Donna Adi: Modern Day Fashion-Cartoonist

“When I’m having a bad day, I think of a pink frosted donut, or a bowl of pasta, or a crazy hamburger. Even if I’m not going to eat it, the thought of food is social and fun,”

said Donna Adi, an artist and creative director from Los Angeles.

Adi has become an Instagram and branding sensation through her use of fan art in the fashion world. In an industry that is closer associated with diets than junk food, Adi incorporates anthropomorphic food into her images. Scroll through pictures of models holding pop-art pizza melting on the plate, two ice cream sandwiches kissing, or a happy hamburger. It’s relatable and it’s a feeling that goes into each piece with the hope others feel the same sense of guilt-free joy. “It’s females in their happy space having moments for themselves,” she said.

She has been in the fashion industry for over 10 years. “This art was my break away from fashion but still incorporating it into my work. It’s very female-oriented. The fashion I choose is very much about the girl taking care of herself, enjoying her life. It’s putting together an outfit, going out for a croissant and a cup of coffee,” Adi said.

A modern-day fashion cartoonist of sorts, Adi excelled in art classes as a child but never thought to make anything of it. She studied animation and illustration during her high school years and then, at 17 years old, began a graphic T-shirt line. Eventually, her experience managing social media, photography, and an online store brought her to a serendipitous moment while vacationing in Tel Aviv. She met Galia Lahav, a couture fashion designer, and Adi used her expertise to land the designer in global stores and fashion week, in addition to rapidly growing an online presence. Eventually, a born entrepreneur, Adi wanted to do her own thing.

“The main thing that I took away from the fashion industry, which I incorporate into my work, is understanding the composition of fashion photography, what makes the photo work and how to tell a story through an image,” she said. That’s when she started illustration.

She has multiple tablets with several processes. “I take a lot of photos myself and I illustrate on them while I’m traveling. Sometimes I find a striking fashion image online that just takes my breath away and I have to draw on it. Sometimes I make a sketch and I think there’s a photo I need to make it come to life. I’ll sketch out an image. I’ll find the image of the photo that’s right for that image. And, you know, put it together. It’s like a collage,” she explained.

In the beginning, her work was created purely for fun — an intuitive outlet to be herself, an inner child at heart. Then in 2017, Colombian reggaetón singer J Balvin’s manager requested Adi do an album cover. Soon after, Nordstrom reached out for its winter campaign, Adi’s first big job. That’s when she knew she had a talent others wanted to use. “I’ve never done outreach. I think that if I had to reach out and prove myself, I’m not sure it would be as exciting as people understanding the potential of working with me, and using my work for their campaigns or commercial,” Adi said.

Celebrities are now reposting her work — Gigi Hadid, Winnie Harlow, famed fashion photographers. “At first, I was nervous, thinking maybe they don’t like my work or me trying to make something out of their photos. But it was just such a positive feeling to see that these people like what I’m doing on their images,” she said. Adi’s client list impresses with names Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Puma, Dior, Google, Skechers, Apple, Nestlé, Diesel, the list goes on.

Adi continues to grow freely in a meticulous branding industry. Her broad range of expertise is landing her creative director roles with some leading commercial names.

She brings fashion, and all others worlds, to life through a unique vision of vibrant colors and designs. Every one grows up watching animation, in one way or another, and her images seamlessly bridge together childhood and adulthood. “It’s very big in my heart. I grew up on cartoons. It’s in my style and it’s inevitable, I’ll never be able to get away from it, because I love it,” she said.

Adi is currently living in Paris, soaking in creativity at every turn. Make sure to keep up with all this visionary is doing at @donna_adi.

Daily Fitness: The Perfect Gifts for 2017

(This article first appeared in the December 13, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)

If there were a competition for ‘Worst Gift Giver’ I’d easily make the top three winners. It’s not that I don’t enjoy spending money on others, I just completely blank on what to get. Gift cards seem too impersonal (as does money) and asking what said person wants point blank? Well, you might as well stamp a giant ‘Clueless’ right on my forehead.

That said, this holiday season, I’m going with the ‘Well, if I’d like it maybe they would too’ approach. For the fitness fanatic in your life, here are my eight gift ideas — based on what I might accidentally wrap for myself.


  • Sweaty Betty has a scuba fabric, 100 percent polyester, All Sport backpack that measures 40.5cm tall, 43cm wide and 24cm deep. Small enough to toss around but still big enough to carry all the essentials. Adjustable straps make it easy to go from working out to commuting in seconds. Cute enough to complete any outfit in or out of a studio, but trendy enough to look like the badass workout chick you are. $115 at or visit the East Hampton store at 51 Newton Lane.


  • Nike does it yet again with the Nike Vapor Energy Training Backpack. At 20.5″ tall,12″ wide and 7.5″ deep this 100 percent polyester bag is ideal for going from the gym to the office. A padded laptop compartment fits sizes up to 15 inches, with dual-zip storage, adjustable straps for shock absorption and a helpful wet/dry compartment. The Pure Platinum and Black color options make it work with any situation. Find it for $70 at


  • I’m the furthest thing from a yogi but Chakra Art and Design makes yoga mats that are so breathtakingly beautiful I’d buy one and stay in child’s pose. 1/4″ or 1/8″ thick, 72″ tall and 24″ wide, each mat is BPA, phthalates, heavy metal, and latex free. Their Empowerment Series takes artwork to the next level — hang it on your wall or use it for any workout of choice. All month long enjoy 25 percent off any Living Art Collection yoga mat, or 40 percent off unframed prints. $79. Visit


  • TRX has been one of my favorite fitness discoveries of 2017. It doesn’t require more than a few straps and body weight, which means you can do it anywhere. TRX Go Suspension Trainer Kit allows you to take the workout with you. See that palm tree on vacation? You can use it there. The monkey bars while your children are on the playground? There, too. Prices vary, visit for the best options.


  • A balance ball chair can turn workday into workout — slightly anyway. The Gaiam Balance Ball Chair helps with back issues through improving posture while simultaneously encouraging core strength. The anti-burst 52cm balance ball sits on a PVC base and caster wheels. The best part? It comes with a desktop workout guide. Sitting at a computer all day isn’t such a bad thing after all. Check out your local Target for products (good luck leaving with only one thing). $79.99.


  • Zepp created a technology that not only allows you to analyze sport performance but gain insight with outside, comparable statistics. Not just for the professionals anymore. Their Smart Capture technology allows players of all sorts — baseball, golf, softball, soccer and tennis — to film and attach the device directly to their equipment. The Tennis 2 Kit comes with a sensor, flex mount, pro mount, insert mount, USB charger, and mobile app for $99. You can find more of their gear at


  • Muscle soreness is hardly an issue with the MobilityWOD Supernova 2.0 by Rogue. Forget the name, which sounds like something out of a Star Wars flick. This grooved surface breaks up knots in a precise way through its 80mm or 120mm size. That means less soreness and more active time. Find the 120mm model for $39.95 at


  • Finally, an espresso maker for those on the move. WACACO MiniPresso GR Portable Espresso Coffee maker weighs under a single pound and measures 7″ long. It creates a simple, single shot of caffeinated goodness. Bring this device anywhere, from drives to work to hikes up the mountains, for a 50ML jolt. All you need is hot water (or cold if you’re fine with it). Tilt and simply pump. Walmart is currently listing it at $51.99 or check shopping!