Brook DeLorme and Vanessa Romanoff are native Mainers, Portland residents and members of Creative Portland, a nonprofit organization focused on growing Portland’s creative industries.
They share a passion for the outdoors, and from an early age were both encouraged to foster their creativity and support others’ creative endeavors, too. DeLorme is the designer and production manager for her own lingerie line. Romanoff works to involve community in the performing arts and also promotes a local art gallery’s exhibitions and events.
Both women exemplify how the creative spirit can be put to work.
Growing up in Cumberland and Yarmouth, DeLorme spent her youth drawing, painting and making things, including a burgeoning passion for clothing design – she started making her own clothes at age 12. She attended Maine College of Art in Portland, where she met her husband, Daniel Pepice, and today they have an organic cotton lingerie clothing line called Brook There.
DeLorme, 36, is the designer and production manager, relying on her early interest in fashion as her guide, while Pepice runs the financial side of the business, including strategy, marketing, sales and graphic design. He has a background in visual design and men’s fashion.
DeLorme’s vision for the brand is a balance of comfort and confidence. The line includes underwear, unpadded and wireless bras, tanks, T-shirts, shorts and leggings, all made with organic cotton and real silk. Products are made in the United States and DeLorme and Pepice use low-impact and sustainable methods whenever possible.
Also a writer, DeLorme begins each day working on her blog. She puts value in writing by hand, which she says allows her to think more clearly, even if a piece will end up being transcribed into an email or blog post.
She has an unquenchable thirst for learning and foreign languages; she recently translated a book of poetry, originally written in Arabic by a friend, Kifah Abdulla, and held a book launch at MECA in June.
“Creativity only feels like a gift to me, and it feels always present,” DeLorme says. “The things that ebb and flow are the practical realities of life, which allow me more or less time to engage with creative work.”
Romanoff grew up surrounded by family and friends with passions: creative-problem solvers, artists and musicians.
“I learned the power of positivity and of supporting earnest creative efforts,” she says. “To me, we were all artists, students, teachers and storytellers on a spectrum – the only variable was experience.”
“I have a background in traditional and musical theater, and I am a huge fan of and advocate for our film and theater communities,” Romanoff says. “When I can, I seek any opportunity to be part of a performance project if it can help me to grow as an artist.”
Her favorite kind of creativity is centrally focused around problem solving, including improvisation, which she explains can happen anywhere, be it a classroom, recording studio, board room or kitchen.
“I believe creativity is a great privilege; it’s the antithesis of boredom,” she says.
And she regularly seeks out live performances, exhibitions, readings and other creative demonstrations, to see what each has to offer.
“It is wonderful to celebrate the array and level of creativity in our community,” she says. “I rarely return home without at least one new idea.”