Meet Your Neighbors: Fallon & Ava, Creators of the Perfect Turtleneck
What’s in a turtleneck? Few articles of clothing are as iconic – exuding quiet power and intrigue, they command attention while cladding you in armor. They’ve been a staple garment for some of the world’s most influential people – think Steve Jobs, Carl Sagan, The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Brigit Bardot, Rihanna.
As Hudson Yards residents and fashion entrepreneurs Fallon and Ava King put it, “Every icon wears a turtleneck. Now it’s your turn." This month, the sisters launched their pop-up store at High Line Nine gallery in Chelsea, with a shopping experience akin to stepping into a loving home. The pop-up will run through Oct. 31. The Related Life recently interviewed Fallon and Ava about their eponymous brand, to learn more about their story, inspiration, and lessons they’ve learned along the way.
Fallon & Ava intends to be the destination for the perfect turtleneck. Along the way, a partnership with The Dwelling Place, a women’s shelter with a unique model, ensures women have the support, security and love they need to rebuild their lives.
“We were raised by strong women, growing up we were surrounded by strong women and we want to keep empowering other women to seize the careers they want to have,” said Ava.
The Journey to the Perfect Turtleneck
The story of the Fallon & Ava brand highlights grit and empowerment. They knew they wanted to be in business together someday; after all they’ve grown up doing everything together, both having attended FIT (Fallon for design and Ava for PR/marketing) and now living together. During the pandemic, an idea popped into their heads: turtlenecks.
“It was so authentic for us. Our mom dressed us in turtlenecks when we were kids, and then growing up it became our go-to look,” Fallon said. “Everyone just kind of knew us for, 'oh you guys are always wearing your black turtlenecks and jeans.'”
As soon as they could get into department stores, they went competitive shopping. Not one department store associate could recommend a brand for the perfect turtleneck. A year of fabric, design and sourcing research would lead them to a woman-owned factory in Brooklyn for the first prototypes. With five iterations, the process took months.
“It was a challenge working through the pandemic. Half the process occurred over email until we could finally step foot into the factory,” Fallon said.
After the Brooklyn factory perfected the design, Fallon & Ava moved production to Italy, using an Italian yarn and viscose blend that’s breathable, moves with the body and elongates the figure.
The Bow is their latest offering. A softer profile with an adjustable bow, the black Bow beautifully complements any outfit, from jeans to long skirts. Their other offering is a classic turtleneck style that comes in black, beige, and a luscious powder blue that’s an ode to the colors of their family home.
After all, shopping at their pop-up is meant to be a comforting, familial experience.
“We welcome our customers the way that we welcome guests into our home,” Ava explained. “Think of it like shopping in your own closet.”
Confidence During Challenging Times
Though it was exceptionally challenging for the sisters to launch a fashion brand during the pandemic, they said they approached the process by taking it one day at a time and by prioritizing their nutrition, physical and mental health.
“Our to-do lists are so important, but living in the present moment and taking things one day at a time really keeps you at peace and helps your mission,” Fallon said.
“To female entrepreneurs, to any woman out there, I want to say – you’ll always have people try to tear you down, or tell you that you can’t do it,” Ava added. “My advice is to do it anyway, because you will prove them wrong. You have that idea or passion planted in you for a reason. We need to see more of those ideas in the world. We need more women to embrace their inner strength.”
Family and female empowerment are among the brand’s defining values. That’s why they’ve aligned with The Dwelling Place. For every turtleneck sold, one is donated to a woman in the organization’s care. Fallon & Ava both sit as co-chairs on the associate’s board hosting workshops, dinners and luncheons and making themselves available for mentoring.
“We just love that they treat them like family there. And even after they’ve helped them get back on their feet and they have an apartment, these women still come back and visit, have dinners with them, participate in the workshops,” said Fallon. “It’s really special that The Dwelling Place can create this environment that feels like a family and they make them feel loved. We think it is so important. We promote confidence in women, so I think the biggest way to feel confident is to feel loved. And I think that’s what gives these women strength, that they don’t feel like they are just another number in the shelter.”
If you're in the New York area, stop in to High Line Nine gallery through Oct. 31! Meet Fallon & Ava in-person, and fall in love with a luxurious turtleneck that helps nurture and empower women.
The Related Life is written and produced by the Related Life Editorial Team. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest events, news and announcements in your area, and tag us for a chance to be featured @therelatedlife and #therelatedlife.