For Atlanta native Ansley Collins, the sun has always been a double-edged sword: She loves being outside and being active, but the redhead’s fair skin has made it difficult for her to be in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. “When I was dating my now husband, we went on a trip to Miami with his family. We spent the entire first day laying on the beach, which is something I do not do, but I wanted to participate. I covered myself with towels to keep the sun off of me, and my now mother-in-law has photos of me covered from head to toe,” she says with a laugh.
When she returned to Atlanta, Collins started researching protective clothing but didn’t find anything she really liked. She did not have a professional fashion background, but she did work in the finance department at Spanx—which gave her some experience by osmosis. “I was able to hear conversations from every department and see how to get from step one to step 10,” she says. “It was always just spinning in my brain while I was at Spanx that maybe I could do this.”
Launched in June 2022—when Collins’s son was only seven weeks old—Violette is a 15-piece sun-protective collection. The name is a riff on ultraviolet light. It’s designed in Atlanta by Collins and manufactured in New York City. With an ultraviolet protection factor of more than 50, it blocks 98 percent of the sun’s rays, both UVA and UVB. By contrast, sun protection factors typically seen on sunscreens measure only exposure to the latter.
The pieces marry sophistication with comfort: Think puff sleeves and skimming skirts in classically preppy colors made from a nylon/spandex combination. “The long sleeve is my favorite,” she says. “I love that it has the hand coverage—I’m always protecting my hands from the sun. My mom taught me that.”
A fall collection will launch later this year, with future plans to expand the assortment. But for now, Collins is focused on slow, organic growth. “I am my only employee,” says the new mom. “Right now, I have the blessing of not rushing into any decisions. I’m grateful to launch a brand in the age of social media because I have the opportunity to grow at a pace that works for me.”
This article appears in our September 2022 issue.