Beauty & Fashion

Sun Safe and Sustainable

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Protect yourself from the sun this summer while staying in fashion with Factor Bermuda’s streamlined suits.

Robyn BARDGETT

Melissa Leach, Founder & CEO
Photograph by Meredith Andrews

It is increasingly important to cover up, or slather ourselves in sunscreen, when enjoying our sunny summer days. In each case there are challenges, whether it is finding something modern and wearable, or ensuring we aren’t damaging our fragile underwater
ecosystem with the ingredients found in many sunscreens. Although Melissa Leach was first inspired to create a collection of luxurious eco-friendly bodysuits when she was diagnosed with melanoma 12 years ago, it was her search to find a fashion-conscious suit that solidified her plans to create Factor Bermuda, a sustainable line of swimwear. While working on the business side of highend fashion houses such as Burberry and Jimmy Choo, she always believed that the $20 billion swimwear industry would produce stylish sun protective clothing, but instead she found items that were overly sporty or frumpy. “My first instinct was to protect myself,” says Mrs Leach. But as she began to design her business, she knew it was also important to ensure that sustainability and the environment were factored into the finished product. With a keen eye for detail, a background in fashion business and strategy and an idea of exactly what she wanted to achieve with the line, she set out “to create a refined collection of swimwear with an elegant, minimalist style focusing on sun protection and sustainability.”

The sun protective aspect of the collection is important not only in terms of skin cancer but also anti-ageing.

Factor Bermuda’s capsule collection was launched in 2019 featuring four timeless silhouettes that offer varying degrees of coverage in three classic colours – deep navy blue, dark turquoise and solid black, making the bodysuits easy to transition to other activities away from the sun. “I refer to the collection as being streamlined, meaning that all of the body suits have been designed to wear as both swimwear and ready-to-wear,” explains Mrs Leach. She added that the capsule collection offers a range of styles, from the demure neckline and long sleeve of The Bateau Silhouette to the more sultry deep neckline and cap sleeve of The Plunge Silhouette. Each suit also features a removable belt that cinches at the waist to create the ultimate flattering silhouette. Simply removing the belt and slipping into a beautiful skirt effortlessly transitions the suit to ready-to-wear for lunch or drinks. “The reason behind this was to give women more choice in terms of levels of sun coverage and styling options,” Mrs Leach says. “Our collection provides the perfect foundation for your ultimate summer wardrobe.” But aside from being fashionable and offering a minimalist take on the items we have in our closets, Factor’s line of bodysuits is also environmentally friendly. The luxurious Italian lycra is derived from discarded fishing nets, but more importantly for your skin, the fabric has a UPF of 50+ that protects against 98 percent of all UV rays providing “a constant physical barrier, which is safer and more reliable than topical sunscreens, which require numerous careful applications to ensure a constant level of protection,” explains Mrs Leach. “The sun protective aspect of the collection is important not only in terms of skin cancer but also anti-ageing. Ninety percent of skin ageing comes from sun damage and is preventable.” Bermuda’s coastline played an influential part in ensuring the design and sustainability of Factor Bermuda’s products didn’t contribute to further waste, particularly in regards to the high-quality nature of the fabric. To limit the carbon footprint, the suits are made in New York and the packaging is made from recyclable paper, while the suits are delivered in a reusable swim pouch. “Living on the coast of Bermuda, I witness the impact daily of ocean waste and its negative affects on ocean life,” Mrs Leach says. “We are committed to making the most sustainable and ethical choices possible in every aspect as we continue to build the business and create simple, elegant designs that protect the skin, protect the environment and beautifully shape the body.” Mrs Leach also says working with and supporting Bermuda and Bermudians in every way possible is “at the heart of my business.”

Her promotional photos feature Bermudian model Lily Lightbourn Herbert and were shot at Unreasonable Studios in New York, a production company headed up by Bermudian artist Jon Legere.

Factor swimsuits can be purchased at Resort
Boutique in Hamilton Princess Hotel and
Regali Boutique in Rosewood Tucker’s Point
Hotel, while online purchases can be made at factorbermuda.com

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