Reworking Girl

Nantucket designer Cheryl Fudge sees a chemise in that silk scarf you’re wearing. Or is it a minidress fit for a star?

Former New Yorker Cheryl Fudge first found a niche on Nantucket by transforming vintage Gucci and Chanel scarves into quirky-sexy halters favored by celebrities like Julia Roberts and Fergie. After six years, the unforgettably named 41-year-old now oversees a sweet personal empire: Women flock to her for custom looks for their every yacht party and island gala, while wee stylistas clamor to sign up for her Fashion Camp workshops, where she teaches kids to create their own clothing. Her store, Nantucket Stock Exchange, showcases funky dresses and separates, plus a selection of vintage jewelry. With her designs striking a cheeky balance between hipster and prepster, who says never the twain shall meet?

What do you do when you’re not designing? I’m an actor, for one. At the local theater I just did a Harold Pinter play and a children’s TV show called Detention with Oliver Diamond. I’m also leading a project to ship donated clothing to Ruth’s House, a Haverhill thrift shop, and Lazarus House, a homeless shelter in Lawrence. And I cook for a revolving door of houseguests.

How do ideas come to you? Sometimes it starts with seeing something look sexy on a woman. Like, I’ll turn a man’s oxford shirt into my own design of an oxford dress. Or, like a kid playing dress-up, I’ll start with a pile of vintage scarves or fabrics, then shred them, change their texture, maybe their color.

Why Nantucket? There’s a freedom that I never felt living in New York or anyplace else. And I hate winter clothes, and designing for summer works here.

You’re a local celebrity. What’s that like? What people consider “celebrity” on Nantucket is how dialed into the scene you are. If that makes me a celebrity, I’ll see you at the next big party.

What about your famous shoppers? I rarely recognize stars, but I do know well-known faces wear my clothes, like Carson Kressley and Sting—and most of the billionaires who summer here.