Breast Cancer

Mastectomy monokinis: Swimwear for breast cancer survivors

A new fashion project aims to challenge the expectations of beauty, and show that women who have lost their breasts can still feel beautiful.


The mastectomy 'monokini'

"Monokini 2.0" is a social art project from a breast cancer survivor and a group of Finnish fashion designers, who want to challenge society's view of beauty. The collection is designed for and modeled by women who have gone through breast cancer, and aims to show "that you can be whole, beautiful and sexy even with just one breast or with no breasts at all," say the creators.

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"On my long and sometimes tough journey with breast cancer, Monokini 2.0 project has been an amazing experience," writes this model and cancer survivor.

"I hope that my picture will give strength, belief and courage to the women [going through] mastectomy: womanhood is not about all breasts (or not having them). I hope that within this project the discussion of these matters will become easier and more natural.”

Swimsuit design by Tärähtäneet ämmät.

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"I am so happy and proud that I can be part of this important and amazing project," says this survivor. "Thank you!"

Swimsuit design by Outi Pyy.

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"When I heard about this project I knew I HAVE TO participate in it!" says this survivor. "The team really made me look good and were lots of fun to work with."

Swimsuit design by Timo Rissanen.

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"Being part of this project has been very empowering and I thank you for that!" this woman said of her experience. "I hope that [through] these pictures everyone can find strength, courage and certitude to endorse her/himself. Everyone is perfect exactly as they are!"

Swimsuit design by Tärähtäneet ämmät.

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"It was an amazing experience to be part of a project as great as this," said this survivor. "I hope my participation gives strength and courage to my sisters in same situation. Living with one breast can be amazing!"

Swimsuit design by Tyra Therman.

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"This is absolutely the most remarkable project that I've ever seen, heard, or been [a] part of; considering that there is no need to see women with mastectomy as sad [people]," this woman said. "It shows that project has achieved maybe even more that it originally was planned. Happy and proud to be part of it, a big thank you!"

Swimsuit design by Vilma Riitijoki.

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"Cancer has drilled holes to my bones and taken away my breast, that’s all. I don’t let it in my mind to steal all the precious things in me," said this survivor. "I've heard from many people 'you are so brave,' but with you, [this is the] first time, I really felt like it."

Swimsuit design by Sasu Kauppi

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The project's creators also want to "dig into the restrictive social taboo on what is considered appropriate — of exposing something that is not there," they say on their website. "Seeing an exposed breast is considered nakedness, but why is exposing no breast also considered nakedness?"

Swimsuit design by Kaksitva.

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"I do not want to hide, I do not want to stop swimming, I do not want to undergo extensive plastic surgery operations, and I do not want to be forced to use the uncomfortable prosthesis on the beach," says this survivor. "I want to feel as free and active as I did before my cancer, and Monokini 2.0 gives me a chance to do exactly that."

Swimsuit design by Elina Halttunen.

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