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By: Victoria Clark

David Helwani is anything but your typical designer. From working in the music industry to attending law school and passing the bar, Helwani proves that finding your calling is not always a clear and direct path. However, the garment world was always a part of his upbringing from a very young age.

Born and raised in Montreal, Helwani’s family has owned their textile mill, Tricots Liesse, for over 40 years. As a main supplier of fabrics for some of the world’s biggest brands like Helmut Lang, Alice & Olivia, and Elie Tahari, David has never been a stranger to the fashion world, which is evident as he is always seen sporting the casual, yet sophisticated look that most men spend much time perfecting.

Therefore, after much careful consideration, David decided that it was time for him to take hold of his passion for design and in 2009, he started Twenty Tees, which was soon followed by his second label, LaPina, named after his mother and style muse Pina Helwani. And so it is here with Surf Collective that David shares some of his go-to picks for everything fashion, music, and art related.

See below to read the full interview!

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Where did it all start?
Born and raised in Montreal. Had a stint in the music business and transferred into fashion after launching the Twenty Tees brand under my Uknity Group umbrella.

What is your favorite city and neighborhood?
My adopted hometown, Soho, NYC. Montreal’s a close 2nd.

What is your favorite hotel?
The London West Hollywood.

Your favorite restaurant and dish?
Bar Pitti – Pappardelle Alla Fiesolana

Best bar?
Notre Boeuf De Grace in Montreal. It’s a burger joint, but their bar puts up a good fight.

Favorite vacation location?

Favorite surf spot / board?
Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.

Favorite duffel or suitcase?
Tumi duffel.

Favorite brand?
I’m biased…twenty tees.

Favorite jean brand?
Surface 2 Air.

Essential wardrobe item?
twenty’s the “Dawson” Supima/Tencel long sleeve tees.

Favorite time of year?
Summer. I don’t want to wear a jacket ever again.

Your style Icon/s?
Pharrell, Dickie Greenleaf and my father.

Personal style tip for others?
Don’t try too hard, it’s always transparent. Wear what you feel comfortable in, not trends.

Your tailor?
Our sewing team in Montreal.

Your salon?
I cut my own hair.

Coffee or tea?

Favorite shoe maker?

Dream car/bike?
1969 VLB Sprint Italian Vespa.

Favorite watch / watch brand?
Rolex Daytona and Casio Databank.

Essential gadget you can’t live without?

Your favorite book?
The Outliers.

Favorite song or album?
Stylistics – The Very Best of the Stylistics and R. Kelly – 12 Play.

Favorite not-for-profit?
Habitat for Humanity.

Favorite artist?
Lyle Owerko.



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