Loryne Atoui, the founder of local breast cancer awareness and support group One Wig Stand, has come up with a fun and feminine way to support breast cancer survivors – by hosting a contest to design gorgeous underwear. The group plans to sell the bras at auction and in stores across Dubai towards the end of the year. We asked her how people can get involved in the designing process right now.
Tell us about the concept of Bras for a Cause.
We came up with the idea of designing bras for breast cancer survivors because there are very few places in the Middle East that sell them – these bras come with special requirements and are hard to find. You won’t find them in lingerie stores – only in a few specialist pharmacies. They have pockets on the inside and tend to sit higher from the chest and are a little wider than regular bras.
What is your personal connection to the project?
It is close to my heart because I had a family member who suffered from breast cancer. I felt very helpless at that time, and also noticed the lack of awareness about the issue here. I realised how hard it is to get support, and a lot of information is only available by word of mouth. I realised there is a need to connect women so that they can help each other.
How can people get involved with designing the bras?
We have a few different categories for bra designers. There’s the ‘Her Bra’ design category, for bras that are to be worn by breast cancer survivors – this category is open to anyone, but the bras should be designed keeping in mind the needs of the women who will wear them. The ‘Everybody wants me Bra’ is a general bra that anyone can wear. There’s also the chance to design a T-shirt instead.
And you also have a professional’s category?
Yes, there will also be designer pieces made by professionals that we’ve invited to take part in Bras for a Cause. Their designs will not be a part of the actual contest, but will be part of the fashion show we’ll be holding later. We do have some international names lined up, including Iffa from London, who will be designing T-shirts for the concert. More designers will come on board later for auctions in September and October and the proceeds will go to breast cancer fundraising groups.
Are you expecting the designs to be funky, or should they be practical?
Part of the design criteria is that they should be wearable, as they are going to be put on sale. There are no specific rules, but they have to be very creative as we want something new. The bras at the moment are very basic – almost medical. We want the breast cancer sufferers who will wear the bras to feel beautiful.
What boundaries should pepople respect when it comes to designing the bras?
It is a sensitive topic, and we are approaching the campaign sensitively as well. The graphics are very modest, not focusing on any sexual aspects of underwear – this campaign shouldn’t be taken the wrong way. Designers should follow the guidelines carefully.
The deadline for entries is June 26, with a store selling the bras set to open later this year. For competition guidelines and more information, visit www.fustany.com/brasforacause