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With countless styles and patterns available, Watskins are able to be dressed up or dressed down, both in and out of water. (Photo courtesy of Sabrina Levine)

May is Melanoma Awareness Month, and as we’ve learned over the past few decades, being in direct sun isn’t really the greatest thing.

Watskin founder Lois Robbins has created a line of fashionable UV protective activewear. (Photo courtesy of Sabrina Levine)

According to the Melanoma Research Alliance, “melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancers. Rates of diagnosis for the disease have increased dramatically over the past three decades, outpacing almost all other cancers. Today it is one of the most common cancers found among young adults in the United States.”

When actress and part-time Water Mill resident Lois Robbins was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma back in 2018, she was given strict orders by her dermatologist to stay out of the sun. An active, and avid, outdoorsy person, this proved to be a unique challenge… but one she was totally up for.

“Once I got diagnosed from the dermatologist, my immediate thought in my brain was ‘what am I going to wear?’” the New York native says.

With the help of a skilled tailor friend, and a sewing machine, Robbins launched Watskin in August of 2022, creating an elevated and fashionable sunwear brand made with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) +50 fabric that blocks over 98 percent of UV rays. It’s what has allowed Robbins to keep her active, outdoor lifestyle “without compromising style, elegance and safety,” she says. “You can paddleboard in it, or you can go out to dinner in it. You can dress it up or dress it down. They’re extremely versatile garments.”

Designed to be worn both in and out of the water, the Watskin line includes body suits, swimwear, shirts, leggings, cat suits, skirts, pants, sportwear, dresses and accessories. A kids line also is also available for purchase. All clothing pieces are made in Los Angeles from a tree nylon-poly blend (with a touch of spandex), woven together and resulting in a fabric that can absorb water, dry quickly and not lose its shape. Available in multiple colors and prints, Watskin clothing is available in sizes 2 to 8 and small to extra-large. Items range from as little as $85 up to around $450, with “nothing costing more than $500,” Robbins says. Shipping is available across the globe.

With over a dozen silhouettes, Watskin is available for kids, too. (Photo courtesy of Sabrina Levine)

Since its inception, Watskin has been a partner of the Melanoma Research Alliance and is donating 5% of all proceeds, all month long. Next month Robbins is collaborating with Gina Bradley, CEO of Paddle Diva (headquartered in Springs), for a private paddle board excursion off the docks of Robbins’ home in Water Mill. The curated experience will feature a select small group of participants paddling while wearing Watskin clothing, followed by a small reception. “Once you put on a Watskin, it’s so comfortable you don’t want to wear anything else,” Robbins says. “And you’re being protected, which is something you should feel really good about.”