AKIRA fashion boutiques owner Jon Cotay

Jon Davidson Cotay is a businessman, a certified University of Illinois nurse, a realtor, and a philanthropist. He started AKIRA in 2002 with Erikka Wang and Eric Hsueh, and has since seen it grow from a single women’s boutique in Bucktown to a 17-store chain & an international fashion website.

In 2011, Jon was honored as one of Crain’s Chicago Business’ “40 Under 40” and one of Michigan Avenue Magazine’s “Cause Celebs.” He was also included in New City Magazine‘s 2013 “Design 50” list, the Filipino-American 2011 Hall of Fame, & MR Magazine’s September 2011 Contemporary Roundtable. In previous years, he has served as co-chair of Greenivale Green Tie Ball XVII and judge for “One Man Chicago.” Jon is a proud supporter of Latino Fashion Week, Kollaboration Chicago, the Driehaus Design Initiative, the Chicago Fashion Foundation, Generation Y, STARTALK, and Miss Wicker Park.

Where were you born?

Manila, Philippines.


How long in Chicago?

Since December 1998 (I moved here right after college).


Neighborhoods you’ve enjoyed living in?

Bridgeport, University Village, Bucktown.



Owner of AKIRA.


Inspiration behind your success?

Ann Landers.


Favorite Restaurant:

Joy Yee’s Noodles.


Best Ethnic Food:

Isla Pilipina.


Best Italian:

Lucia’s Café.


Best Steakhouse:

Gene & Georgetti.


Best Lunch:

Covo Gyro Market.


Best Café:

Café con Leche.


Best place for late night dining:



Best place for a romantic date:

Geja’s Café.


Best Sunday brunch:

Las Palmas.


Haute Night Club/Lounge:

Pump Room & The Mid


Best place for a power business meeting:



All-around favorite spot in Chicago:

Ravinia in the summer time, a great Chicago spot


If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend?

The Hard Rock Hotel Chicago.


Where would you recommend shopping?



Best place to buy Jewelry/Watches:

Diamond Nexus.


Best Spa or Massage:

Mario Tricoci.


Best Gym/Athletic Facility:

Cheetah Gym.


Best Broadway show:

Jersey Boys.


Favorite Charity Event:

AKIRA’s fall fashion show at Grossinger City Autoplex.


Favorite Cultural Event:

Third Fridays at the Zhou B. Art Center.


Favorite Cultural Institution:

Lyric Opera of Chicago.


Best Aspect of Chicago:

The friendly people.


Best Museum/Exhibit:

The Zhou B. Art Center.


Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore:

The Driehaus Museum.