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.

Vintage, Darling

(This article first appeared in the November 8, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)

trying on dresses at The Times Vintage


More than just something to wear, vintage clothing has the power to take us back in time. Every decade is defined by a fashion trend and nowadays vintage is the new vogue.

No one knows that more than Houston native Elizabeth Sweigart. In 2013, and at only 23 years old, Sweigart opened up The Times Vintage in Greenport, a store specializing in everything vintage.

After spending five years in New York City, Sweigart migrated to the North Fork needing a change. “Somehow Greenport seemed doable for me — it wasn’t the Hamptons, it wasn’t Shelter Island, it was cute and quaint but not too cookie cutter,” Sweigart described.

Her admiration for vintage clothing began when she was young, frequenting garage sales with her mother and observing her grandmother’s impeccable seamstress skills. “I used to get into my grandmother’s closet all the time,” Sweigart reminisced. “She had a really funky pair of yellow wooden shoes with a crazy cut-out heel that I loved prancing around in.” Now, her own closet is uniquely comprised of 90 percent second-hand clothing. Except the shoes, of course, “simply because the old ones wear out too fast.”

The store’s name honors the property’s newsworthy roots — the original tenant was The Suffolk Times.

“It seemed so fitting for a vintage shop to house things of the past in a place that previously chronicled events in time,” said Sweigart.

In the past four years, thousands of items have been sorted through. People tend to bring in cherished items so that others can make use of them. Best sellers are the women’s clothing, jewelry, and vinyl records. What you won’t find in the shop are industrial items, linens, china, or anything decrepit.

Price is negotiated based on the sellers’ needs and the resale value in shop. “It gets tricky and honestly that’s my least favorite part of the job. I’m learning as I go — and boy there is a lot to learn! Which is why my job is never boring!”

Sweigart still remembers her favorite piece that was sold. “A ’60s Marimekko black and white three-piece suitcase set as seen in ‘Slums of Beverly Hills.'” The backstories are what draws interest in reselling an item and the interesting people that once owned them. As for the Who’s Who of who’s wearing these pieces, you can spot comedian Louis CK in the store from time to time, and recently rocking store-bought ties on the red carpet were Jake Gyllenhaal and Sam Rockwell.

Sweigart enjoys the likeness of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, her idea of the quintessential role model of both gentle beauty and hard-working independence. The Times Vintage is a time capsule of yesterday with a promising leading role in tomorrow.

The Times Vintage is open year-round, Friday through Monday from 11 AM to 6 PM, but customers can schedule private appointments Tuesdays and Wednesdays. On December 1, they will be collaborating with First & South for the annual Prohibition Party — spend $20 or more at the store and receive a free drink ticket. Also look for The Times Vintage on December 9 at Borghese Vineyards as part of artist Kara Hoblin’s Christmas Market.

Visit the store at 429 Main Street in Greenport. Call 631-477-6455, go to, or follow @TheTimesVintage.