Fair Harbor may be an idyllic beach community on Fire Island, but for sibling entrepreneurs Jake and Caroline Danehy, whose family has vacationed there every summer for years, it’s been a business incubator.
It started back when they were kids and dreamed up a hand-painted seashells business. It was kind of genius — take something you see every day, give it a slight tweak and, voila, you’re a retail sensation. “We earned a few pennies that summer,” says Jake Danehy.
The latest tweak concept is paying off today with their Fair Harbor swimwear, a line made from recycled plastic bottles and named for the summer hometown where they fell in love with the ocean.
They founded the label in 2014 with seed money and mentoring from a “Shark Tank”-like competition for student entrepreneurs at Colgate University, when Jake, now 25, was a junior and Caroline, 22, was a high school senior. (She graduated from Colgate in May.)
One of the line’s smart distinctions is the way (like with those seashells) it makes a simple update to a summer basic — they’ve swapped out the standard mesh liner in their men’s Anchor swim short and Bayberry trunk, sewing in a super-smooth Coolmax boxer-brief instead.
“At trunk shows we kept hearing guys saying they hate mesh liners, and moms said they cut them out for their kids, who got rashes,” says Jake.
If only all our summer staples could get a quick reboot like that.
Wait — they did.
We searched local shops and found a slew of summer not-so-basics that make the season cooler, safer and more comfortable — be that a hat that solves a problem or a stylish way to keep first aid supplies at the ready.
Why not dive right in?
SPF VS. UPF—WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
One advance in clothing and accessories worth looking for in summer (and all year round) is fabric with an “ultraviolet protection factor,” or UPF, rating (which indicates how well a fabric blocks the sun’s UV rays — with lighter shades and looser weaves generally blocking less sun).
“And if the garment gets wet, it may become transparent and give even less protection,” says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, an assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, a spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology and a regular on Cooper’s Beach in Southampton, where he and his family vacation each summer.
“Just because I’m a dermatologist doesn’t mean I don’t want to enjoy the beach,” he says. “It’s OK to spend the day outside — you just need to be smart.”
That means using broad-spectrum sunscreen (which blocks both UVA and UVB rays) and items bearing a UPF tag. (UPF 50 and above is ideal —that fabric blocks about 97 percent of UV rays, roughly equal to an SPF 30 sunscreen, says Zeichner.)