Making The Cut Winner Jonny Cota Is The Positive Energy We All

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Believe it or not, Jonny Cota just had the best day of his life. Like most of us, he spent it in sweatpants, and like all of us, he was stuck indoors. But after months of keeping the launch of his namesake label — and the $1 million investment that made it all possible — to himself, setting that secret free last Friday was a welcome moment of positivity to brighten up an otherwise dark period for both the fashion industry and the world.

“The last couple of months have been some of the most insane months of my life,” Cota tells Refinery29 of winning Making The Cut, the televised competition on Amazon Prime Video that was co-created and co-hosted by Project Runway alumni Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. The seasoned pair pushed 12 established designers to their creative limits in search of the next global fashion brand — an honor that now belongs to Cota, and one that he wears, unsurprisingly, incredibly well. “It’s taken six months of blood, sweat, and tears to get ready for this debut and it’s been thrilling and exhausting and life-changing.”

Cota is the self-taught owner of his own streetwear brand Skingraft, a family-operated business that had already been producing two annual men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections before Making The Cut further solidified the label’s fashion clout. The designer is no stranger to the runways of New York Fashion Week and counts Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé among the roster of A-list clients that have worn his brand. By entering Klum and Gunn’s rigorous competition, Cota hoped for greater exposure as an emerging talent in the industry. By winning, he’s gained an international platform bigger than anything he could’ve dreamt up from his L.A. studio less than a year ago.

“I’m excited to take my aesthetic, my sustainable business goals, and my way of doing things, and to marry it with the awesome global reach of Amazon. I don’t feel like I’m losing myself in any capacity, I feel like I’m getting this huge opportunity to launch myself to the world,” Cota explains.

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