Designing Women

May 1, 2013 | By Brittany Atiburcio

Founders of clothing line Fighting Eel give us the scoop on their Waikiki location.



As their 10-year anniversary approaches, locally designed clothing line Fighting Eel continues to expand by opening a third store location right here in Waikiki. The 820-square-foot boutique—located in the Royal Hawaiian Center—opens this May and features the Fighting Eel collection as well as their newest line, Ava Sky. Owners Rona Bennett and Lan Chun—childhood friends and old roommates— started the company in 2003. Fighting Eel grew over the years to include a bridal line, children’s wear and most recently, a new resort collection called Ava Sky. We got the tight twosome to take a few moments out of their busy schedules to answer some questions about the brand, the new boutique and give us the inside scoop on their favorite spots in Waikiki.

Since launching in 2003, what has been the driving force to continue the brand and expand Fighting Eel?

We love what we do and we always want to move forward and grow. It’s like our child; we want to nurture it and make it better.

What influences and inspires your designs? Can you tell us more about Ava Sky?

Our customers really influence and inspire our designs. All our designs are simple, flattering, and comfortable. We make your “go-to” pieces that you know you’ll look good in. The newest line, Ava Sky, is our resort line. It is casual enough for Hawai‘i, but can be dressed up for evening. We like to make clothes that you can wear again and again.

Why did you choose to set up shop in Waikiki?

We felt that it was time to open a store here, especially with the launching of Ava Sky. The two lines together would be great for visitors and locals.

What do you love most about coming to Waikiki?

We like the hustle and bustle of it. There is so much life there!

What are some of your favorite places to eat in and around Waikiki?

Marukami Udon, for something yummy and quick. Cocktails at The Royal Hawaiian for the best Mai Tais. Brunch at Orchids at the Halekulani and happy hour at Rum Fire at Sheraton Waikiki.

What is your favorite piece from Fighting Eel or Ava Sky?

Rona: My favorite is the Cardigan Nadine (from Fighting Eel). Lan: I love the Dress Kenzie from the Fighting Eel line.

As for Ava Sky, we both love the smock pants.

For more information, call Fighting Eel at (808) 524-1472 or visit