In a few short seasons, Brook DeLorme has made quite the name for herself in Portland’s hipster chic scene. Focusing on wearable garments in sustainable fabrics, DeLorme knows where the future of fashion is headed and is taking it on full force.
PD: At what age did you begin to take note of clothing?
I sewed myself a pair of shoes out of green felt when I was 7, but started making dresses when I was 13. My mom taught me to use a sewing machine. I got all these patterns from the 1960s in a used book store, and made really mod little dresses out of cotton prints.
PD: How would you describe your own style?
It’s a colorful uniform: ribbed tank tops that I buy for $5, hoodies, and skirts. I usually make the skirts and sweatshirts I wear. Cool sneakers are more my thing than heels; so outfits tend to have a relaxed feel. raspberry, lavendar, coral, white, & denim- my favorite colors to wear.
PD: Is this reflected in your collection?
Colorwise, my collection definitely reflects my personal style. I use orange a lot. The skirts and hoodies are things I wear every day, and I love the sportiness of the thumbholes that are in the sweatshirts and tube-shirts. They make me feel very hip…;)
PD: What is your philosophy when it comes to designing?
I develop pieces from a theme. For fall I was trying to visualize the split between work/play, desire/reality of the typical girl’s life. For spring 08 I’ve been designing around the idea of “starting over” — piecing something together that has been broken.
PD: The most inspirational place you’ve visited thus far?
The internet 😉
PD: What is your favorite fabric to work with?
Bamboo, right now. It’s sustainable, and very silky when woven in a jersey. It dyes nicely.
PD: What is the main advantage of keeping production local?
As a small manufacturer, I need to be able to easily communicate with the contractor who is sewing. Distance only enhances whatever other barriers there may be (language, experience, etc) Additionally, the process is iterative- a piece has to be designed, then refined so it can be manufactured.
PD: Is there a huge difference in producing non-organic vs. organic articles of clothing?
Sourcing is much more difficult with sustainable fabrics. There are very few US suppliers, and the fabrics sell out. I’m moving towards more sustainable fabrics, but not 100%. Organic production is another step that I’m not near accomplishing yet. That would limit options for zippers, button, interfacing, and colors (dyes). Technically speaking, the ‘production’ part is organic- people do it without chemicals- but all the inputs haven’t been checked. Additionally, I’m still going to use silk, because I like it. I’ve tried working with some of the hemp-silk mixes and didn’t enjoy the feel.
PD: Your fall collection has such an easy, but pulled together feeling to it…how do you achieve this?
Thank you…Well, it’s a very small collection, and I limited the color palette. It’s just like packing in that sense- if you can only have 10 things, they all have to work together!
PD: We’re loving the thumbholes in sweaters easily suitable for the office. Do you keep the designs versatile on purpose, or do things naturally go in that direction?
Versatility is key. It’s a fantasy of mine to have only 3 or 4 types of clothing in a bunch of colors. Right now I really like a covered-up, modest look, which leads to clothes that can be worn in more situations.
PD: What is the brook.there girl like?
She likes to read, is technically savvy, finds work interesting and fulfilling
Shop brook.there online at eggshellboutique.com. The line can also be found at Bliss in Portland, OR, and both Alo in Cambridge and Velvet Ribbon in Brookline, MA. More details at brookthere.com