St. Louis-based Summersalt raises $17.3 million for its direct-to-consumer clothing line

The Midwest may not be known as the fashion capital of the world (or even the U.S.), but its place in the consumer retail firmament is secure through L Brands and its Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works subsidiaries.

Now, venture investors are investing $17.3 million to establish another tent-pole clothing brand in the region, with a new commitment to the St. Louis-based clothing brand Summersalt.

Founded by a former Washington University design professor and swimwear designer, Lori Coulter, and a marketing and branding consultant, Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin, Summersalt launched in 2017 with a line of direct-to-consumer swimwear.

In the past two years, the company has expanded beyond its $95 swimsuits to include cashmere sets, packable jackets and wrinkle-free pants.

Initially backed by the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, backed by AOL founder Steve Case’s Revolution investment fund, the company has gone on to attract capital from Founders Fund, Lewis and Clark Ventures and Victress Capital.

The latest round was led by Mercato Partners, a Utah-based venture capital firm.

“We could not be more thrilled with the opportunity to lead Summersalt’s latest funding found, and partner with two passionate founders who have a clear vision, are mission driven and have a track record for accelerated performance,” said Joe Kaiser, a director with Mercato Partners, in a statement. “The product, brand, team and the incredible consumers make for a winning combination.”

Summersalt calls its line of clothing “travel wear” and used its footprint in the swimsuit market to expand its reach with other items that could be taken on trips to less-sun-drenched parts of the world.

“We are building a generation defining travel brand that goes beyond swimwear and apparel to create a community of curious women who love to explore,” said Coulter, the company’s president and chief executive in a statement. “Our unparalleled experience in apparel, deep supply chain expertise and fit-technology will  be at the foundation as we continue to scale and build a brand with highly profitable unit economics.”