Dear 7News, if you want to talk about sun protection, please call me.
Posted on 18 December 2016
Last week, you tested popular rashie brands for sun safety. The premise was:
Unfortunately, little information was gained by the report – and it left us with more questions.
The results: If you are happy wearing an ugly rashie - then go ahead and buy a cheap one.
Yes, it was great having confirmation that if a garment sold in Australia is labelled as providing UPF50+ protection, you can bet that it has UPF50+ protection. But, as a brand owner that sells sun protection clothing, this is no surprise. The ARPANSA standards are so strict, they have to be, it's important.
However, the premise of your report was misguided from the start.
Aussies are NOT suffering from skin cancer at an alarming rate from wearing incorrectly labelled rashies. The issue that they are not wearing rashies (nor are we practising the Cancer Council’s other #sunsmart5 measures – slip, slop, slap, seek, slide).
Why are Aussies are not wearing rashies?
Perhaps a report that looked into the reason why people are not wearing rashies would have been a more productive exercise – and if you’d like to do this, I would like to help. In fact, I recently surveyed just over 100 women* and the results revealed that:
whilst 91% of Aussie women do “slip on clothing” when at the pool or beach,
an alarming 84% did not know that the average white cotton t-shirt only has a UPF 5 (this means that it allows 1/5th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through).
This is a REALLY IMPORTANT finding that needs to be explored further.
As an Aussie woman myself, I know that Aussie women love their flowy kaftan coveralls and oh-so-versatile sarongs. They cover up insecurities about our bodies, and because they are fashionable, they come in so many styles and ranges. And because they are actually covering our skin, they give us a false security of being adequately covered.
Perhaps more public education is needed to explain that ‘cotton doesn’t cut it’ and that if you are going to be outside for an extended period of time, you need to be wearing clothing that has been specifically designed to protect you from the sun. But, the Cancer Council already spends millions trying to reach Aussies through their #sunsafe5 messages – how much more can they do?
I think that the answer is not as simple as telling women to wear a rashie. Traditional rashies are unflattering and not fashionable – so this message will not resonate with women who are body or fashion conscious (MOST WOMEN!).
My solution: Fashionable sun protection clothing.
If we want women to wear sun protective clothing we need to offer women fashionable options, where aesthetic design is given the same level of importance as functional design. It is no longer one or the other.
And this is why I created Honeybell Waterwear.
As a result of my contemporary and on trend designs, women who think rashies are ugly are buying sun protection clothing. Women who previously thought rashies were just for kids are buying sun protection clothing.
So, 7News, please, if you’d like to understand more about women putting themselves at risk of sun exposure, please contact me, Annaliese Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to discuss the real story with you.
Annaliese Allen, Head Honeybell at Honeybell Waterwear
*this is a far as the budget stretched for a self-funded start-up run by a solo mumpreneur could reach!