As if shopping for a bra wasn’t hard enough, getting the right fit, style, and thinking you were a 34B when really you’re a 36G – imagine shopping for a bra after a mastectomy or after surgery for implants. This is what thousands of women endure each year after being diagnosed with Breast Cancer and having surgery, the choice to have implants or remain bare. Regardless of the woman’s decision, the selection of recovery intimates and lingerie barely scrapes the surface of a multi-billion dollar lingerie industry and the options that are dominate, are ugly AF medical devices that doesn’t make any woman feel anymore sexier. mastectomy
As a fashion show producer specializing in luxury lingerie and swimwear and seeing many of my friends fight like a girl after being diagnosed, I quickly noticed that there was nothing for women that I was actually benefiting! That’s when I began to research with one question, “why not?” – well, my questions were given the most beautiful answers I could ever imagine, not only did I find lingerie and swimwear designed specifically for women who’ve had mastectomy and/or implants, but I found the women who’s journey inspired the creation for a line and ultimately dubbed – for survivors by survivors.
The first collection that I worked with, was with breast cancer survivor and designer, Dana Donofree of Ana Ono Intimates. Dana had launched her collection back in 2011 and by this time, 2014, things were really starting to pick up for. I love her slogan “Never Alone” – her promo video was a story of a woman who just had surgery and all the bras in her drawer just didn’t work, especially for those with lymphedema. Her brave, badass approach to opening up the eyes of not just breast cancer survivors, but to women in general. I never thought that after having surgery, you’d have to reconsider the style and in this case, brands, of bras that you’d purchase if any.
When I showcased AnaOno in my show in 2015 in Charlotte, NC, we had breast cancer survivors rock the collection. It was a powerful moment for everyone. We had given these women an opportunity to do something that they’ve never been able to do (model in a runway show) but also spreading Dana’s message of “[you’re]never alone”. The sisterhood formed between these ladies in less that 6 hours and the empowerment and strength that was given, was priceless.
Coming from down under, Aussie brand, Red Fern Lingerie is also a collection for post-mastectomy wear. Founded and designed by breast cancer survivor, Tina Douheli (who is also a speaker for the National Breast Cancer Foundation), Red Fern Lingerie is for sexy survivors. So many women who’ve had breast cancer, surgery, and have gone through the battle have lost their “sexiness”. The journey to recovery is so challenging – mentally and physically, Tina wanted to remind them that YOU ARE STILL BEAUTIFUL, YOU CAN STILL BE SEXY and here’s lingerie to prove it. Red Fern Lingerie is expected to expand into swimwear, gym wear, body suits, maternity bras and sports bras in the future.
Last but not least, is Hulabelle Swimwear. Founded & designed by breast cancer survivor (and another Dana) Dana Dinerman. Based in Los Angeles, California, Dana’s story is while vacationing in Maui, Hawaii she needed a swimsuit that would cover the side affected by surgery and radiation but also wanted to look and feel great. Like others, no luck. So she took matters into her own hands, dug in tons of research and created swimwear for not just survivors but for any women looking for a suit to cover “all the right spots”.
I know there are several other brands, but these are just a few that I have worked with personally and know that they are truly designed by survivors and not a mass brand that just happens to have a mastectomy collection – there’s a difference. I hope to introduce more mastectomy brands to the lingerie and swim industry through my shows and relationships with buyers and boutique owners and ultimately show that “[we’re]never alone”.
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