We had the good fortune of connecting with Eyal Abitbul and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eyal, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Fashion has alway been a big part of my DNA as a human being. Growing up in a small city in Israel, starting my own business was something I didn’t want to happen. The main reason is because my parents always worked for themselves. I would see them snuggling and my mom would always say: “Don’t be independent, its not worth it!”
At the same time I would use my sister’s dolls to create. I would cut their dresses and change their hair. I always had an idea of how to make something better or more beautiful. Ever since I can remember I always would design cloths for myself, by cutting things, changing the stitching, or adding color. Everyone would always ask me where did I buy my cloths. Or they thought I got them customized. I was 18 years old when I altered a pair of Diesel jeans for a family wedding. It was at the last minute and I didn’t have anything to wear. So I took these jeans and cut them up, and went to the wedding. Everyone was shocked when they saw the jeans. They wanted to buy the same pare. My parents thought I was crazy because I ripped a brand new pair of jeans. (This was before it was popular to have ripped jeans)
Creating things became a part of my lifestyle. Friends would give me stacks of their jeans to customize. After a few years when I came to America, I met my husband, and he had a sewing machine, that was sitting in the closet. No one was using it. My mom had a sewing machine but she didn’t allow me to even touch it! (That’s the funny thing.)
Right after we got married, I started working with the sewing machine. I kept creating things for myself and the business grew by accident, Out of no where. People kept asking me to customize their wardrobes. At first it was my circle of friends, and then their friends, and their friends friends. Everything happened organically.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Summer is my favorite season of all. I am deeply inspired by the beach. My best beach days include just me and my speedo, tanning on the beach all day. Listening to good music and relaxing. Men and women’s bodies inspires me to create. I can see the way someone puts themselves together and get an idea for a new piece for that person.
I am inspired by my environment. For example: I love to travel and see different cities. I am inspired by everything in the city, including a small coffee shop or public sculpture. Life inspires me.
Every summer season is different. There are different colors that bring various emotions. I never know how a color will inspire a garment or how a garment will inspire a color. I am sensitive when it comes to attention to detail. Creating a collection of jewelry or swimwear is always a unique process. If I don’t feel inspired, I don’t create.
Everyone has an opinion. And my clients are not ashamed to tell me what they think of my collections. I always listen to what they have to say, but a the end of the day, I listen to my soul the most. Sometimes there is a battle between my head, and what I’m thinking, and my heart with how I’m feeling. At the end of the day, my heart always wins.
My secret sauce is that I know how to recognize trends before they start. Pay attention.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of my favorite days was when I took a bike ride with my husband on the Santa Monica pier. We took an entire day exploring the city on bike and parked our bikes to watch the sunset. This is my recommendation.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
It was very hard to even think that owning a business could even be possible. My family always held me back and told me to only focus on what makes money and pushing me towards more masculine professions. They didn’t believe in me. You have to understand that growing up in a small town in the Middle East, every occupation that doesn’t symbolize a masculine “macho man” was not accepted. They just wanted me to work in any other job, besides a place of being a Fashion Designer who works for himself.
With that said, if it were not for my spouse, all my friends and and all my clients encouraging me to express myself, “By Eyal” would never have happened.
On my journey towards my dreams, I was able to work with fashion influencers: Stephanie Perry, Lian Fishbein, and Eden Marihaviv. Yoga teacher Vardit Hasky. Fitness instructor Osi Leeb. Cosmetic guru Sivan Mori. Social Media and Public Relations specialist: Danielle Sroor. Melody Pinto who is a close friend and was one of the first to wear my jewelry and swimwear lines. I’ve designed a one of a kind piece of jewelry for Maŋnyɛ Klo Dodue I Queenmother of GaDangme Land and am excited to see her photographed in it one day. Gaining celebrity exposure is often times difficult and nearly impossible. Most recently my paths crossed with Singer, Songwriter, Actress Shelea, whom I adore, she was very gracious and extremely supportive. This month I collaborated on an exclusive look with Stephanie Perry.
Thank you to all of my friends and clients who encouraged my creativity. All of you really helped me put my vision on the table and live my dreams.
Eyal Abitbul: Self Portrait All other photographs by: Alma Yehezkely, Stephanie Perry, Eden Marihaviv and Madilyn Ngaatz