MorrisonRowe is an EVERYday sun protection clothing company based in Calgary, Alberta. MorrisonRowe was founded by long-time friends Cara and Tegan after Cara was diagnosed with multiple basal cell carcinomas. Her dermatologist recommended that she cover up as much as possible and wear sun protective clothing when outside. She found lots of options for the beach or sport specific activities but struggled to find casual, everyday UPF 50+ clothing. She didn’t want to look or feel like she was headed to the beach while she was out for daily activities such as going to the park with her kids, walking the dog, or sitting on a patio with friends.
Cara and Tegan could not ignore this HUGE gap in the market and the need for casual everyday UPF 50+ sun protection clothing. What started as a need, turned into a business idea and Cara and Tegan embarked on the journey to launch their own UPF 50+ sun protection clothing brand.
Prior to starting MorrisonRowe Cara worked as a registered nurse in surgical oncology and Tegan a professional engineer. Neither had any previous fashion industry experience so it was quite a journey to build the brand from scratch.
Cara and Tegan had some guiding principles for the brand; they wanted all of their clothes to be rated UPF 50+, they wanted to be a Canadian brand, and they wanted their clothes to be sustainably sourced and ethically made.
In terms of the actual clothing, Cara and Tegan had specific design concepts and fabric preferences. To them “everyday” means clothes that are timeless, casual and relaxed. Something that you will reach for any and EVERY day. For the fabrics, Cara and Tegan wanted natural fiber fabrics like Tencel™, hemp, and organic cotton because they offer superior breathability, feel great on your skin, and their production is generally more sustainable. This fabric preference is a definite departure from most available UPF 50+ clothing.
Finding fabrics proved to be one of the biggest challenges on the journey to launching MorrisonRowe. (Other than the pandemic and raising young children of course). Cara and Tegan searched tirelessly to find sustainable and ethically made, natural and recycled fabrics that were UPF 50+. Most fabric manufacturers Cara and Tegan contacted had minimal or no experience with UPF testing and rating, especially when it came to using natural fiber fabrics.
They knew that natural fiber fabrics with UPF 50+ ratings existed but sourcing them proved to be a challenge. They quickly learned that if they wanted to use natural fiber fabrics they would have to send them for testing and rating themselves. Fabrics were chosen based on what Cara and Tegan wanted in terms of how they feel, the composition, the garment design, and sustainability and then sent for basic UPF testing. If the result came back below UPF 50, Cara and Tegan were back to square one. This happened a few times before they found the right fabrics.
All MorrisonRowe fabrics are independently third party tested and rated at a lab in Quebec according to industry standards (ASTM D6544 and AATCC 183) to ensure every colour is UPF 50+. MorrisonRowe fabrics are all free of any chemical treatments to make them UPF 50+. Rather, the natural characteristics of the fibers, the structure of the fabric, and the colour is what makes the fabric UPF 50+.
All MorrisonRowe clothes are designed and manufactured in Canada. Cara and Tegan have worked with a local Calgary designer, Ereau Designs, from the beginning. And manufactured solely in Calgary until recently moving manufacturing to Vancouver. They have styles for women, men, and children and are continuing to expand their catalogue.