Meet Ashley Chase, incredibly beautiful, decisively demure, and talented beyond belief. Her story is captivating and her swimwear line reflects just that. And at a time of the year when the temperature is dropping and dark days seem to outnumber the light ones, most Vineyarders are dreaming of their favorite sunny spots.
Ashley's SeaLove Swimwear is thoughtfully designed in Martha's Vineyard and proudly constructed in Bali.
Martha's Vineyard, here's Ashley...
MV Patch: How long have you lived on Martha's Vineyard and in what part of the island do you spend the most time?
Ashely Chase: I had a nomadic upbringing. Since my family's house in Vineyard Haven was the one place that remained a constant, it felt like home to me so long as my memory draws back. It officially became the one-and-only residence of ''my things'' when I was 17.
MV Patch: Where did you go to college and what did you study?
Ashley Chase: I transferred every year of college, reaping the perks of online classes while living on the beach in Indonesia. I studied Renaissance art while living in Italy; I compared and contrasted snowboarding conditions in Northern Vermont. I switched majors several times, graduating with a B.A. in the Arts and a B.S. in Alternative and Complementary Medicine. All the fun I had snowboarding was fairly well balanced against lengthy lessons on "Psuedo-stratisfied squamous epithelium cells."
MV Patch: What was it that made you decide to come back and make a life on the island?
Ashley Chase: I never really left. ...
MV Patch: What is your current job and what are your responsibilities?
Ashley Chase: I am the designer and co-owner of a swimwear and resort wear company - Sea.Love Swimwear. There's a full spectrum of creative to cumbersome elements. Designing, creating, and curating events like fashion shows seem to be the most glamourous, while things like bookkeeping, budgeting and maintaining inventory make you desperately wonder how long it's going to be before you can afford to hire employees.
MV Patch: Tell me a little bit about the timeline of events that let you to your current job?
Ashley Chase: I fell in love with someone prior to my junior year of college, and did what any sane-minded girl would do ... dropped out of school on the day that my classes resumed and hopped a flight to the other side of the world - Bali. The story became more sensible from there on. After a failed montage marathon of swimsuit shopping, I decided to bring my own design to a local seamstress, and the first Ashley-original teeny bikini was born. I fell in love with Bali, and the next year when I went back, I made dozens more. And so on...
MV Patch: What interesting projects are you currently working on?
Ashley Chase: We just started to make women's wetsuits and rash guards - bringing some cheeky cuts and fun color-blocking to them. Also, SeaLove's getting ready for our first trade show in Orlando this January.
MV Patch: Are you involved in any other groups/committees on island?
Ashley Chase: I was so happy when my friend Noli Taylor, the coordinator for Island Grown Schools, asked me to be their illustrator for Harvest of the Month. It's been great working with graphic designer Jess Hayes and Island Grown Initiative is the bomb!
MV Patch: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ashley Chase: Owning and operating a successful company or 'slinging swimsuits' as my friends say; painting, snorkeling with sharks in the Maldives, snowboarding in Norway... maybe snowboarding with sharks or snorkeling with snowboards. That and much more!
Check out her designs and newest collection at www.sealoveswimwear.com