Chandler Cook moved to the Island five years ago with a passion for all things art, and a love for the place that held cherished memories from childhood summers. Cook moved to Chilmark after attending Lesley University College of Art and Design with a combined major in photography and videography. Two years ago, Cook took her next step in the arts, starting a local business, Lucy Vincent Apparel, named after the iconic Chilmark beach, which offers hand-dyed and screenprinted T shirts and designs.
“I wanted to start making things with my hands again,” Cook told The Local, “so I decided to look into screenprinting, and a good friend of mine, Liane FitzGerald of Roy Bikini, actually started teaching me the process.”
Cook sources fabric for her apparel from a factory in California, and most of the products are 48 percent cotton and 52 percent polyester. Once she receives the raw product, she hand-dip-dyes the Ts using nontoxic dye, and hangs them to dry on clotheslines outside her small studio in Chilmark. Then she creates the screens to print the iconic “Lucy” name, with the sedimentary rock logo. Cook prints on T shirts, crop tops, tanks, sweatshirts, tote bags, and more.
Screenprinting is a printing technique that uses mesh material to transfer ink onto a surface, except in areas made impermeable to the ink by a blocking stencil. Cook hand-burns her screens to create the stencils she uses for her designs. Aside from the classic “Lucy” name and rock logo, Cook also creates screens that read “Chappaquiddick,” “SurfMV,” and “AQMV.”
Cook sells her apparel at Citrine in Vineyard Haven, Salte in Edgartown, Allen Farm, the Chilmark Flea Market, and Island pop-ups. Cook plans to donate part of Lucy Vincent Apparel profits to conservation organizations that help to preserve oceans and beaches; those partnerships that are still in the works, according to Cook. “Oceans have always been really important to me, and it’s an even bigger issue now,” she said. “I didn’t want to start up another T shirt company just because. I wanted to give back and be sustainable.”
When discussing the scope of Cook’s brand, it’s easy to forget she’s running it solo, with little assistance. “It’s just me in my studio until God knows when,” she said. Cook’s mother and sister occasionally step in, but for the bulk of the year, she’s hard at work on Lucy Vincent Apparel in between jobs as a nanny, gardener, freelance photographer, assistant to a wedding coordinator, and assistant to a private chef. “It all kind of flew together, and just stuck,” Cook explained.
Everything is one-of-a-kind, and each item is part of a limited run, style, and color. Depending on the product, some items can even be customized. Salte offers its own limited edition styles in partnership with Cook.
Lucy Vincent Apparel is appealing to tourists and locals alike, especially because of the connection that many form to the name Lucy, and a love for the up-Island beach.
“I didn’t want to be another girl with another clothing company,” Cook explained. And while it has certainly made for a packed workday, Cook said, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
For more information and updates on Lucy Vincent Apparel, visit the Instagram page @lucyvincentapparel.