Bring back the umbrella

By Jamie-Maree Shipton

Perhaps the parasol is simply a beautiful idea, one that should only be used by those disposed to period dressing and that take influence from Marie Antoinette. Perhaps, for those with certain ideas of style and fashion, the notion of touting around a parasol would force a raised eyebrow and look of concern. Or perhaps, the parasol is a fashionable alternative to this seasons popular summer sun shades: the leather cap and large brimmed floppy hat.

Saying that then, if your style isn’t edgy enough to embrace a leather cap, or bohemian enough to work the floppy hat, or you simply hold your hair in too high regard to have it hidden, then the parasol may be your new go to summer accessory.

In earlier times, the parasol was a natural solution to keeping off the heat and deterring the sun’s rays, but it was also an accessory of the wealthy, royal and elite, all of whom were of course the most fashionable. Thus, despite being made of feathers and palm leaves they were carried, twirled and held over the heads of some of the most powerful people in history. Pharaohs were shaded by them, ancient Greek and Roman civilisations flaunted them and the Chinese invented the collapsible versions.

So it’s undeniable, the parasol has some fashion cred.

This may be all well and good but can we really suggest this ancient sun shading tool can become a mainstream fashion accessory?

Anna Martino, of the weather-wear company Wet & Wendy, which specialises not only in umbrellas but pararsols, says although not everyone is inclined to parasols this is what makes them special. She also suggests it’s more about sun safety becoming more fashionable; as sun awareness increases so may the parasol be rejuvenated.

“As we become sun safe aware, the summer parasol could prosper to a summer trend – sheltering people in a fun and fashionable way,” she said. “The parasol is the perfect summer must-have accessory for any girl. Whether you’re heading to the beach or making the most of the outdoor space, they’re cute, flirty, and sun safe enough to capture that wanted summer glow.”

The ‘Love the Sun’ collection at Wet & Wendy does just that, celebrates the warmth of the sun but also shields you from harm. Anna believes that with a parasol you can embrace and enjoy the summer sun and celebrate the ‘yellow star’, while still being safe.

Besides the obvious deterrent that is, the parasol conjures up images of fro-fro dresses, petty-coats and frills, it is also the inconvenience of carry them around that puts people off.

Anna suggests it is people’s attitude towards weather that restricts them from enjoying the parasol. Saying she believes people see holding a parasol as a hassle, and so are opposed to using them. She of course however is trying to change this with Wet & Wendy.

“It is this attitude that caused me to create my own label. I wanted to bring about a change to the way people feel and think about weather. Bringing about smiles through my bright, sleek and modern take on weather-wear felt like the right thing to do.”

However Anna does agree that the future for the parasol isn’t becoming the new summer accessory.

“The parasol will always remain a beautiful idea, something only to be seen in Hollywood films and the elite,” she says.

Although there may now be a few of you, who see the parasol in a different light who now think we can conclude the parasol will never full be free enough from its old world constraints and clichés, to make it the new stylish summer accessory.

Umbrella 1

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