Written By: Ellie Nan Storck | Photography By: Brian Sager
What happens when three beautiful, young fashion entrepreneurs join forces on Nantucket?
This Wine Festival weekend, three budding fashion entrepreneurs are making a splash on Nantucket’s boutique clothing scene by opening a high-end pop-up shop at 23 Old South Wharf. Taylor Ivey, Sara Rossi, and Milicent Armstrong each founded independent merchandise brands before joining forces to create a retail space on Nantucket that will wed high fashion with a fresh take on classic New England style. “The underlying theme is great quality and great design,” said Armstrong. “We’re choosing brands that have interesting, innovative new designs — designers who are pioneers in fashion.” And in fun Nantucket style, the three beauties have coyly named their shop The Skinny Dip.
“The way that little girls dream about their Nantucket weddings, that’s how we’ve been dreaming about The Skinny Dip,” said Rossi. Both she and Armstrong grew up vacationing on the island, while Ivey visited Nantucket once in her youth and then again several years ago when she first launched her brand. “There is such a nice synergy between what all of us do and where we are with our businesses that when the opportunity came up to do a retail location on the island it was a no-brainer for us to partner on it,” Rossi said.
Rossi’s Beau & Ro Bag Company combines utility and style with her convertible belt bags for women that are fashionable, functional and made from materials sourced from all over the world. Armstrong’s company, Artemis Design Co., has a similar international look and feel with handbags, shoes and accessories made from textiles she hand selects abroad, specifically rugs from Turkey and Morocco. Finally, Ivey’s line, Ellsworth & Ivey, offers a contemporary take on timeless women’s wear based on the clean and classic style of her two grandmothers, whom she named the line after. Stylish capes are her signature pieces.
Beyond their own wears, The Skinny Dip girls will be featuring brands from other innovative designers who you can’t find on Nantucket. “We’re trying to do something a little bit different,” explained Rossi. “We want to bring out things that people haven’t seen — that flavor that makes a lot of sense on the island, but isn’t necessarily here.” When sourcing the brands, the designers expressed a strong commitment to high-quality merchandise made in America.
They also have an extensive calendar of events planned at The Skinny Dip to get the community involved in their summer collective. From floral design classes to a speaking series to summertime parties, The Skinny Dip girls want their space to serve the community that has supported their launch. “We really want to embrace the work community, other vendors, proprietors, and we’ll definitely have lots of parties,” said Rossi. “We want to be more than just a retail store,” Ivey added. “We want to be a hub that people go to for collaboration.”
The Skinny Dip will have its grand opening on May 18th, and will remain open for the duration of the island’s summer season, closing for Columbus Day weekend and reopening for the Stroll in December. “I think the main thing is that we all love Nantucket so much,” said Armstrong. “We always fantasized about opening a store together on Nantucket. It’s a special place for us.”
Learn more at skinnydipnantucket.com.