Thank you to our backers & to Kickstarter!
We've met our initial goal but there's plenty more to do! We are offering two new rewards to backers - our Twice the Fun and Top to Toe packages are an excellent value, and are available in extremely limited quantities! Click 'Back This Project' to support this campaign and access our rewards.
Sun exposure is one of the leading causes of skin cancer and premature aging. Canopy New York combines the benefits of sun-protective fabrics with contemporary design to produce apparel that is both fashionable and functional. We use a variety of innovative, American-made textiles that block 98 percent of the sun's UV rays, so our clients will be protected every time they step outdoors.
As we travelled throughout China for our jobs in the retail industry, we noticed the great lengths to which Chinese women would go to shield themselves from the sun. Some carried parasols, while others wore sun protective ski masks during beach outings, but even these unstylish accessories provided only partial protection. We were surprised to discover so few fashionable options in the sun-protection market, both in China and in the United States, and we recognized the need for a line of sun-protective apparel designed for discerning consumers with a modern, urban lifestyle.
We’ve set out to make the finest sun-protective apparel available. We view this as a priority for several reasons.
- Unprotected exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause skin cancer and other serious health problems, including cataracts and immune deficiencies.
- Sun exposure can also lead to other undesirable side effects, such as premature aging and skin tone irregularities.
- Continued depletion of the ozone layer further increases exposure to UV rays, suggesting that incidents of skin cancer and sun damage will continue to rise.
Sun-protective fabrics are a relatively new innovation, and they offer protection from 98 percent of UV rays – equivalent to the benefits of SPF 50 sunscreen. Imagine if sun protection were as easy as putting on a T-shirt or a scarf. With Canopy New York, it will be.
While other companies offer sun-protective apparel, their products are designed for exercise and beachgoing. We’ve identified strong demand for apparel made from sun-protective fabric, styled for the daily life of urban women. By pairing the finest textiles available with contemporary design and beautiful detailing, we can offer excellent style and sun protection in a single garment.
Made in America
We are committed to manufacturing our products in America, specifically the historic Garment District of New York City. Not only are our products assembled in the United States, but our fabrics are also made from American-grown cotton. We have made this decision in order to have maximum oversight of product quality, and because it is difficult to verify the sun-protective nature of fabrics and garments manufactured in other markets.
Why Sun Protection is Important
As the ozone layer continues to deteriorate, people will experience additional exposure to the sun and increased susceptibility to its damaging effects. Furthermore, dermatologists advise their patients that avoiding sun damage in the first place is one of the best ways to prevent premature wrinkles, sun spots, and more serious health problems such as skin cancer. In fact, consumers are advised to wear SPF 15+ on their exposed skin whenever they are outdoors, yet only 20 percent of Americans do so. Experts have also found that those who do wear sunscreen do not use it frequently enough or apply it properly.
The result? One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime, and rates of melanoma among American women 18-39 are on the rise.
We believe that current sun-protection regimens are difficult and impractical for many, given how long it would take and how much it would cost to apply sunscreen to your entire body each and every day. Canopy New York makes sun protection easy; we use fabrics that block 98 percent of UV rays. Wearing one of our garments provides the same protection as wearing SPF 50 sunscreen, without any traces of white lotion or the pungent smell so frequently associated with sunscreen.
Creating Our First Collection
We began working on this concept in the summer of 2012. Since then, we have sourced fabric from two American mills. While many companies are committed to supporting American manufacturing, fabric production is typically done overseas. We have made a commitment to using American-made fabrics, despite increased costs, because we recognize the higher quality of textiles made in the United States. Our fabrics have been tested by scientists and are certified to provide protection from more than 98 percent of damaging UV rays. While sun-protective fabrics are available from other markets, they are subject to less scientific testing and oversight, so claims of sun-protection are unverifiable.
We are working with one of New York City's leading contemporary apparel factories to produce our first collection. We chose to work in New York City's Garment District in order to be able to closely supervise the creation of our product and to support local workers.
Throughout the development of our first collection, we remained committed to providing the functional benefits of sun protection along with the style of contemporary apparel. We prioritized the aesthetics of our designs because the existing sun protection market is dominated by unstylish accessories, such as ski masks. We believe people will be likelier to utilize sun protection when there is a fashionable way to wear it.
Your Support/Funding Needs
We are raising money to fund the production of our first collection. If we do not reach our funding goal, we will not receive any of the money raised through this campaign; your credit card will only be charged if and when our goal is reached. We have set our funding goal at $25,000. With this amount, we will be able to produce inventory of the following six styles:
- Four dresses
- A pair of leggings
- An inifinty scarf
We will offer these styles in sizes extra small to large, and in three colors – black, navy, and cream. All of our products will be made in our signature sun protective cotton fabric. This funding will allow us to procure fabric and finance production in order to make our vision for fashionable sun-protective apparel a reality.
We are offering several fabulous rewards to our backers. Our entire collection, pictured above, will be offered in three colors (black, navy, and cream) and in sizes extra small to large. All of our products are available through kickstarter at a discount to their retail price, but the greatest value lies in buying one of our packages, which include multiple pieces from the collection.
The Legging - $50
The Infinity - $60
The Midi - $150
The T - $175
The Popover - $175
The Wrap - $195
We have other incentives, too.
For backers donating $20 or more, we are offering a set of five illustrations of the collection, drawn by Lewis and printed in color in New York City.
We are also offering the unique opportunity to have a garment made to your specifications, using our signature sun-protective fabric. You will have the opportunity to work directly with our designer, you will be the first person to own the garment, and we will name the style after you (if you wish!) for as long as we produce it.
Our first collection will be offered in sizes Extra Small to Large. The chart below details a range or measurements and their corresponding sizes. If you have a question about the fit of a specific dress, please don't hesitate to ask!
Erica Birmingham and Lewis Remele are the founders of Canopy New York. We met while attending Harvard College and we have a combined 14 years of experience in the fashion industry.
Thank you for your support!
Risks and challenges
Given that this is our first venture, we may encounter unexpected challenges. Having worked in the industry for many years, we consider ourselves to be crafty problem solvers and are hopeful we will be able to address any issues that arise.
In the fashion industry, the three major risks are cost overruns, delays, and production quality. We have addressed these risks in the following ways:
Cost overruns: We have worked closely with our raw materials and production partners to negotiate the precise cost of executing our project upfront. Our $25,000 goal represents the cost of procuring these raw materials and financing the production of our six styles.
Delays: We have also spoken to each of our partners about their schedules and production times, and we used this information to set our September 2013 delivery date for our apparel rewards. We believe this is a conservative estimate, and we hope to deliver your rewards in advance of the projected date.
Production quality: Our decision to manufacture in New York City's Garment District was motivated by the amount of oversight we will be able to have during production. We will be visiting the factory daily to oversee the quality of work and to monitor the timeline, in order to ensure we can meet our delivery date of September. Additionally, Lewis has worked with this factory in the past, and has observed their high quality production and professionalism.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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