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 chenburkett.com.