Mother-daughter duo Amity and Ashton Gillespie make a great team. When Ashton identified a problem in her life — how to look cute at the beach while protecting her fair skin at the same time — the pair dove into the fashion world to create a solution.
In March, Sun Kissed Girl began selling seven styles of protective swim gear, all inspired by the duo’s exotic travels.
“All of our shirts are named after different beaches in the world,” the rising senior at Hockaday said. “My family and I lived in Tokyo, Japan, for four years. We were able to travel all over the world, to Asia and Europe. We have taken a lot of our inspiration from our travels and what we see people wearing in different parts of the world.”
Some of these inspirations include pieces with Chinese mandarin collars and bright colors such as emerald green or cherry. Ruching is another trend they saw in fashions all over continental Asia.
“The ruching hides muffin tops and back fat, and it’s just very slimming and flattering on everybody,” Amity said.
Sun Kissed Girl’s products aren’t just for the beach — you can wear them any time you’re outdoors and exposed to the harmful rays of the sun.
“The fabric is very light weight, so it doesn’t feel really tight or itchy,” said Erin Osborne, who recently purchased five Sun Kissed Girl tops. “I wear mind just as much to exercise as I do at the pool. And the styles are both cute and cool.”
The material is woven specifically to block the sun, making it UPF 50. While SPF is what we usually associate with sun resistance, that term applies to only creams and lotions. UPF is the term used when talking about clothing.
“Most fabrics are UPF nothing, and that’s one of the big issues when you are using them for protection,” Amity said. “If you wear a cotton shirt in the sun, you can still get sunburnt.”
Although Ashton is only 17 years old, she already has a clear vision for her company. All of the clothing is made on U.S. soil, but the Gillepsies see the international market as their most coveted frontier, especially skin-conscious, sun-loving countries such as Australia.