By Rachel Sokol
Former massage therapist and photographer Brooke Rodd, 37, had it all: a husband with a blossoming acting career, two kids, a Hamptons home and a West Village apartment. But Rodd wanted to add more color into her life – literally.
“I always wanted to do something with fashion,” says Rodd, a Long Island native with a self-proclaimed eye for patterns. “I was always a trendsetter. Growing up, my whole day revolved around what I was wearing. Okay, who am I kidding? It still does,” she admits, recalling that as a teenager she loved Manhattan thrift stores. “We couldn’t afford name brands, so I learned how to style vintage clothing.”
In 2010, the Rodd family moved from Long Island to Los Angeles. “I got the kids settled in school, and then I was bored out of my mind. I took the last money we had in savings and launched a clothing line, thinking ‘Maybe I can build something from this…’”
New York Flair
Rodd explored textile warehouses in Los Angeles, asking if she could purchase their old fabrics. “Oftentimes, an amazing print 30 feet above my head caught my attention,” says Rodd. “I was drawn to bathing suit fabrics from the 1960s and 1970s. The colors were so mod and retro.” Rodd stored the vintage fabrics in her garage, sketched out dresses and hooked up with a patternmaker and sample maker.
The result? In January 2011, Brooke Rodd Designs made its online debut, offering a variety of brightly patterned dresses. “I was feeling a little homesick, so I added some New York sophistication and flair to each silhouette,” says Rodd.
A “One-of-a-Kind” Line
Shannon Zucchero is the owner of Flying Point Surf Boutique, an East Hampton store that carries Rodd’s line. “The fabric she uses fits a woman beautifully, and the patterns are unique, but classic,” says Zucchero. “Brooke’s tube dresses in particular can be worn as a cover-up or dress. It retailed well for us.”
Rodd’s mission is “to create limited-edition clothes and upcycle them using already-made fabrics. “You can wear my dresses in Manhattan and in Hamptons,” she says, adding, “They can also be ‘winterized’ with a cardigan or tights with tall or short boots.”
Leila Feinstein, a news anchor for KT-LA in Los Angeles, is a fan. “Brooke’s designs are so hip,” says Feinstein. “I receive many compliments when I wear a Brooke Rodd dress on-air.”
Adding the “Edge”
Rodd was recently featured on The Sundance Channel’s “All On the Line,” in which Ellemagazine’s Creative Director Joe Zee “advised me to infuse more New York edginess into the California vibe I created.” On the show, Rodd – nicknamed “the print girl” – was invited to create a special Sundance Channel line, currently available at Zappos.com. “It’s East Coast meets West Coast,” explains Rodd. “It has more solid colors and more silks.”
Zee told Rodd, “There is no one more New York than you.”
“I think he’s right!” laughs Rodd. “I never forget my design roots, my inspiration, my home.”
For more information, visit BrookeRodd.com.