Meet Doni Nahmias, L.A.’s Next Great Menswear Designer

Now stocked at Studio C, the brand offers luxe California-inspired wares favored by sports stars and musical prodigies



Growing up in Santa Barbara, Doni Nahmias’ afternoons were spent in Summerland, a coastal enclave south of Montecito, where he and his friends would kick back and go to the beach. Now working from his downtown L.A. studio, the fashion designer likens the youthful memories of the town to a dream state: a symbol of respite turned graphic motif throughout his collections. The ocean and sand inform the fabric’s treatment, whereby the luxurious sheen of silk is met with a sand wash technique, resulting in a worn-in look. You could go so far as to say the collection wallows in a blissful nostalgia of yesteryear, synthesized through a distinctly Californian lens.


Twenty-seven-year-old DONI NAHMIAS in his Downtown Los Angeles studio. Photos by The Glass Camera.


Since launching in 2018, Nahmias has emerged onto the L.A. scene with force, looking to join the likes of Amiri, Rhude and John Elliot as the city’s premier menswear talent. H.Lorenzo in West Hollywood was the first to showcase the designer’s wares, proving to be a gateway to Maxfield, fashion-forward e-tailer SSENSE, and international behemoths Harrods and Browns.

High-profile celebrity placements have been plentiful; none bigger than Justin Bieber, who sang along to fan favorites on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke while donning the brand’s best-selling Miracle trucker hat. Most recently, the brand released a collaboration with The Shoe Surgeon, featuring a reworked custom Converse sneaker.

Beyond Bieber, performing artists J. Cole and Miguel have taken to the brand, along with a slew of world-renowned athletes, such as NBA stars James Harden and P.J. Tucker. Finding a fanbase in both of those worlds was perhaps inevitable given Nahmias’ admiration for the distinct style cultivated by rock legends (Kurt Cobain, for one), and his own past as a basketball player (since he was 2 years old).


NAHMIAS Summerland knit sweater, $650, from the Spring/Summer 2021 lookbook. Photo by Megan Goucher.


“It’s a complete fusion of my childhood when it comes to surf, skate and sports. I just find ways to incorporate it all and put it in a new environment”



This fusion of interests manifests itself in the collection by way of slouchy silhouettes seen in the sweaters, hoodies and T-shirts, lending themselves to a casual, irreverent style. There is a pair of reimagined football pants presented as a garment for leisure rather than sport. Drawstring shorts cut from silk are an elevated take on activewear, while hoodies feature screen-printed graphics like a basketball perfectly swished in a hoop accompanied by text that reads “Shoot Hoops Not Guns!” On the other hand, velvet and paisley silk button-ups work for a vintage bohemian flair a la Lenny Kravitz, even an androgynous, glamorous look championed by David Bowie.

Now, as his Fall/Winter 2020 collection of coastal-inspired hats and ready-to-wear bridging the gap between urban streetwear and SoCal sportswear lands at Studio C, we catch up with the designer to learn what piqued his interest in fashion, how his Santa Barbara upbringing influences his style, and how he manifested his mentorship from Mike Amiri.


When did your interest in fashion begin?
I think, starting junior high, I really was drawn to designer jeans. And then I got drawn into that whole streetwear culture, as per most younger teens do going into high school. So when I was 17 to 18, I figured I would try and start a brand.

What did those early days look like?
I was just driving back and forth from Santa Barbara to L.A. a few times a week after work. I was working at a spot in Carpinteria called Esau’s Café. I had the opening shifts at 5:30 a.m., so I’d get off work by about 2 p.m., and from there, I’d drive down to L.A. to meet with a pattern maker. After commuting so much, I realized I needed to be down in L.A., so I moved.


NAHMIAS corduroy Summerland trucker hat, $185, from the Spring/Summer 2021 lookbook. Photo by Megan Goucher.


How did you meet Mike Amiri?
I went to an Amiri pop-up at Maxfield, and I briefly met him. And then, I ran into him a month later. I was at Barneys just looking at stuff, and I was actually looking at his rack, and he’s right there behind me. So I met him again. He’s like, “What are you trying to do?” I showed him some terrible work on my phone. And he’s like, “Yeah, keep going.” He gave me a couple inputs and that was it. And then, he had another pop-up in Maxfield, and I went. I think he noticed my consistency, and he just was like, “Yo, let’s grab coffee. Let’s meet up.” From there, we grab lunch, and he says, “Stop everything you’re doing. You can come intern for me.” So I stopped everything I was doing, and I was able to shadow him and soak in all the knowledge I could.

What happened next?
I was with him through a season, and then I put together a small collection. I showed it to him and was like, “Hey, I want some help. I want to put this into the world somehow.” And he set me up a meeting with H.Lorenzo on Sunset, and those guys took me in like family. They gave me an installation to launch my brand in February 2018.

That must have been an incredible feeling.
Yeah, but it was really funny. I thought to myself, “Yo, this is it. I made it.” I was working at Four Seasons and Chateau [Marmont] at the time, and I literally quit. All my boys were like, “You can’t go to work tomorrow.” I just stopped showing up. I thought I was good. I thought I was set.

What followed your launch at H.Lorenzo?
After we launched H.Lorenzo, we decided to go to Paris to show our next collection for Fashion Week. We got this tiny Airbnb and showed our collection to whoever we could get to come. The first season, we opened up SSENSE online and a couple other boutiques. Just last season, we had opened up Maxfield in L.A. with a window display, which was a dream moment for me. That was a huge turning point, a really big milestone I had for my career. Now we’re selling to Browns in London, Harrods, Hirshleifers. And we just launched our online business, too, recently. It’s starting to do really well.


“When someone puts on a Nahmias outfit, they just smile, and they’re like, ‘This is special’”



Tell me about Summerland.
I grew up in Santa Barbara, but one of my best friends growing up lived in Summerland. He had little dirt bikes in his backyard and a little garage band setup. They were doing a band. So just every day, after class, we’d end up there to chill and relax and go to the beach. And it was just this dream, looking back on it.

How does California inform your designs?
I definitely take inspiration from this whole surf, skate culture. I love to rework it using luxury fabrics but incorporating this beach vibe. For instance, I use a lot of silks for my stuff, but I use this sandwash technique, which reverts back to where the inspiration came from — the beach in Summerland and California.

What are your hero products?
Definitely our sandwash silk cargo pants. I think that pant opened a lot of wholesale doors for us, and a lot of celebrities helped get brand awareness with that pant. I have these Miracle trucker hats and these Miracle tees and hoodies, which have connected really well with people.


NAHMIAS Summerland knit sweater, $650, from the Spring/Summer 2021 lookbook. Photo by Megan Goucher.


Many of your silhouettes have an athletic feel to them. What other sports did you play while growing up?
Basketball. My whole life. Since I was 2, I was obsessed with basketball, obsessed with the Lakers, obsessed with Kobe Bryant. The brand is a complete fusion of my childhood when it comes to surfing, skate and sports.

How do you want people to feel when they’re wearing Nahmias?
When someone’s wearing Nahmias, they’re comfortable. I’d say it’s an effortless cool. When someone puts on a Nahmias outfit, they just smile, and they’re like, “Yo, this is special.” It’s not some crazy tailoring, but it’s just an effortless, luxury feeling.

What new pieces are you excited about?
We introduced a new pant last season. It’s this football trouser. So I took this old rugby football pant that I found at a surplus store, and I’ve reworked it into kind of like a sweatpant, very thin and the silk version. And I really think it’s going to create this new silhouette in the luxury world.




NAHMIAS Summerland trucker hat, $185. NAHMIAS “N” T-shirt, $195.


NAHMIAS Gym sweatpants, $450. NAHMIAS chiffon Campus paisley shirt, $600.


NAHMIAS Miracle T-shirt, $195. NAHMIAS silk football trousers, $850.


NAHMIAS Summerland knit sweater, $650. NAHMIAS Miracle trucker hat, $175.



Feature image: NAHMIAS silk football trousers, $850. Photo by Megan Goucher.


Oct. 6, 2020

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