Spend Some QT With NYC's Own Fashion Families

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It goes without saying that we love our families; but, like any pressure-cooker situation, working within close quarters can certainly stew some tension and competition. Or does it? Fascinated by the brothers, sisters, and husband/wife duos that work within the fashion industry, we visited three couplings of successful fashion kinfolk who seem to have it all together. Whether it be Richard and Eddy Chai, who know exactly the clothing we're after, the sisters behind New York's hottest pieces of rustic statement jewelry, Anndra Neen, or too-cute couple, style expert Brett Fahlgren and model wife Danielle Palmer, these twosomes know how to keep it in the fam. Just in time to spend your own holiday QT with the folks at home, check these lovable pairs that make fashion a family biz.

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Eddy and Richard Chai

These bros know what the ladies want, how to hook a fella up, and together, they provide some of the best style swag in NYC. With Richard (right) earning praise (including ours) on the design front for his lively co-ed collection, Richard Chai Love, and brother Eddy mastering retail as owner of NYC's premiere menswear boutique, Odin (whose new West Village location opens this week), fashion has alway been an interest for the Chai brothers. While these two certainly have differences and separate successes, they can still share the spotlight — namely, Richard's designs that have found a place among Eddy's inventory in Odin; talk about brotherly love.

Have you both always been interested in the fashion industry? And do you thank good genes for your taste and talent?
Richard: "I have always wanted to be a fashion designer since I was 13 when I first took a Fashion Illustration Class at Parsons.  I think experiencing NYC and NYC Nightlife for the first time at 13 had a huge impact on my view of fashion and style."
Eddy: "I was always into fashion, but not the 'industry' so to speak.  I wasn’t obsessed with brands, labels, and models but more about expressing myself through fashion and its relation to music and NYC."

You both been there through each other's ups and downs, but we want to know from each of you, what was your brother's worst style moment growing up?
Richard: "I think my brother's worst style moment was his sorta flat top haircuts."
Eddy: "All the different colored hair styles."

We have to ask (because our moms definitely did this), did you guys rock a ton of matching outfits when you were younger?
Richard: "My mother really didn't dress us in matching outfits, but I do remember having a red t-shirt with my name flocked on it in navy, velvet letters and my brother having a version in navy with red velvet letters."

What's the best thing about working in the same industry as your brother?
Richard: "I think the best part about having my brother in the same industry is the support and free advice.  It's amazing to have his insight and perspective as a merchant and retailer.  It's great to have a dialogue and bounce ideas off one another."
Eddy: "We can empathize with one another, offer support and criticism and share ideas."

What's the worst part?
Richard: "The blunt, unsolicited advice."
Eddy: "When we’re both headstrong about our opinions, even when’s he’s wrong."

Do you find that there's a lot of friction or competition between the two of you because you work in the same industry?
Richard: "No, not at all.  If anything it motivates and inspires me.  We are genuinely happy for each others successes."
Eddy: "No, quite the opposite especially because we are both on opposite ends of the industry – the retailer and the designer.  It has given us tremendous insight, knowledge and respect for one another.  We truly wish the best for one another and do whatever possible to support each other."

Tell us about one of your favorite family traditions.
Richard: "Thanksgiving.  I make the gravy, Eddy makes the stuffing and my sister Gloria makes the mashed potatoes.  Its been like that since I can remember."
Eddy: "Thanksgiving is probably the most important holiday to our family. I think with the exception of one year, we have always all been together.  One tradition that started when we were kids was me making the stuffing, my brother making the gravy, and my sister making the mashed potatoes. I don’t know if it’s my favorite but it’s definitely the longest running tradition for us."

How much do you consult each other about your style? And how brutally honest can you be with your brother?
Richard: "I don't think we consult each other so much on our own personal style, but we are always honest if the other looks ridiculous."
Eddy: "One common thread between us is that we’re both pretty opinionated and have no qualms about sharing them.  We are extremely candid and honest with one another, whether it be complimentary or brutal. But even if it’s brutal, it doesn’t come from a malicious place."

Obviously you have things in common, but tell us something that makes you guys so very different?
Richard: "One clear difference between my brother and I is that he loves watching sports and I don't."

Finish this sentence: My brother's favorite piece of clothing is...
Richard: "Is an old, navy, cashmere sweater I designed that has holes allover the shoulder."
Eddy: "A vintage army jacket he has had forever."

Ed note: We tried not to aww too obnoxiously when they both nailed this question for each other. Brother knows best, right?

On Eddy: Common Project footwear, Ralph Lauren cardigan, Odin button down, Comme des Garcon pants. On Richard: Richard Chai chambray Uutility shirt, Richard Chai zipper cardigan, V::Room T-shirt, Hanes tank, Levis 520's.

Photographed by Kava Gorna
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Brett Fahlgren and Danielle Palmer

Sure, we've fallen for an awesome pair of jeans before, but the couple in this case — men's style savant Brett Fahlgren and the gorgeous showroom model Danielle Palmer — give new meaning to the expression. While the old adage says that opposites attract, these seriously attractive lovebirds share many things in common: successful fashion careers, a beautiful daughter, and equal enthusiasm for design. While Brett has recently launched a collection of ties and Danielle continues to work with Aquascutum and Michael Kors, don't be surprised to soon find that this family becomes a household name with a collection of home decor items — obviously made with love.

First thing's first. Tell us how you guys met.
Danielle: "We met at an old rock and roll dance bar called Sway in downtown New York. Brett complimented me on my jeans!"
Brett: "Kind of embarrassing but it worked. She gave me her number."

Was your interest in fashion something that you could bond over right away?
Danielle: "We were pretty gaga for each other, so Brett hired me to model for some GQ events he was hosting, just so I could travel with him."

What's the best thing about working in the same industry as your wife/husband?
"We trust each other’s taste, so we can shop for the house or each other without running it by one another. Mostly."

What's the worst part?
Danielle: "Having a husband that's equally into design, we sometimes argue over things that would traditionally be my role. Like the design of our Holiday cards, or decorating the nursery."

Brett, what do you like best about Danielle's sense of style?
"Danielle has always had a unique and forward thinking look. She’s good at staying ahead of the trends. I’ll let her know if something looks off but she always ends up being right."

And Danielle, what's your favorite thing that you love to see Brett wear?
"I love when Brett wears a tie layered with a heavy sweater. It's powerful and cuddly at the same time — the best of both worlds!"

Tell us about something you both like to do that has nothing to do with fashion.
"We like to travel a lot and haven’t let having a baby hold us up. Long flights are worth it once we arrive and can enjoy our time as a family – usually on a warm beach."

How much do you consult each other about your style? Can you be brutally honest with your opinions?
"We are brutally honest if something isn't working. We're not touchy, so that's good."

Let's get honest: Who takes longer to get ready each morning?
Danielle: "I take longer, but he a has more shoes."

What (if any) kind of husband/wife business collaborations are you planning for the future?
Danielle: "I'd love to see the Fahlgren brand expand to furniture and items for the home. When I see a really cool plaid tie he's made, I'll say, 'I need a chair in that fabric!'"

On Brett: vintage ski sweater, Fahlgren tie. On Danielle: J.Crew, Franco Sarto heels.

Photographed by Kava Gorna
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Phoebe and Annette Stephens

We think that Annette (right) and Phoebe Stephens may have mastered the perfect formula for their stellar success with jewelry line, Anndra Neen: part amazing genetics (their Grandmother was a painter and jewelry designer, as well), part hardcore hard work, and lots of sisterly support. Hailing from Mexico City, the now NYC-based designers have been constantly dazzling us with their talent, inspired designs, and accessorizing skills. Their not-so-secret secret to success is likely having their best friend by their side to enjoy the crazy journey (even if that includes some scary plane rides).

You come from an extremely talented family. How much do you credit your genes for your talents and success?
"We grew up with a lot of artistic stimulation and were always encouraged to be creative. However, we believe that success comes from hard work and dedication."

You've both been there through each other's ups and downs, so we want to know from each of you, what was your sister's worst style moment growing up?
"Phoebe's was braces and crimped hair; Annette's was Uggs and sweatpants in boarding school!"

We have to ask (because our moms definitely did this), did you guys rock a ton of matching outfits when you were younger?
"Yes. Our favorite time was when we dressed in matching outfits with our brothers all in the same fabric. The boys had jumpers and we were in dresses."

What's the best thing about working in the same industry as your sister?
"Having a partner that you trust implicitly. We get to share all aspects of the business and enjoy the successes as well as the challenges."

What's the worst?
"Nothing!"

Do you find that there's a lot of friction or competition between the two of you because you work in the same industry?
"Not at all; it's a true collaboration. We balance each other's perspectives."

Tell us about one of your favorite family traditions.
"Every time we're in a plane together, we always hold hands during takeoff."

How much do you consult each other about your style? And how brutally honest can you be with your sister?
"We are constantly consulting each other about our style and can be brutally honest but always loving."

Obviously you have things in common, but tell us something that makes you different?
"Annette sunburns, Phoebe tans."

Answer this: My sister never leaves home without...
"Blackberries (we each said it for each other!)"

On Annette: Matthew Ames pantsuit, Bottega Veneta pumps, Anndra Neen jewelry. On Phoebe: Oscar de la Renta jacket, Matthew Ames pants, vintage top, Chloe boots, Anndra Neen jewelry.

Photographed by Kava Gorna



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