Davinia Wang: Through friends. We actually both went to The New School and I was at Parsons.
Ryan Korban: So, we met at school.
DW: Yeah, at school really. Through a mutual friend and then we just got closer.
RK: She was in Parsons for design management so she was studying the business of fashion, and I was going to the New School for cultural media studies–more liberal arts stuff.
How long into your friendship did you decide to open Edon Manor?
DW: The summer after I graduated. Ryan is younger than me, so he was still in school when we opened the store.
RK: I also took longer to graduate….
DW: We were on holiday in Europe. We were in London, France and I was like, “What am I gonna do?” You’re always at that crossroad that summer. There were unanswered questions: “Do I get a job?” “Do I stay in New York?” I was in New York with a student visa so I was like, how am I going to stay? Where am I going to stay? I’ve always loved shoes and bags and we wanted to bring an English aesthetic–and you know, people always say fashion from England is so forward so were thought we would start something that kind of brings an English aesthetic to New York.
So you (Davinia) grew up in England? What Part?
DW: Notting Hill Gate
I lived in South Kensington for a while and then Finsbury Park.
DW: Yeah Kensington is big.
The Windsor Castle Pub is like my favorite pub in London.
DW: Where is that one?
It’s up the Camden Hill Road.
DW: Oh yeah that narrow road that really tiny pub.
It’s really cute. So, you got a work visa and sorted all that out?
DW: Yeah, exactly. Because I was starting a business here. Don’t worry I didn’t marry Ryan or anything.
Hahah, I understand. I dealt with that crap when I lived abroad.
DW: And Ryan was always really into interior design even though he was doing cultural and media studies. He always loved that English aesthetic and European kind of design.
RK: I remember she was talking about maybe doing an all shoe line. I had done some internships in fashion so I was really drawn to that world as well. But I was really more into studying the culture, history of things…I did a lot of European studies. When I was sort of getting ready to graduate we came up with the idea of an accessories boutique that we wanted to call a “neighborhood boutique,” which we didn’t really feel like existed. I feel like it existed maybe a little on Bleeker Street in the beginning before it got really crazy, when Marc Jacobs opened his first accessories store on the corner of Bleeker and Perry. Which I just thought was so stunning, it was perfume and gloves and bags and shoes and it felt really like a real luxury neighborhood spot. The first thing we did was this crazy mood board of images that just felt really appropriate and it all started like that. The next thing we knew we were looking at spaces and then it all sort of just….
How did you guys choose this neighborhood in particular?
DW: Well, I think it kind of reminded me of the Notting Hill Gate area. It’s very residential and quiet and its not crazy like Mayfair or Park Lane [wealth neighborhoods in London] and what not. It’s sort of more subtle. That’s why I liked it. You know, Ledbury Road is another one of my favorite streets with really nice restaurants and cafés and then furniture stores. Then there’s Matches and boutiques that carry really nice things. It’s kind of a quiet way to shop.
you know matches and boutiques that carry really nice things. You know it’s kind of That’s why we chose Tribeca. It’s close to SoHo but not in the craziness of SoHo.
RK: I think that for awhile, uptown was very much for an older clientele and it was sort of like this decadent shopping and over the top shopping and then for a while you know downtown shopping really became this sort of minimalistic, futuristic thing, and there really wasn’t anywhere where I saw girls going that were still young but that they really appreciated shopping in a luxurious setting. You know it was all very Jeffrey and Calvin Klein and very minimal and then uptown was sort of extravagant. So it was sort of finding a place like that that made sense. And I think the taste level here is very nice and I love the idea of who the customer is. You know a woman who’s maybe had her first child or is pregnant for the first time or you know—just got married or engaged. It’s really a neighborhood where people are starting their life and they don’t necessarily want a busy life like in SoHo, but uptown feels too stuffy for them.
Definitely. I totally know what you mean.
RK: It’s like an effortless cool here.
Yeah I love it. You have a lot of amazing brands…Alaia, Proenza. How did you approach these buyers? Obviously you have friends that work in fashion, but was that part hard?
DW: Yeah it was at the beginning….