When I arrived to the coffee shop where I was supposed to meet the duo behind EZ (Eekiel Design), you could definitely see that there are quite a few creatives frequenting the place. For once, I found Zohar (one half of EZ) sitting outside with who seemed like a fabric supplier, excitingly going through piles and piles of fabric swatches.
I learned later on that the small scale chaos of paper cards on that coffee table was for the SS16 collection of her womenswear brand that is a part of EZ.
But EZ is not only about clothes. It was born as a collaboration between Shimon Ezekiel and Zohar Kalev – a couple who lives and designs together.
Zohar has Two Tone, womens’ clothing label with minimalist aesthetics and comfortable oversized shapes. Shimon is the designer behind Ezekiel Jewelry Collection – upcycled pieces with a modern flair. Jewelry is only a part of Shimon’s work, he is also a talented product designer, and has created beautiful light fixtures that were very well received within the local design community. Together those brands create the ambitious lifestyle project that is EZ.
The duo sat down with us to talk about how it all started and what does the future hold.
Tell us a little bit about the EZ how did it all start?
Shimon: For me it all started from working at a carpentry during my studies. At the same time I started working on my final project. When it came to searching for the materials, naturally I leaned towards wood. The project I was working on at that time, was an armchair. While I was working on it, I also started designing a line of light fixtures.
After completing my studies, I had this unfinished line and wanted to do my own thing. I already have opened a renovation business a year before that, so I just redefined it as a product design studio. I started with the light fixtures line and while I was working on it, the jewelry line was born. Today there are three light fixture collections and two jewelry collections.
Can you tell us more about the connection between the two brands and how it was born?
Zohar: We became a couple while studying at the same school but worked separately on our own projects. The connection was born when Shimon opened an Etsy shop. It became obvious when we did a photoshoot and styled my clothes with his jewelry. Our product worked very well together on screen. The merchandise mix in the store and the way it all looked just seemed right.
So it was never planned to be that way. Visually it worked way before we thought about the concept and how we develop the idea further.
We design in a similar way, we think alike and each interprets the ideas to his own field. The transition was very much an evolvement, and felt very organic.
So now, when working on a new collection – is there a dialogue?
Shimon: We advise each other throughout the entire process. When it comes to Zohar’s work – we discuss fabrics, colors, ideas – what to do or how to do it, what styles to introduce. When it comes to my work, we talk about colors, sizes, shapes…
Usually we do the photoshoots together, we market and promote as one. There are many points where our work and businesses intertwine.
Lighting fixtures are a bit of a different story and the promotion of the collection is separate but still the decision process is the same.
Zohar: I think that if we would start the business now, we would create more of a lifestyle brand that gives solutions to people who relate to our aesthetics. We do not limit ourselves in terms of product. The fact that I come from fashion design and he comes from product design, doesn’t matter as much. When it comes to design, I believe the profile distinction is not that important. He still can choose fabrics for Two Tone and I can choose materials for his collection. When you have the same aesthetics and vision, you don’t have to be limited.
How about the inspiration process? How does it work?
Shimon: Well it’s more of a “one thing led to another” kind of inspiration. There are some guidelines that will always be present in our work. For Zohar it will be using the best fabrics available and making comfort a priority. For me it will be letting the material "lead” – let it set the tone and release its’ potential.
Zohar: Yes, I think it is safe to say for both of us that we are not “inspiration board” kind of people. There are designers who relate to that kind of process: having a motif or a concept as their starting point. We start with the materials. Of course the brands have an agenda and we stick to it when working on a collection. For example Two Tone is built on a concept of men’s classic oxford shirt. But it evolves and reinterprets and grows into something that is very far from the starting point. Still we have our language and it is becoming more and more recognizable, even when we step away from the familiar.
What is the most exciting part of your work?
Shimon: Yesterday I had something very exciting happening. Usually, working on a product is a process, you always want to better it. There is always something to improve, change and develop. But sometimes in a rare occasion there is a point when you look at the product and think “this is it”. This is what it should be. And when it happens it’s worth everything.
Zohar: I get excited by professionals, people who do a great work and make it happen in the best way possible. With clothes it is especially important when it comes to the execution and workmanship.
Last question, what would be the next step for EZ ?
Shimon: The one stop shop concept – we see ourselves expanding the product mix further until the point when we reach a place where we are literally a “one stop shop”. Adding more variety and more product groups to complete EZ as a lifestyle brand – for example clothing, interior design, stationery, tech accessories and more …all in EZ aesthetics.