Fashion Tribe

3 months later, a grand opening for Fighting Eel

February 27th, 2012

Fighting EelNadine Kam photos
Nine years and going strong, Fighting Eel founders Rona Bennett, left, and Lan Chung celebrate their second store in Kailua.

Three months after opening their Kailua boutique in mid-November, the onset of the busy holiday season, the women of Fighting Eel finally had time to celebrate the occasion with a grand opening party and fashion show that took place Feb. 25.

Honolulu fans braved the gray weather to make the drive over the Pali for the event, which included a fashion show of spring 2012 styles by Fighting Eel, Baby Eel designs and other lines and accessories carried at the boutique. During the sidewalk runway event, the second generation FE girls, including co-founder Lan Chung's daughter Ava, who stole the show.

Among those in the crowd were LeSportsac director of sales Cindy Eastman and hair guru Paul Brown, who's soon to be FE's neighbor.

Non-flash video link

Now into their ninth year and going strong, I asked co-founder Lan Chung the secret of their success after we had been talking about other partnerships that have fizzled in much less time, and her reply was, "No drama."

Of course the familiar story is that she and Rona Bennett were working at Agnes b. at Ala Moana Center, where they found they shared similar interests and aims in fashion. They were roomies while getting their fledgling company off the ground, and to this day share similar goals and vision.

Rona said it's to the point where they have a sort of telepathy that few can understand, except for one person they hired, who, if they said, "You know the ...," she'd be like, "Oh yeah, I know."

Not that it's all been smooth sailing, they've had to make some tough production decisions to make over the years, as well as enduring market crashes that led to closing of many boutiques that carried their line. It was a difficult time, but they persevered, and here they are with boutique No. 2, and who knows how many are in their future?

FE kidsSecond generation Fighting Eel clan walk the runway in Baby Eel. Leading the way is Lan's daughter Ava Sky Agor.

FE KailuaFrom left, Yasmin Dar, Lan Chung and Kerrie Inouye, who manages the Kailua store.

FE storeInside the boutique, with children's swimwear in the foreground.

FE1Yasmin Dar on the runway.

FE2Erica Miguel in Fighting Eel stripes.




Ki-eleMarylea Conrad shows some of her Ki-ele jewelry, including the necklace that appeared in this month's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

StripesLauren Shigekane, left, after shopping, with sisters Rebecca, center, and Alia Sekban.

KidsRunway stars, from left, Linh Owen's daughter Sophia, Ava Sky Agor, Riley Kaya Lau and Lan's sister Caitlin Chung.

ZoeLinh Owen with daughter Zoe before cupcake.

cupcakeAll smiles with cupcake. It's just a matter of time before we see Zoe on the FE runway with her big sister Sophia.

SataySatay chicken from Maile's Thai Bistro.

FE cupcakesDessert from Let Them Eat Cupcakes.

5 Responses to “3 months later, a grand opening for Fighting Eel”

  1. Linh:

    Thanks Nadine! As always, you do such great coverage. Love it!

  2. Nadine Kam:

    Thanks Linh, great show and great to see the whole FE family together!

  3. Peggy & Mike:

    Congratuations! What fun that must have been - great lines! Aloha, Peggy & Mike

  4. Sarah:

    I loved being able to see the show. Please continue your awesome work!

  5. Kathy:

    Nice work. Keep it comin'... 🙂

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