"I'm a thirteenth generation Mainer—which is unusual—so my family is basically all fishermen," Brook DeLorme tells me as we sit in her sun-soaked apartment located on a wharf in Portland. The comforting cries of seagulls echo off the fishing boats in the harbor below, as the salty ocean air wafts in through the open window. Daniel Pepice, her husband, walks in from the kitchen holding a bottle of white wine, which he adds to the beautifully arranged spread of figs, cheese, blackberries, and watermelon laid out for us to snack on. Things could most definitely be worse.
Where It All Began
While DeLorme is Maine-born and -bred, Pepice hails from Connecticut. The two creatives met 15 years ago while DeLorme was studying sculpture and photography and Pepice graphic design at Maine College of Art here in Portland. After school they went their separate ways (Pepice went to work on various men's fashion brands in New York City), but reunited several years later to start an avant-garde art gallery in Portland called 37A.
A Lingerie Line is Born
Fast forward to 2016, and they now both work together on Brook There, an organic lingerie line cut and sewn in the U.S. "I officially started the brand almost 10 years ago, but at first it was more of just an art project," DeLorme says while Max, their 20-year-old cat, sits purring in her lap. "Then when Daniel and I started working on it together, I was like, 'OK, let's make this a business. Let's find manufacturing, let's clean up the brand imaging, and work on the social media—let's turn up the dials.'"
Brook There now does all of its production in Fall River, MA, in a beautiful facility DeLorme and Pepice visit once a month. They also do all their distribution in the same place, in order to remove one step of the shipping process. "We are able to take the fabric to Massachusetts, cut it there, sew it there, and ship it there," explains DeLorme. "That was an important thing for us," adds Pepice. "It cuts out that step of putting every little thing in a plastic bag to send out across the world."
The Inspiration Behind Brook There
"I like nature, I like tiny houses, and I like fashion," DeLorme lists. "Our mood boards are mostly just colors, though. Daniel and I will go through a stack of magazines together and pick the hues—it's purely intuition. One of the major impetuses behind the brand was that it was really hard for me to find supportive and comfortable lingerie. Ours has a double layer of fabric, so they provide more structure without an underwire than I was finding in other brands."
The Maine Attraction
"When I moved to Portland, it immediately appealed to me because I wanted a place where I could explore and experiment," Pepice tells me. "Maine really affords people that opportunity. There's slightly less pressure to perform here then someplace like Brooklyn, and because rent is much less than what it would be there, people have more of an opportunity to express their creative side. They can take risks they wouldn't normally be able to do in a larger market."
"One thing we love doing on weekends is taking the ferry over to Peaks Island with our bicycles," says DeLorme. "It's the perfect day trip. The ride is really romantic because the island is so adorable, and it's filled with all these teeny, tiny Victorian houses. For a longer weekend, we'll go to Midcoast or down east to the Camden/Belfast area. Daniel and I also rock climb, and often go to a nearby rock gym called Salt Pump Climbing Co. Other than that, we just eat a lot of food and read a lot of books."
See more Brook There designs at brookthere.com, and follow them on Snapchat and Instagram at @brookthere.