Statistics have shown that 1 in 8 women in the US will develop breast cancer in a lifetime. This year is expected to see 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in US women, 63,960 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer, and 40,920 US women are expected to die from breast cancer this year. Though the month of October is dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness, millions of Americans are affected by the disease every day and should not be overlooked or forgotten. Stella McCartney believes this as well.
McCartney launched this week a new philanthropic platform named Stella McCartney Cares that will focus on the millions of women that have been affected by breast cancer. This month, the English designer is donating 1,000 new versions of the Louise Listening post-operative mastectomy compression bras to women undergoing breast cancer treatment, and launched “All is Love” bandanas with Best Made Co to encourage everyone to get checked.
Breast cancer has had an impact on the designer. McCartney lost her mother, Linda Louise, to the deadly illness in 1998, and she named her post-operative mastectomy compression bras after her mother in her honor.
There are so many emotions attached to the tragic realities of having had a double mastectomy. And we just wanted to make something that allows women undergoing this to have something to be proud of, something with no shame attached. We wanted women to know that you can still be feminine, have your sensuality, have all of the things that are attached to being a woman and that part of your body can still feel beautiful on the outside, as well as the inside.
Stella McCartney Cares is the designer’s first major initiative since taking full control of her namesake label in March. The new platform is timely but it is necessary given the large number of lives affected by the illness every year. October is the perfect month to launch this initiative since it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it positions Stella McCartney as a label that is totally by women and for women.
It’s interesting that the designer selected actor Idris Elba to be the face of its new campaign, ‘All is Love’. The actor said that his position as the face of the campaign encourages men to talk about this illness with the women in their lives. Like McCartney, Elba lost a parent, his father, to cancer five years ago.
Removing the taboo around men talking about breast cancer and encouraging other men to talk about it with their wives, mothers, sisters isn’t something we often see or hear about, but it should be. We should be encouraging the women in our lives to go for regular check-ups.
Elba recites a poem to shots of different women in the video, including mothers and daughters, and women with mastectomy scars. “I know how the chest can feel when it can’t celebrate its beauty,” he says in the video. The beautiful narration speaks for men and women that understand the toll breast cancer takes on a women and men, who are also at risk of breast cancer (a man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is 1 in 1,000 and 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2018). The accompanying imagery will be displayed in an exhibition – running until November 9 at McCartney’s Bond Street store – which hopes to offer customers insight and support on the subject.
October is the month for everyone to better understand this illness and do whatever it takes to be healthy and be prepared. Elba closes the video saying, “Praise to the power that cancer could not take,” and we should proclaim this every month as our mantra.
Stella McCartney Creative Director | Stella McCartney
Director | Mollie Mills
Photographer | Ana Sting
Talent | Idris Elba