Bernard Thompson | Sun Protective Garments

Bernard Thompson is credited in some markets as the founder of the global sun protective textile industry that has estimated annual retail sales value in excess of US $20 million. 

As a keen surfer who hated wearing sun screens, Bernard looked at alternatives for sun protection and realised that light weight garments made from natural fibres blocked very little UV radiation. UVB does not cause skin to colour so people mistakenly thought that their body was protected from skin cancer. Bernard initiated research with a leading University resulting in development and global patenting of reactive dyestuffs that increase light weight natural material from a UPF < than 10 to a >50 plus without any additional garment weight at marginal cost.

Rayosan dye remains fast to washing, bleach, sweat and no impact on wearer comfort.

Who better to promote sun safety than Surf Life Savers? He developed the Sunsafe Surf Life Saving uniform in step with the SLSA National Council and introduced Australia’s and the world’s first range of high UPF clothing and secured sponsorship by Coca Cola for national distribution in 1993. 

Bernard published the first OH&S manual for outdoor workers approved and endorsed by the Skin & Cancer Foundation Australia.

In collaboration with Professor Mike Pailthorpe lobbied to have implemented the first voluntary Standard AS/NZS: 1996 governing sun protection for textiles.

Garment labels were developed as educational tools, treated with a photo chromatic ink that a) changed colour held under the untreated clothing and b) did not change colour when held under treated clothing. The sun’s harmful UV rays were in effect visible. The label UV indicator showed the garments protection level to the maximum UPF of 50. 

Conceived, co-wrote, produced, published Frizzle Sizzle children’s book which sold in excess of 100,000 copies in Australia with assistance from the Queensland Government. Frizzle Sizzle was distributed to every Kindy and Year 1 child in Queensland. Content approved by the Australasian College of Dermatologists.

Example of Sunsafe range of clothing with UPF 40 plus: