Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Interview: Eidolon Owners Amara Felice and Mimi Ohta

AAF: Where are you from originally?

Felice and Ohta: San Francisco/ New York.

AAF: How did you meet to start this venture?

Felice and Ohta: Originally, there were four of us, Andrea Fisher, Yukie Ohta (Mimi's sister), and Linda Zadikian. I had known Andrea who worked at a small shop in Chelsea, Ellen Christine Millinery, where I sold some items on consignment. Andrea was developing her own line of clothing. I met Yukie through dance theater work I was doing freelance. She had just starting making handbags and was quitting her job in publishing. Linda's daughter was a dancer with the Feld Ballet and her mother was starting a clothing line. All four of us were in the Park Slope vicinity and ready for our own outlet to sell our designs plus the items of several other local designers who I already knew. Linda left the partnership after two years and Yukie and Andrea remained partners until the end of last year. Mimi took Yukie's place and designs jewelry and accessories.

AAF: What does Eidolon mean?

Felice and Ohta: The image of perfection in Greek.

AAF: When did you open your business in Park Slope and why did you choose the location?

Felice and Ohta: We opened in October of 1999. We knew the location would be good for the long term and the rent was still very reasonable.

AAF: What distinguishes your establishment from others in Brooklyn/the area?

Felice and Ohta: We stock the store with our own designs which can also be custom ordered and we also carry other local designer's work on consignment. We enjoy working with our customers one on one.

AAF: How would you characterize your designs?

Felice and Ohta: As far as my (Amara's) clothing designs, I design simple, effortless shapes which flatter the figure and are easy to mix into any wardrobe. Since I sew it all myself and want to offer a reasonable price, I keep my constructions simple and focus on my fabrics. I personally like drapey and soft jersey fabrics in vibrant colors and prints and my customers respond well to them. In my accessories like a clutch bag or a knit item, color is super important. Color excites me and stimulates my creative juices.

AAF: What do you like best about 5th Avenue?

Felice and Ohta: We like the neighborhood feeling and seeing familiar faces every day. We also like seeing new faces and educating people about the shop when visiting the Avenue for the first time.

AAF: What is the new black? No seriously, what are the fashion trends for the New Year looking like?

Felice and Ohta: We are not ones to follow trends and our customers aren't the trendiest dressers either. We focus on timeless and unique designs that look good year after year. Our customers like to invest in items that they can keep, not get rid of the following year because it's already out of style.

Interview conducted by Rebeccah Welch

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