SummerSkin Founder Summer Kramer was 26 years old, and had a career as a pharmacist, when she was diagnosed with melanoma in her left leg. She caught the cancer early, and was able to get it treated in time, but the experience wound up changing her life. "My dermatologist told me that in order to lower the likelihood of a re-occurance I needed to start wearing sun-protective clothing," Kramer explains, "and not just during the summertime, but year-round."
As it turns out, finding sun-protective clothing that Kramer actually wanted to wear was somewhat of a challenge. As she explains, "at the time, the only options available were active outerwear, garments that were much more suited for a safari, not clothing that would be practical for a stylish 26 year old." So Kramer decided there was really only one solution; to launch her own line of "wearable, fashionable sunscreen."
The journey from conception to actually launching the line turned out to be a long and complicated process. The first challenge was finding the right materials. Kramer explains, "I spent years researching and testing hundreds of fabrics to find the perfect blends that provide optimal sun-protection, as well as beauty and comfort for year-round wear." To make matters more difficult, most of the options out there use added, high-impact chemicals. Kramer wanted her fabric choices to be as natural and eco-friendly as possible. Eventually, Kramer found the perfect, extra-soft blend of cotton, bamboo and spandex, and was able to avoid the added chemical route, "by using fabrics with the right weight, weave and color."
As far as design goes, Kramer did not have any previous experience, but creates clothes based on "what I want to wear." This translates into laid back, super-versatile pieces like her sleeveless maxi-dress, which is suited perfectly both for a mid-summer picnic, and, with a some added layering, for wearing to work during the colder months. Other highlights are the Endless Summer scarf, which features a drawstring and can be worn about a thousand different ways (including as a skirt), and the palazzo pant made out of the lightest, softest denim ever.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!