Brook There's Ethically Made, Organic Lingerie
The Portland, ME-based designer chats about creating a comfortable alternative to synthetic basics
When Brook DeLorme first launched her line Brook There in 2007 as a spin-off of her and husband's shirting label Seawall, her focus was on creating soft, easy loungewear pieces that would highlight the elegance of handcrafted, no-fuss basics. However, it wasn’t until DeLorme began creating soft-cup lingerie sets that her collection really began to take off. The Maine-based designer found a strong following in Portland, where her simple-yet-feminine designs hanging in the windows of her streetside studio attracted both locals and tourists.
A dream come true for ladies with a penchant for simple styling and organic fabrics, DeLorme’s collection is inspired by her own struggle to find bras that were supportive, wireless and not made from synthetic materials. Using herself and two of her seamstresses as fit models, DeLorme produces styles that are comfortable for sizes 32A through 36D. Her signature silhouette—a double-layered cotton jersey cup with just enough structure to conceal and shape—embodies her laid-back aesthetic and emphasis on daily wear. To get an inside look at her process, DeLorme spoke to CH about the choices behind her collection.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Inspiration is so non-verbal. It's mostly just an attraction—to a color, or a texture, or a pattern, or the way light works. This sense of attraction to different visuals is constantly shifting and updating. There's never a lack of inspiration. Since organic fabrics are rarely available in prints or patterns in the quantities we buy at, much of the design work is about translating the easy inspiration into the realities of sourcing and production.
Custom lingerie tends to be expensive, how do you find a balance between quality fabrics and price?
Most of the cost of high-end lingerie is in the labor actually, not fabrics. Nice fabrics do cost significantly more, but this is off-set by the relatively small size of bras or underwear. However, lingerie pieces—especially bras or the keyhole style underwear—do require a fair bit of skill and time to produce, which translates into higher cost. A core value for us is to produce in the USA, and, for the time being, in Maine.
Why do you use organic fabrics?
My interest in organic sources has been lifelong. My parents sought out organic products before there was popular awareness (in the '80s to early '90s) and later started organic farms. The desire to use organic is two-fold: it's an environmental choice and a personal choice. It's about the way cotton or sheep are farmed and raised, and it's about what we put next to our skin.
How do you describe your aesthetic?
It's feminine, but not girly. The colors I prefer are like notes in a minor key. There are small details, rather than big shapes. Everything is wearable. It's thoughtful.
Do you think living and working in Maine has influenced the way you design?
Yes—pragmatism and simplicity are long-held Maine values. On one side, we can trace my family back 13 generations—just in Maine. So I feel very connected to the place. Natural fabrics, long-lasting styles, unfussy appearance, comfort and practicality are all design choices that I imagine must be influenced by living in this place.
Visit Brook There's online shop to peruse their silk and organic offerings; underwear starts at $32 and bras, $52.
Images courtesy of Christina Jorro