MSPMAG: Diving into summer, local, new-on-the-scene brand Sun50 wants to keep you covered and take care of all your sartorial sun protection needs. Founded by Christie Covarrubias and her husband James Lockhart, the pair has created collections of tops, tunics, polos, and more with the highest UPF rating (UVA and UVB protection) possible. Grown out of California, their roots have since been firmly planted in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, with 90 percent of their inventory sewn right here in Minnesota.
A cause close to her heart, Covarrubias’ advocacy for proper sun protection and skin cancer awareness has been propelled over the years by the loss of her cousin Renee to melanoma when she was in her 30s. After a childhood under the West Coast sun, Covarrubias pivoted to diligent UV protection for herself and her family.
Years later after a career shift and move to Minnesota, Covarrubias saw a need for protective clothing that was fashion-forward, sustainable, and ethical, thus the creation of Sun50. The young brand launched their first collection in February 2020, pivoting quickly to a more locally based, pandemic-adjusted plan and has continued to release new looks throughout the past year.
“I’d always really had a passion for skincare and I’d always carried Renee’s story in my heart and now I know so much more, that one in five Americans are impacted by skin cancer and that skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, but, you can prevent your exposure with proper sun protection and when caught early, you can prevent it from going bad,” says Covarrubias.
The backbone of the products her team has created lies with the fabric itself. Sun50’s ethically made, eco-friendly fabrics all pass the highest UPF rating (within the range of UPF 45-50+) and each are stamped with the Skin Cancer Seal of Recommendation. Instead of chemically treating the material to achieve desired coverage, trial and error has led them to fabrics with dense fibers and tight construction, keeping them lightweight and comfortable, like their SolaMar cover ups or Pique polos.
“The simplest way to look at UPF is if you kind of think about it like SPF for sunscreen, only the value UPF is for Ultra Violet Protection Factor,” says Covarrubias. “It’s kind of new and it was specially created for sun protected fabrics, basically UPF is kind of the SPF version for a fabric.”
The company’s latest collection hit the streets of Excelsior in April during Fashion Week MN’s Endless Summer: Check Yourself show with Huxley Optical. They premiered their new sun bandana designed by contest winner Maggie Behlen, the proceeds of which will be donated to the Claire Marie Foundation to fight against adolescent and young adult melanoma.