It was more than a decade ago that Simran Singh (name changed) underwent a “breast-removal operation”, clinically referred to as mastectomy, in Chandigarh. A cancer survivor, Singh fought off the disease bravely but rues how “things were never the same.” Once a smart dresser, the former school teacher lost confidence in her appearance and substituted first baby socks and later, a cotton-filled pouch for her missing breast. “There was hardly any option available here and I just accepted the discomfort,” says Singh. That was before a cousin from Canada sent her a parcel of special innerwear for mastectomy patients.
Finding clothes, especially innerwear that fits well, can be a challenge for most Indian women such as Singh who have undergone the procedure. This is unlike in the West where brands dedicated to “mastectomy fashion” offer a range of options in casual wear, sportswear, sleepwear and even formal wear. So it comes as a pleasant surprise that India’s leading luxury swimwear designers Shivan Bhatiya and Narresh Kukreja, better known as Shivan & Narresh, decided to use their craft for a cause.
The designers have rolled out a “Mastectomy Blouse for All” which comes with an in-built prosthetic breast which is also comfortable to wear. The blouse, incidentally, is a prelude to the mastectomy swimwear service that the brand is currently developing. “As a proud Indian intimate brand, we were aware of the most innate reasons why women in India feel less confident about their bodies and suffer from low self-esteem. The “Mastectomy Blouse for All” was our tool to give back a cosmetic solution to the cause as we felt that it was necessary when dealing with society, which can often be insensitive with a frivolous outlook towards beauty,” says Bhatiya.