Kimberly Schamber's SUPMerge pieces work for the paddleboard and the patio.
Kimberly Schamber wears a quick-dry sports dress from SUPMerge, her activewear line inspired by stand-up paddleboarding.
For some, a picture is worth a thousand words. For fashion designer and avid paddleboarder Kimberly Schamber, it’s worth a business plan. It was during a flight home from a paddleboarding trip to Mexico in December 2012 when Schamber saw a photo of herself in her soggy attire—an image that prompted an immediate in-air sketch session. “I looked completely waterlogged,” she says. “I thought, something has to be done.”
By this time last year, the former Michael Kors and Spyder designer had launched SUPMerge, an activewear line inspired by stand-up paddleboarding (SUP): the surf-meets-kayak hybrid once reserved for Hawaiian royalty that has been making recent waves across the nation and is growing more popular here in the Hamptons with each passing summer. Schamber, who first tried SUP at Lake Tahoe in 2011, credits the growing popularity of the sport to its approachable and social qualities. “Everyone can do it,” she says. “My mom has been on a paddleboard; she’s 72. If you think you need more balance, you just need a bigger board.”
In addition to her desire for better photos, it was the socially fueled, on-the-go lifestyle of the Hamptons, where Schamber and her husband have lived for nearly 10 years, that served as inspiration for the 10-piece collection’s quick-dry material. “I wanted to create items that could be worn from the beach to the board to breakfast to the bar,” she says.
Schamber spent roughly a year developing the line, which ranges from halter dresses to board shorts, with a particular focus on hydrophobic and SPF 50+ fabric. “I would take all of my husband’s board shorts, put them in the tub, then hang them to dry and have quick-dry contests with the different fabrics,” she jokes.
Next season’s line is set to debut in August and will feature 10 new styles in a wide range of sizes with colors inspired by the global waters she and her husband have crossed (think Bora Bora). And while paddle travels spanning Venice and Israel haven’t left Schamber short on creativity, she always looks to her backyard for the special, impromptu moments only the Hamptons can offer.
“Recently we were out with friends. We brought up a bunch of clams, went back to my place, and made this beautiful clam linguine,” she says, inspired by the beachside community’s bounty. “Being on the water has opened my eyes to a whole other side of the Hamptons that I never knew existed.”