Coastal Living - - CURRENTS -

FOR CHEN BUR­KETT, de­sign­ing clothes was a tall or­der—lit­er­ally. Strug­gling to find stores that car­ried pieces to suit her stat­uesque frame, she be­gan mak­ing her own. Now, her epony­mous line brings her trop­i­cal style to peo­ple all over the world. HAVE YOU AL­WAYS WANTED TO BE A DE­SIGNER? “When I first made cloth­ing, it was pretty much out of need. I never re­ally stud­ied fash­ion. When I moved to New York, I wanted to be an at­tor­ney. All the men in my fam­ily are at­tor­neys, so I thought, ‘That seems to be the way to go.’ ”

SO HOW DID YOU END UP WITH YOUR OWN FASH­ION LINE? “In 2010, I made a skirt and posted a photo of it on Face­book. All my friends asked, ‘Did you make that?’ They wanted to buy it, and I thought that was odd! But I made some­thing and listed it on Etsy for a friend, and a to­tal stranger in Cal­i­for­nia pur­chased it be­fore she did. It kind of just hap­pened from there.”

WHAT IN­SPIRES YOUR DE­SIGNS? “Grow­ing up in An­tigua, there was color ev­ery­where. Be­fore I knew it was in­spi­ra­tion, it was just life. It was the way that we lived. Our food is col­or­ful, our gar­dens are col­or­ful, our homes are col­or­ful. It’s just so rich and beau­ti­ful.”

WHAT MAKES AN­TIGUA SUCH A GEM? “Ev­ery­one is a tour guide. No mat­ter where you go, some­one has his­tory about that vil­lage or par­ish. [Lo­cals] are al­ways will­ing to show you around and tell you about our is­land. There’s so much unique beauty in An­tigua that makes it spe­cial.”

Shop the de­signs at right and more at chen­bur­

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