New On The Catwalk

Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan Cohen was born and raised in California to Mexican parents, but it was in New York at the Parsons School of Design that he found his aesthetic voice. During his time in and out of Parsons, Jonathan worked along various designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Doo.ri Chung, Ashleigh Verrier and Patricia Field.

" Jonathan designs for the woman that is bold, elegant, and equally rebellious."

His work is influenced by the multi-dimensional influences of sub-culture, construction, places and music. Whether it’s the classic rock concerts his father took him to as a young boy, the bright and eccentric art of Mexico City, or the way the surfers in his hometown wore their wetsuits, each characterisitc presents itself in Jonathan’s well-executed designs.

  • Jonathan Cohen Interview

    ___ What would you be doing if you were not designing fashion?

    I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. But my second passion is music. I wanted to be a songwriter and took voice lessons but I was terrible that I just let that go. I would want to be part of the music Industry, maybe the business end, like owning my own record label. The starting point of every collection is “what is this girl listening to?” that always manifests itself into the attitude of the clothing.

    ___ Despite the different styles of music, what is the common thread running through the Jonathan cohen girl?

    I’ve been thinking a lot about that recently. I just read the Patti Smith biography and watched this documentary about different generations of female artists in New York (like Nancy Sparrow). I imagined a woman like that, whether she’s an artist or she owns a gallery or is an editor. I pictured these women that are really involved in the craft of what they do and who are really passionate and though this might be cliché to say, but women who are independent. They can be with someone but they are still very much individuals and have their own sense of who they are. I always imagined her an artistic type, whether it’s an artist, a poet, a writer or anything along these lines. She’s complex, not an easy one to figure out. There are a lot of sides to her.

    ___ What is the cultural influence of your work?

    I grew up in san diego and both of my parents are from Mexico City and i live in New York, so I have a range of women that I think about. She is someone who travels and sees different things. In Mexico the way people dress is a little more refined (like, no shorts) and more colorful. I’ve actually been to Frida Kahlo’s house in Mexico City and her work has always had an influence on me, it’s given me that boldness in color. In San Diego I grew up five minutes from the beach. In my mind that was normal until I got here and everyone was like “what?” that’s where the relaxed feel of my clothes comes in, a sort of beachy casual vibe. So really all these cultural influences come together in my work.

    ___ What kind of music inspires you?

    For the last collection I was listening to a lot of Pink Floyd. They’re very rock and roll but they’re mellow. My dad listened to a lot of classic rock when I was growing up and would take me to Fleetwood Mac concerts and Aerosmith concerts. I know he sounds like this hippie druggie but he’s not at all, that’s just what he exposed me to. So I listen to a lot of classic rock. The gorillaz totally inspired my fall collection. I just went to their show. Bobby Womack was on stage, Lou Reed was on stage: it was amazing! I grew up listening to a lot of Madonna so i guess that’s where you can see the influence of my hard and soft, it’s elegant but at the same time it has this edge to it that makes it rebellious. Going into the spring collection I’ve been listening to a lot of hole and courtney love. Live through this is a great album. And Nirvana. Empire of the Sun, they’re like modern disco. So i have a huge range.

    ___ What is your design philosophy?

    Colorful, it’s obvious to say, but also elegant, rebellious and whimsical: complete opposites that come together.