I’m a true believer that everybody - and I mean every single body - should be able to find and wear comfortable styles that make them feel good. When that doesn’t happen, fashion is failing horribly and unfortunately for too many, fashion is failing.
Clothes – and women’s clothes in particular, might I add – are often made to fit a “common” shape. But what happens when you don’t fit that mold? Because of amazing designers like Izzy Camilerri, persons in wheelchairs have fashionable, affordable, and functional clothing to choose from. And now, thanks to my former teacher Karen Breen-Welton, so will women who’ve undergone mastectomies.
As if breast cancer isn’t scary enough, women who undergo mastectomies often feel a loss of their “womanhood." After months of treatment, recovery, and (hopefully) the relief of knowing you’re cancer-free, it’s easy to get frustrated in a change room when clothing doesn’t fit the way it once did.
Welton (who will forever be Ms. Breen to me!) decided to focus on her health and wellbeing after recovering from treatment several years ago and discovered yoga. She added yoga to her daily routine, but ran into difficulty finding yoga wear that worked for her new shape.
“It’s discouraging because you go to the shops and look around and you find that you can’t wear things anymore,” Welton explains. “There are millions of people feeling the way I feel, and I thought Maybe I can make them feel better, too.”
From there, I Kare Yoga Wear was born. The entire collection is named after Karen’s mum - Nee - and will initially feature six styles of yoga top, each with a hidden pocket for prosthesis, as well as three matching headbands or scarves. Each top was designed by Welton and the designs were sent to a pattern maker and manufacturer in Vancouver.
The tops, though designed with breast cancer survivors in mind, can be worn by any woman and boast modest necklines to offer additional coverage. Proceeds from I Kare will support local, grassroots breast cancer organizations.
After putting thousands of dollars of her own money into her venture, Welton launched an Indiegogo campaign set to wrap up at the end of this month. So far, it has raised about one third of the $10,000 goal. Welton hopes to have her e-commerce site up by January, and can’t wait to send her first package off to a customer.
“Launching my website and having inventory and sending out my first package is going to be, like, 'Ah! I’m doing it!'”
Yes; yes, she is. And, in addition to being a general badass who’s kicked cancer to the curb, Welton teaches first graders at my old school in Cape Breton. She is also Mommy to one, and inspiration to many. There’s still time to support this amazing campaign, and you can bet I’ll be watching for the e-commerce site up in the upcoming year.
Author’s note: Karen, I am so proud to say I know you and I am inspired by your courage, resilience and especially your spirit. I wish you nothing but the best as you launch this incredible company. Stay yummy! Namaste.
Yoga is an important part of my life, and thanks to Annabel, I’ve got all the inspiration I could need right here at YMC. I invite you to explore her blog and learn how yoga can nurture your body, and how to live life with an open heart. And Zeba is writing today about another great cancer-related cause: Causemetics - who have a wonderful partnership with 11 companies offering all-natural skincare products who donate a percentage of proceeds to the Canadian Breast Cancer Support fund.