I usually wear tank tops and pajama pants when I’m at work.
It’s the perk of working from home.
But if I need to leave the house — and it’s not to surf — I’m usually wearing something from Fighting Eel, a locally designed line that’s beachy chic, simple and uncomplicated but utterly stylish and well made.
The pair started Fighting Eel is 2003, keeping true to their fashion philosophy and commitment to running a successful clothing company from their hometown.
Their line — as well as its sister line, Ava Sky — have garnered loyal fans around the world, many who flock to their four retail stores on O‘ahu. Even Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone have stopped by its flagship boutique in downtown Honolulu for their fix.
“We make clothes that people can wear for a long time,” says Bennett. “You look good but not trendy. We also make everything comfortable so the pieces become your go-to favorites.”
Bennett and Chung just opened their latest boutique in Kahala Mall this month — much to the joy of East Honolulu shopaholics and fashionistas.
I took a moment to chat with my dear friend — you might remember her from my photos of Greece — to talk about the new store, her inspiration and what’s she obsessed with right now.
1. You already run three successful boutiques in downtown Honolulu, Kailua and Waikīkī. Why another one?
We heard a voice saying, “If you build it, they will come.” So far, so good.
2. What are your favorite items from your latest collection? And was there a design you didn’t think would do well but did?
From Fighting Eel, the Dress Brook in leopard. And from Ava Sky, Top Chi in black. As for a design that surprised us, it was the Dress Kenzie (from Fighting Eel). People still ask for it. Also, the crazy T-shirts from FE. I’m glad people ‘get’ us.
3. What can your fans look for in your next collection?
Fighting Eel is going to bring back colors. Pinks, blues, fun prints and nautical stripes. The summer collection comes out in May. Spring II comes out in March; that’s surf-inspired. Summer I is nautical.
4. Where do you get your inspiration?
Music. I put on headphones and work and a million ideas come to me.
5. What are you currently obsessed with — and it doesn’t have to be fashion-related?
I’m obsessed with yoga. I might want to be a yoga teacher/life coach on the weekends. I’m also really into Via Gelato’s cookies and cream gelato. I wish they would open up a location downtown.
Check out any of of Fighting Eel’s boutiques: Downtown (1133 Bethel St.), Kailua (629 Kailua Rd.), Waikīkī (Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, 2201 Kalākaua Ave.) and now at Kahala Mall. Follow both lines on Instagram @fightingeel and @avasky. And visit the shop online at www.fightingeel.com.