Inside Coolibar

Coolibar Clothing Designer Alicia Pizzo Shares Her 2012 Sun Wear Inspirations

Coolibar clothing designer Alicia Pizzo came to Coolibar in 2011 with the goal of bringing excitement to our sun protective line. This role is extremely personal to Alicia as both her mother and grandmother battled skin cancer, so she works hard to create sun protective clothing people will love wearing. Alicia shares her inspirations for Coolibar’s summer 2012 UPF 50+ women’s line.

1. What Coolibar piece are you most excited about this summer and why?

So many! I’m excited about our ZnO Summer Skirt in particular as it offers the same waistband as our ZnO Beach Pants that our customers love. It’s also the beginning of our expanding sun protective bottom collection. In the future, I look forward to introducing a maxi skirt and capris as well. For tops, I’m thrilled to offer thumbholes in the Harbor Hoodie and the Stash Pocket Swim Shirt since it provides more coverage and keeps the sleeves in place when moving or swimming.

2. What trends are hot this summer that you’ve incorporated into Coolibar wear?

We’ve been seeing a lot of nautical stripes, so we’ve incorporated this timeless look into numerous ZnO pieces such as our Harbor Hoodie, Henley, Polo Dress, Henley Dress and Summer Skirt. We also used a bright color palette, and bright colors are huge this summer. I’d also like to point out that sun protection is on-trend, as we’re seeing pale toned models and celebrities protecting their skin with hats and more cover-ups.

Collage of New Coolibar ZnO Stripe Prints

3. How do you come up with new ideas? What inspired you in Coolibar’s current designs?

I find inspiration from many different sources: travel, people watching, and this year attending the American Academy of Dermatology conference to gather feedback from dermatologists. Right now I have a postcard from Brazil and a birthday party photo on my desk wall along with other inspirational photos.

4. Has keeping sun protection in mind throughout every design been a challenge this first season? If so, how have you overcome this challenge?

Definitely! Balancing coverage with an exciting look and fun shapes has been a challenge, especially working with new necklines that provide coverage. Having great fabric to work with really helps! Trial and error always helps too.

5. Do you believe part of your personality shines through any one Coolibar piece in particular?

I would say all of them to a certain extent. If I had to choose one in particular, it would be the Harbor Hoodie because of the fun pattern, comfy feel and casual look that can be worn practically anywhere.

6. Anything else our readers should know about fashions this summer or Coolibar pieces in particular?

Have fun and mix it up! Focus on adding color in new ways. I love mixing blue, yellow, green and coral together during the summer. Pairing stripes with solids is a classic as well.

Alicia's inspiration board
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  • Victoria Gerken MD

    I have Basal Cell Nevus syndrome, an inherited condition making me very prone to basal cell skin cancers (I have had > 300 resected so far in my lifetime and I have not yet turned 60). Whlle I can get these cancers even in non-sun exposed parts of my body, sun exposure does increase the risk. (the specialist at UCSF once complimented me on how pale I kept myself!!) I rely on clothing protection a great deal. When wear my clothes and hats from Coolibar I get compliments from people who do not even realize I am wearing skin protection clothing – they just think the clothes are really nice looking!! I have never really considered myself vain but having had to shave my head three times in the past and have gone through surgeries that have caused rather grotesque swelling and bruising of my face, etc, it is nice to have something that is just plain pretty while being protective. I cannot begin to thank you enough!!

    • aoberg

      Hi Dr. Gerken,

      Thank you for commenting! It’s always great to hear from those who appreciate Coolibar clothing!


  • Shauna Roberts

    As someone with lupus who needs to keep as much skin as possible covered, I value coverage and practicality over style. I was disappointed to find that you offer only one long dress, and it is black and sleeveless. Black is impractical in a southern climate, and a sleeveless dress requires a sweater or other coverup, making it too warm in the sun.

    Similarly, the few skirts you offer only come down to the knee. Wearing tights or leggings under the skirt makes the outfit too hot to wear in the sun.

    Also, I noticed that few of your pants, skirts, or dresses have pockets or elastic waistbands, making them impractical for most outdoor activities. Elastic waistbands would also be much appreciated by us older women whose shapes have changed and no longer fit clothes tailored to a specific size.

    Thanks for listening. I hope you will consider offering more lightweight summer dresses and skirts with long sleeves and long skirts for those of us with one of the many diseases that require complete coverage of the skin.

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