New York — When Dana Donoffrey performed a bilateral mastectomy and implant reconstruction after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, a 27-year-old fashion designer at the time said an unpleasant medical bra for a woman with the disease. I found only.
The design was originally sold on her website and in drug stores, but Ana Ono can be found in mainstream online shops such as Soma, Third Love, and more recently Nordstrom, and soon Target.com. Her designs are also sold abroad such as Spain, Israel and Canada. Her products incorporate four-way stretches, hidden seams, and gentle fabrics like imported modals that won’t rub against scars. Other brands like Athleta currently offer mastectomy bras, but Donofree said overall the choices are still limited.
Donofree, who has participated in various breast cancer nonprofits, has also broken the taboo about women and breast cancer. She has used breast cancer survivors of all shapes and ethnicities in her campaigns to help bold the breast cancer community. Her runway event, interrupted during her pandemic, raised more than $ 500,000 for the study of metastatic breast cancer.
Donofree is one of many breast cancer survivors who create their own products to help others, from cosmetological items to trendy head wraps. Or later. AnaOno expects 30,000 customers and nearly $ 3 million in revenue this year, almost double the number last year. Donofree says her goal is to reach 100,000 women and plans to expand to swimwear next season.
AP recently interviewed Donofree about how they are closing the lingerie gap for breast cancer survivors and advocating for the breast cancer community. The interview was edited for clarity and length.
Q. What kind of bra was offered to breast cancer survivors before starting AnaOno?
A. Matronly, a utilitarian … a typical grandma bra. So, when I had a toilet bowl and a wheelchair, I also had a mastectomy bra, and I was a young woman who had just completely removed her breast tissue, including her nipples. It was a very unpleasant experience that felt like the world was telling me. Something inside me broke and I was no longer allowed to behave or look like a woman. But this is not normal.
Q. What is the design process?
A.AnaOno includes boobs. So if you have two boobs, one boobs, no boobs, or new boobs, get support. And the way we can do that is to change the design and practicality of what the bra intends to do. So I removed the underwire. Moved the traditional cup design to bra. So everything we have is multiple stretches, multiple different directions. We use its incredibly beautiful modal material, which is not common in bra designs.
Q. How was the first reaction from the store?
A. Every time I went out and traveled, I looked up all the lingerie stores in the city and all the plastic surgeons who specialize in breast cancer reconstruction. And the reason is that I had to put my feet on the ground. I had to put on my boots on the ground, knock on the door, and sell. By doing so, not only stores and specialty stores, plastic surgeons and medical practices, but also what surgery we are doing, what they are doing to our body, and what I found out how disjointed the conversation about whether there is a solution. I was on the other side.
Q. What was your breakthrough moment?
A. I had the opportunity to go to the global stage at New York Fashion Week (2017). I was able to see the state of the body without breasts and the state of the body without nipples. This was a harsh reality that people wouldn’t understand without you experiencing it. And using art and fashion, conversation and advocacy all together really helped drive another kind of conversation. You can show the world what cancer really looks like. And that was a crucial moment when we started to change the conversation.
Q. How has the lingerie industry made progress in catering to breast cancer survivors?
A. I think there have been major changes in our movements, especially in the last 10 years. We have taken a step forward as one of the first lingerie brands to use real people and bras and underwear. Probably the most difficult to introduce in a model. I think what we still lack is now absolute inclusion. The reality is … 1 in 8 women have been diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. This is a significant number of people who do not have breasts, have only one breast, or may have had their breasts reconstructed.
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