Label ‘du jour': CHIKARA for Breast Cancer Survivors

October is the breast cancer awareness month. Instead of looking on how every labels, designers and their stores are doing their own “pink euphoria”, let’s take a look on what’s available in terms of fashion for breast cancer survivors.

Besides ovarian cancer, breast cancer remains the most common cancer among women. Breast cancer death rates are reported to decline significantly since 1990, although the number of breast cancer survivors is growing. Not all survivors, who have undergone mastectomy (the surgical removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely), want, could have nor could afford reconstructive breast surgery. In the past, the only clothing, especially undergarments available for women who had lost their breasts, were the medical bras that most hospitals sell in the US.

chikara2HIGHLIGHTS: Hillary Boyajian, a New York based fashion and product designer graduated from Parsons, New York and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, created Chikara, a fashion line for women with one or no breasts, and those who are experiencing breast asymmetry following a single or multiple mastectomy, lumpectomy, radiation therapy and reconstructive surgeries.

ABOUT THE LINE: Chikara, which means strength, power and energy in Japanese, offers Greek-inspired clothing, which are draped across the chest and cover up the chest in such beautiful way, that compliment left, right, and bilateral breast treatments. Some of their flirty tops and dresses are definitely wearable for every women. Chikara also offers alternative lingerie to medical bras, swimwear, activewear, and loungewear.


HOW IT FISRT STARTED: Boyajian first began designing post-mastectomy clothing while working on her thesis at Parsons. In her research, she discovered that many women who have received mastectomies are not candidates for immediate reconstructive surgery, or decide to move ahead without any breast reconstruction. She also discovered that wearing prosthetics could easily shift and uncomfortable due to its unavoidable asymmetry, and there are also those who simply do not like to wear prosthetic breast(s). Seeing this, Boyajian wanted to cater to these brave women and help them to empower their confidence by creating a fashion-forward line that balances the the body post breast cancer treatments and surgeries.

It is good to know that this option exist, and we hope there would be more upcoming designers who are thinking out of the box. Learn more about this line, here.  And see some of Chikara collection below.

Sources and images courtesy of:, Metro New York, wikipedia,