Martha’s Vineyard has no shortage of talented artists and designers. Its wild array of forests, shorelines, and sweeping sunsets brings inspiration to many creators. For fashion, Kenworthy Design is one local brand that personifies the natural beauty and feeling of the Island. Kenworthy is the collaboration of local mother-daughter duo Marlene Distefano and Randi Sylvia, and their collections of soft cotton, silk, linen, and hand-selected textiles come together to form a brand that is of the Island.
Kenworthy Design will host its upcoming fashion show at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary on Thursday, July 14, at 5 pm. The most recent summer collection is inspired by the sanctuary itself. Think Felix Neck at sunset: “Forest meets ocean meets clouds meets meadow,” Sylvia said. Spectators will be fully immersed in Sylvia’s and Distefano’s vision in the field at the beginning of the Felix Neck property.
Kenworthy began eight years ago when Sylvia agreed to help her mother, Distefano, make a small collection for the Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week Runway. The line was such a success the two went into business together, and have been hand-sewing stunning, Island-inspired pieces in their studio in Oak Bluffs ever since. Their clothing is elegant yet easy, the perfect transition from the beach to a dinner out on the town, the essence of the laid-back lifestyle of Martha’s Vineyard. Kenworthy began selling its goods at the Chilmark Flea Market and pop-ups at local shops. The brand has grown with such success, it now has its own store in downtown Edgartown.
Distefano and Sylvia strive to make timeless, unique garments for Island women and summer visitors alike. Their clothing draws inspiration from the Island, as well as their many trips abroad, and always highlights a nature-based color palette. Beginning with trips to Istanbul and Vietnam, the pair sifted through the marketplaces, selecting fabrics and textiles from the local merchants to bring home. More recently they have found themselves drawn to Central America. They began collaborating with local factories in Oaxaca, Mexico, to embroider some of their pieces, and have now started a knitwear line with local artisans in Peru. Along with their endeavors abroad, Kenworthy also works with other artists and makers on-Island. A longtime collaborator of Sylvia’s and local musician, Rose Guerin, recently released her debut solo single, “Awakening,” the first from an album to be released in the fall of 2022. Guerin and Sylvia came together to film the video for the release, which features garments from the new line.
The event at Felix Neck will be more than just a fashion show. “We wanted people to explore Felix Neck, it is such a special place, especially in all its summer glory, and we wanted people to see the inspiration behind the collection,” said Sylvia.
Food and drink will be served throughout the property, and Rose Guerin and Friends will perform in the amphitheater. The evening will end with a showing of the collection just before dusk. All pieces will be available for sale afterward.
Tickets can be purchased on the Kenworthy Design website at bit.ly/felixkenworthy, or in person at the shop at 38 Winter St. in Edgartown. Kenworthy will be donating all proceeds to Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary.