Stumptown Startups Blog

Cancer survivor creates stylish, sun-protective clothing line

Cancer survivor creates stylish, sun-protective clothing line »Play Video
Summer Kramer created her own line of sun-protective clothing after she was diagnosed with skin cancer and discovered few clothing options.

When doctors diagnosed Summer Kramer with skin cancer in 2007, she knew she had to change how she protected herself from the sun.

“For me it was life-changing, I was a 26-year-old who thought I was immune to every type of ailment you could find,” Kramer said. “It’s terrifying.”

Her dermatologist told her to wear sun-protective clothing because typical clothes can have the equivalent of only SPF 5, but she could only find active wear.

“I felt a little silly if I'm wearing a fly-fishing shirt at the coffee shop,” she said.

With no other options, she decided to design her own stylish, sun-protective clothing line. She left a career as a pharmacist and started a clothing company, SummerSkin.

“Our scarf is one of our biggest sellers,” she told me as she showed the several ways customers can wear it. “Throw it over your bathing suit or put it on with jeans,” she continued as she grabbed a hot pink cardigan. She tried to re-create the clothing staples for women in a breathable but protective way.

“They block 98 percent of the rays coming through,” she said about all of her garments. “Prevention is key.”

She includes skin cancer awareness and prevention as part of her mission with SummerSkin, but she reminds people there’s another perk to sun-protective clothing.

“Up to 90 percent of signs of aging are directly due to the sun,” she said. “I always joke that if you want to spend less on BOTOX later, prevent it now.”