PMFW: Nahmias: meet the guy behind skate-inspired QR-coded fits
Californian designer links up with Bacardi’s Music Liberates Music campaign
words Jack Ramage
"Fashion and music go hand in hand across the board: from the struggles of an emerging musician or designer — it's all the same process. They're the hardest industries to tap into and get involved in," says Doni Nahmias, designer and founder of high-end streetwear brand NAHMIAS.
It's just 24 hours before he launches his collection at Paris Men's Fashion Week and the studio is bustling — full of designers and models, photographers and the media. “There are so many moving pieces,” he remarks over the hum of creatives milling around the studio. “I don’t think people see that from the outside.” The atmosphere is intense, amplified by the mid-summer Parisian heat. It seems the team is working against the clock.
That work paid off in part of Bacardi Rum's Music Liberates Music (MLM) programme — a project to help emerging and underrepresented voices in the music industry be heard. How? By making a wearable album, of course. Well, sort of, let me explain.
Each piece in the collection — such as hats, tees, hoodies — features an embedded QR code, directing people to an album featuring a roster of rising musicians. Every time a track is listened to through the clothing, 100 per cent of the net profits made from the NAHMIAS collection will also directly benefit the artists. As a bonus, anyone wearing the items can also earn live music rewards, which can be used towards concert tickets.
The drop is in collaboration with legendary producer, Boi-1da, a longtime friend of Doni who has worked with the likes of Drake and Kendric Lamar. "I've been friends with Boi-1da for a while now,” Doni notes. “I've seen previous work he's done with Bacardi and the MLM programme. I also love the idea of supporting emerging artists.”
Other artists on the roster include Ric Wilson, hailing from Chicago. His funk and disco-infused take on rap bellows with robust percussion and buoyant vocal flair. There’s also London-based BenjiFlow, whose music takes heavy influence from West African-flavored pop and Brazilian samba. And last but not least, Berlin-based singer-songwriter K.ZIA, whose fusion of R&B, soul and pop genres exude groovy Afro-urban riffs.
Boi-1da played an integral role in sourcing the artists for the latest iteration of Music Liberates Music, and is working alongside each to co-produce brand new tracks that will be discoverable on Spotify in mid-July along with some of the artist’s existing catalogues.
Originally I was sceptical as to how a designer could successfully integrate a QR code onto a piece — but Doni somehow pulled it off. The recent collection cemented NAHMIAS’s signature aesthetic: a high-grade yet informal mix of skate, basketball, surf, and hip-hop styles.
Each piece has a uniquely clean and casual streetwear-esque aesthetic, with the QR code clearly placed in a way that won’t overpower the original design. “This one is my favourite out of the collection,” Doni remarks, holding up the wearable album jacket. “It’s an original watercolour graphic with musicians playing the guitar drawn in. I think it’s pretty special.”
Raised in the small Californian coastal town of Summerland, located just outside of Santa Barbara, Doni Nahmias is a self-taught designer and founded NAHMIAS in 2018. “It definitely has its pros and cons,” Doni notes, weighing up his self-taught journey in the fashion industry versus the untrodden route towards conventional fashion school. “Every day I’m learning: making mistakes and figuring out what works. But that also comes with a lot of benefits. I was never taught boundaries — what could and couldn't work. I had the freedom to create without necessarily digesting what I did in the classroom.”
“There are two forms of self-care,” Doni notes, explaining how he manages to keep his creative cool whilst managing an international fashion brand. “Mental stability and the body — looking after yourself and what you eat. I’m bad at that because I have the worst sweet tooth. Back home I take care of my mental health by going to the spa a lot. I go almost every day and it helps me a lot.”
To snag merchandise from the BACARDĺ x BOI-1DA x NAHMIAS Wearable Album Collection before it’s gone, head here to pre-order.