You could say Brooklyn-born twins Shimon and Ariel Ovadia were born into the retail business, their family having owned and operating a childrenswear brand since the mid '80s.
"We always knew we would be doing something together," says Ariel. "Although I'm not sure we imagined us working together as designers. We always had the same taste in music, decor and shared a very similar taste in clothes."
With an inherent understanding of retail, the Ovadia boys—who look so much alike they were assumed to be the same kid when they made newspaper deliveries as teenagers—decided to try their hand at design, launching a high-end menswear label, Ovadia & Sons, in 2010.
"We make sure everything in our designs is authentic," explains Shimon. "On the tailored clothing side—double-breasted suits and jackets with wide lapels, our cutaway collars on our dress shirts."
Working with top U.S. manufacturers as well as European artisans ("England for shoes and Scotland for cashmere," says Ariel), Ovadia & Sons creates pieces that seem destined for a discerning gentleman's closet, from the classic striped oxfords to quirkier finds like silk knit ties depicting tiny sailboats.
Of course, with great scruples comes great responsibility. "Nothing worthwhile is easy," says Shimon. "Managing the business and designing is a challenge, but we enjoy it."
Recently admitted into the CFDA, the brothers have seen their hard work pay off with a Barney's exclusive and GAP capsule collection slated to hit stores this fall.
But for the fellas, the most satisfying thing is "taking an idea and creating something that you can put on," explains Ariel. "We love making things and when people want to buy it and wear it, that's the most satisfying feeling."