CLEVELAND (WJW) – Deciding what to wear on a daily basis is hard enough. But try doing it while fighting breast cancer at the same time.
That’s the reality for thousands of women, particularly during treatment. But thankfully, a local breast cancer survivor and Cleveland fashion designer are joining forces to provide a little help.
“These are just everyday blouses. But what makes them unique is the Velcro.”
It’s an impromptu fashion show like no other.
”It’s just easy for the ladies who have their ports.”
…combining fashion, comfort and practicality.
These unique blouses will soon be on store shelves for women undergoing chemo treatments after a breast cancer diagnosis.
The fashionable apparel, the brainchild of educator and salon owner Denise West of Richmond Heights.
West, 59, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013.
“I was in the shower one morning and felt a lump.”
Denise underwent a lumpectomy to remove the tumor and started chemo shortly afterward. But she says privacy was non-existent during treatment and trying to cover the painful ports on her chest, nearly impossible.
“When you’re going through chemo, you’re weak, you want to remain and have a sense of pride, where you don’t have to ask for everything.”
…and that’s when she had a lightbulb moment. West was introduced to Diane Liston, owner of Styles of Imagination boutique in Beachwood. But the fashion designer admits, the original blueprint for the design was a bit challenging.
Liston said, “I didn’t know what she was talking about and my clothing label is NGU, never wanting to give up, but this one I said you might want to find someone else. But she said no, you’re the one.”
After hosting a focus group and getting feedback from local breast cancer survivors, the ladies went to work.
The new DWest and Company branded “Breast Blouses” are all cotton and come in different patterns, colors and styles…all equipped with velcro, providing easy access for doctor and nurses to access chest ports during chemotherapy.
By the Fall of this year, these specialty blouses will be available to the masses. For only 65 dollars each, they will be available in major retailers and hospital gift shops. Local boutique owners already calling, ready to get them on store shelves.
“It’s stylish, it looks great, you wouldn’t know what it is but now you can open it to wherever you need to.”
…and no shipping delay worries. The blouses are being created right here in Cleveland at Diane’s manufacturing warehouse.
Denise a wife, mother and grandmother has now been cancer free for 5 years. She’s hoping her experience and fashion creativity will help those during the fight of their lives.
West says, “You can make it through this journey. I want you to look good, I want you to feel good and something as simple as this blouse this top during your treatment, you know, could be the difference.”
Talks are already in the works to create a line of clothing for men and children as well, for post-surgery and medical procedures.