When I became aware of the sun's damaging affects to skin, causing premature wrinkles and spots that could become cancerous, I made a commitment to myself to protect my skin every day from UV exposure.
Quickly realizing that wearing sunscreen daily is both messy and expensive (because proper application for sun protection requires you reapply every 2 hours no matter where you are), I decided to look for sun protection clothing to cover my skin.
What I found was a lot of athletic and beach inspired clothing -- perfect for a weekend warrior or going on vacation, but not exactly stylish to wear with every day street fashion.
The fabric was shiny in limited colors of black, white, tan or blue. The styles were, well, not fashionable. Nevertheless, I wore a black zip up running hoodie every day over my dresses as well as shirts to protect my skin. It was time to start Heliades so I made and sold jewelry using those proceeds to launch our brand.
With a background in tech, I had a lot of research and learning to do about the fashion industry, manufacturing, and the different qualities of fabric, how they are produced, and chemical vs. mineral methods for making fabric sun protective.
It was eye opening!
I chose not to hire full package design and production, and instead I settled on creating my own designs and patterns then having the paper patterns digitized for production.
I also made the decision to manufacture in Northern California where I live so I could produce my designs in small quantities, monitor quality, and learn firsthand about the manufacturing process in person.
We only use fabric with inherent, permanent sun protection qualities woven in to the thread so our garments will have longevity. Research indicates that fabric with a topical sun protective finish will wear down or wash out with use. I want UPF apparel that lasts.
Titanium dioxide is a natural, non-toxic mineral woven into the thread of our fabric which is a safer, more economical choice than fabric treated with a topical, chemical finish that washes out in laundry and is detrimental to the environment. TiO2 is the same mineral used frequently in SPF sunscreens.
The fashion industry is responsible for an alarming amount of pollution so in my efforts to ‘do no harm’ we strive to only use OEKO-TEX certified fabric, thread and buttons which test for more than 350 chemicals and hard metals (some unregulated in the U.S.) to ensure what we wear is safe for our skin, bodies and the environment.
My goal is to design fashionable UPF 50+ sun protection clothing using stylish, high quality fabrics in prints and fun colors that we'd love to wear every day, and keeps our skin sun safe with a fashion forward aesthetic that complements our personal style rather than detracts from it.
We deserve to feel beautiful and confident every day. If my UPF designs are attractive, you'll feel good and confident wearing them. Please wear them often to protect your skin and keep yourself healthy 🌻
By the way, I’m happy to say I’ve ditched my old, black running hoodie!
If you're reading this and not part of our Heliades Community, would you do me a favor and sign up? You can sign up here: https://bit.ly/GetUPFd