Catwalks are Getting Cool

AnaOno is a lingerie and loungewear company that designs exclusively for women who have been affected by breast cancer, and this year in New York’s Fashion Week, its fashion show included a line up of models half of which had either metastatic or advanced breast cancer.

Dana Donofree, the American designer behind AnaOno, had to have a double mastectomy after having been diagnosed with the disease at age 27. Upon realizing that the conventional bras were no longer comfortable or suitable for her body, AnaOno was born.

Many of the models who walked chose to go bear-breasted, showing off their scars and embracing their bodies. “It is a very important moment for them to get out there and experience something like this because breast cancer has taken over their bodies,” Donofree told Reuters.

Picture from Reuters

All proceeds went to Cancerland, an outreach and advocacy charity in the US.

"Whether I have nipples or breasts or not, I am a woman," said model Chiaro D'Agostino, a New Jersey teacher and blogger.

It really seems that catwalks are no longer exclusive places for the thin and flawless: last year in New York’s Fashion Week, the FTL Moda’s AW15 show featured models in wheelchairs as well as the world’s first male amputee to hit the runway.

Picture from DailyMail

The show displayed a compilation of international designers all under a ‘Made in Italy’ theme, and it was held in collaboration with Fondazione Vertical, an Italian foundation supporting research to find a cure for spinal cord injuries. The London-based agency Models of Diversity, an agency that “campaigns for greater diversity of modelling talent in the media and on the catwalk,” also helped out.

Photo from DailyMail

Photo from DailyMail

Later that same year, in September of 2016, Indonesian fashion designer Anniesa Hasibuan made history by featuring hijabs on every single one of her outfits on a New York Fashion Week catwalk. She received a standing ovation after the show and waves of support on social media after the event.

According to Independent, Hasibuan “has previously held shows at major fashion capitals including London and Paris but this was her first catwalk in the US.”

Photo from Independent

Photo from Independent

The world of fashion has always been a place where designers are free to take risks, but now these risks are being taken on a backdrop of an increasingly complicated and hostile political reality for many minority groups. That they be accepted on one of the most ultra-competitive and sought after stages seems to really be a step into the future.


Daniela Flamini