and fashion.

What is your perspective on the increased merging of luxury, sports, streetwear and fashion?

The merging of these industries reflects a broader cultural shift towards inclusivity and self-expression. Sports and fashion have always been intertwined, but now more than ever, we're seeing a blurring of boundaries as athletes become style icons and fashion brands collaborate with sports teams. It's an exciting time to be at the intersection of these worlds, and I'm eager to continue exploring the creative possibilities it presents.

Apparel line designed by Doni Nahmias for the Arizona Coyotes and Bauer Hockey. Credits: Nahmias x Arizona Coyotes.

How are both the menswear and streetwear categories faring the current environment?

Both categories continue to thrive in the current fashion environment, driven by evolving consumer preferences and cultural trends. The demand for menswear, in particular, has grown as men become more fashion-conscious and seek out versatile, high-quality garments.

What has the demand from streetwear consumers been like and how have their needs changed in recent years?

In streetwear, we're seeing a shift towards more elevated and tailored styles, reflecting a desire for sophistication while still embracing the comfort and individuality of streetwear. Consumers are looking for pieces that seamlessly blend style with functionality, allowing them to express themselves authentically in any setting.

Most recently, you unveiled a new space in Selfridges. Can you tell me a little bit about the process of setting this up and what inspired the shop-in-shop?

Selfridges was an exciting opportunity to bring Nahmias to a new audience and showcase our brand in a prestigious retail environment. We were inspired by Selfridges' reputation for innovation and creativity, and we saw it as the perfect platform to introduce Nahmias to the UK market.

A look from Nahmias' SS24 'Queen of the Coast' collection. Credits: Nahmias.

When connecting with potential retail partners what do you look for?

We look for alignment in values, aesthetics, and brand positioning. It's essential to find partners who understand our vision and can provide a supportive platform for our brand to thrive. Selfridges offered us that opportunity, and we're thrilled to be part of their curated selection of luxury menswear brands.

Finally, what is on the horizon for Nahmias in the coming months?

In the coming months, Nahmias will continue to expand our offerings and collaborations, exploring new avenues for creative expression and growth. We have some exciting projects in the works, including building our presence in accessories and tailoring.

Where do you envision the brand in the next few years?

Looking ahead, I envision Nahmias as a global lifestyle brand that celebrates the spirit of California living while pushing the boundaries of luxury fashion. We'll continue to prioritise authenticity, innovation, and sustainability, staying true to our roots while evolving with the ever-changing landscape of the industry.

Doni Nahmias
Los Angeles