In the Sun with Mott 50


As we reach the dog days of summer, protection from the season’s intense sun is on our minds whenever we head outside. Gone are the days when shielding your skin meant hiding under beach umbrellas with zinc oxide caked on your nose. Thanks to designers who are marrying fashion with function-- like terrain favorite Mott 50--it's now easy to be sun-safe with breezy wardrobe staples that block damaging rays. Before our next beach trip, we sat down with Monique Moore, co-founder of Mott 50, to learn more about the unique features of sun-protective clothing.

terrain: Can you tell us about the inspiration for Mott 50? 

Monique: Mott 50 came about in the summer of 2009, when my business partner, Anne Botica Reilly, and I were on the beach. We both noticed a shift in our friends; people who used to be so interested in laying out for hours to get the perfect tan were covering up and being sun safe-- donning large brim hats, cover ups, and sunscreen. With anti-aging regimens coming up in conversation and Anne having a history of melanoma in her family, we were all increasingly aware of sun protection and its importance. But, we believe you don’t need to wear a Hazmat suit to be protected. After two years of research and development, Mott 50 launched in March 2011. Our goal is to bring women UPF 50 fabrics that are soft, breathable, and natural, designed to easily assimilate into a modern wardrobe. 

terrain: How does UPF differ from SPF?

Monqiue: UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor. It indicates the amount of UV rays that are absorbed by the fabric before it reaches your skin. A UPF rating of 50 means that only 1/50th (or 1%) of the UV radiation (both UVA and UVB rays) can penetrate the fabric. SPF is sunscreen specific. It measures the amount of time it takes for sun-exposed skin to redden. SPF was created before there was knowledge of broad spectrum rays, whereas UPF encompasses the rays not accounted for by SPF. 

terrain: What special techniques or materials make a fabric sun-protective? 

Monique: Making the fabric UPF 50 has to do with the components of the thread, the weave, and the color. We form fabric that is certified UPF with UV testing at the International UV Testing Laboratory in accordance with the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists. The fabric is a major departure from regular clothing—a normal white t-shirt is only UPF 5. 50 is the highest you can go. 

terrain: Can you explain why UPF certified clothing is especially important for sun protection?

Monique: It’s okay to get a little color and live your life, but if you can do it while wearing clothing to protect yourself, why not? People often don’t re-apply sunscreen as much as they should, so sun-protective clothing is an easy way to avoid re-application or missing a spot. At Mott 50 we embrace helping people live active and healthy lifestyles through clothing— creating fashion with a purpose. We are also involved philanthropically with the Melanoma Research Alliance. Taking a holistic approach to fashion and lifestyle and engaging in charitable giving is what we’re all about. 

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