According to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Black women have a 40% higher death rate from breast cancer than white women. In many cases, Black women are diagnosed once the disease has progressed to the latter stages. Breast cancer awareness has increased over the past decades with more resources dedicated to helping catch the first sign of alarm. But even still, a majority of them depict how the symptoms appear on lighter skin. In an effort to help women of color understand how cancer manifests on darker skin, Toronto-based lingerie company Love & Nudes joined forces with advertising agency McCann Toronto for a project titled the Stage Zero collection.
Love & Nudes created a series of self-examination tools with the help of Dr. Mojola Omole, a surgical oncologist who oversaw the collection as the chief medical officer. According to the company, these are the first breast cancer screening bra attachments for Black women and women of color. Through 3D attachments and makeup work, these garments allow women to see, touch and feel the subtle changes in texture and shape in four different dark skin tones: Espresso Empress, Butterscotch Beauty, Knockout Nutmeg, and Honey Love.
The company lists the three main symptoms–peau d'orange, lumps, and discoloration–and how they are replicated on its bras. The peau d'orange, or “orange peel” texture was recreated by casting a silicone mold so the wearer can perceive inflammatory breast cancer’s dimpling. For the lumps, it created 3D-printed models and situated them exactly where they appear on the breast. “As hard as a pea and bumpy like a kaffir lime, both lumps are true to life in size and shape,” the company writes. To achieve the effect of discoloration, it worked with a world-renowned makeup artist to illustrate what looks like on a range of skin tones.
“The bras don’t mean anything if the person is not alive to wear them,” says Chantal Carter, founder of Love & Nudes. With this project, the company is calling to lower the screening age in most Canadian provinces from 50 to 40, having launched a petition on Change.org. “For certain groups with racialized women and Black women, 40 makes more sense because the age of presentation for breast cancer is much lower,” Omole says.
Meanwhile, the company has organized events at malls and stores for the public to get up close with these pieces and see how breast cancer looks on Black skin firsthand. To stay up to date with Love & Nudes and its Stage Zero collection, follow it on Instagram.
Toronto-based lingerie company Love & Nudes launched the Stage Zero collection, a series of bras that depict the first signs of breast cancer on darker skin tones.
Through 3D attachments and makeup work, these garments allow women to see, touch and feel the subtle changes in texture and shape in four different dark skin tones.
The company is calling to lower the screening age in most Canadian provinces from 50 to 40.
Learn more about the collection here:
Love & Nudes: Website | Instagram | Facebook
h/t: [NOW Toronto]
All images via Love & Nudes.
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