Brelli: Chappaqua Designer Pamela Zonsius' Biodegradable Line of Umbrellas

During her 20 years working as a Manhattan fashion designer, Chappaqua resident Pamela Zonsius couldn’t help but notice the abandoned carcasses of spent umbrellas that littered the city. Ergo, Zonsius’s Brelli, a stylish yet sturdy, 100-percent-biodegradable umbrella.

The Brelli features a durable elderberry wood handle and a bamboo frame—both handcrafted in Thailand—and a certified biodegradable PVC canopy manufactured in Washington. Unlike conventional plastic, which takes hundreds of years to break down, this material biodegrades in two to five years, a process that begins, says Zonsius, only after it has been discarded. With proper care, she says, the Brelli should last years. And while its look mimics the iconic little tropical cocktail umbrella, the Brelli is no mere delicate ornament—it has been tested to withstand wind gusts of more than 40 miles per hour. It can also function as a sun parasol.

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The Brelli collection includes four transparent canopy designs—solid clear, pink, gray, and a black-and-white script “B” print. Want something a little snazzier? The company also sells sets of four different colors of permanent paint markers that can be used to decorate the canopies—and that do not wash off in the rain. Offered in five sizes (plus a sixth outdoor umbrella called the SunBrelli); prices for the line range from $46 to $62 ($194 for the outdoor version). It is available locally at Blythewold in Mount Kisco.

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