Business

Designer fashion always in ‘Vogue’

Robin Callahan arranges the racks of designer clothing at Adam and Eve. - JESSE BEALS/Staff photo
Robin Callahan arranges the racks of designer clothing at Adam and Eve.
— image credit: JESSE BEALS/Staff photo

If the label fits, buy it at Adam and Eve.

Robin Callahan has always plugged in to new businesses, successfully running an air cargo service in Hawaii and then an art gallery in Seattle.

This time, her business has plugged her into the Bainbridge community.

Callahan brings designer chic to Winslow with the wholehearted enthusiasm of a fashion dynamo, with family and friends lending many hands to open Adam and Eve Clothing Company at the corner of Eriksen and Winslow.

The business, she says, is lighthearted and fun, with much less pressure than the art world; even at $400 for a jacket, buying merchandise is nothing like putting out $40,000 for a single art piece.

And Callahan’s son Colton, a junior in high school, and his friends work at the store.

“It’s fun to work with my son and his friends. They work hard, are trustworthy, and are having too much fun,” said Callahan, who drew on local designers, decorators and friends to bring the store from concept to a grand opening in just six weeks.

To be more available for her college-bound daughter, Callahan retired from her Pioneer Square art gallery of eight years in 2001, selling off everything – including many glass works – just three days before the Nisqually earthquake. But it took a new business venture for the 11-year island resident to feel sufficiently plugged back in to her community.

“I thought I would come back and connect, but it didn’t happen,” she said.

With work no longer taking her to Seattle, Callahan found shopping for designers and fashions she used to buy at Nordstrom hard to come by, and a ferry trip into downtown Seattle traffic cumbersome.

“So I decided to just do it: buy the funky jeans and cute T-shirts and bring classic, elegant clothes, but with the cuts and styles of today and designer clothes,” Callahan said. “I want to bring in the ‘names’ we hunt for when you travel. I want to have it here before everyone else.” At the same time, she tries to carry items to suit a variety of customers.

Callahan said she found that Seattle stores only carry a small percentage of a designer’s collection, and instead buy huge quantities of each item. She takes pride in carrying a wide range of items from various designers.

At Adam and Eve, urbane, masculine black jackets step out with perfectly sleek dress shirts. Be-ribboned, pointy-toed shoes (Carlos by Carlos, $79) and dressed-to-kill, low, black boots vye for attention with sophisticated suits for women (Theory jacket, $410; slacks, $250) across from shelves and shelves of designer jeans and huggingly soft cashmere sweaters.

The floor space is split evenly between men and women, and runs the gamut from casual to suits, from day to evening wear, but all very fashionable.

“You know the things you see in ‘Vogue’?” she asked. “They’re here – all the fun stuff you see in magazines and wish you knew where to find it.”

Hugo Boss and John Vavartos are among the designer labels she carries for men’s wear.

“I love buying men’s clothes – they’re just delicious,” Callahan said. “There’s all range of prices, with no sacrifice for quality.”

Meeting the boyfriend of a friend at Winslow Way and hearing him lament not being able to find reasonably priced “nice dress slacks for $120,” Callahan said was a memorable moment for her.

Adam and Eve carries dress slacks that begin in that price range. Rock and Republic, True Religion and Habitual jeans (around $175 a pair) and Rebecca Beeson T-shirts ($30-40 and up) appeal to the younger crowd.

Callahan had to reorder the stock of Beeson T-shirts before the store even opened; her stock was bought up by friends and young employees working on the business’ launch.

“(Beeson) does such a twist to a regular shirt, off the shoulder, a little tie,” Callahan said, demonstrating one with a vertical gather ($55), which with the pull of the ribbon turns from a modest to more daring décolletage.

But in the floor rack across from Beeson are nice pants and skirt suits by Theory, Michael Kors and Catherine Malandrino for the more conservative, but also clothes for the “shapely.”

“I love the jeans and funky clothes, and also like the designers (who are) hot in New York and L.A.,” Callahan said, but stresses at the same time, “I didn’t want somebody to come in and not find something.”

* * * * *

Designer fig leaves

Adam and Eve Clothing Company is located in the Winslow at 400 Winslow Way E.

Store hours are Monday through Wednesday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 842-7137.

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