Empowering Intimate Wear: Architect Creates Lingerie for Post-Mastectomy Bodies

3 min read

“I just want some clothing that I can wear with the body I have, and if no one else is going to make it, then I will,” says award-winning architect and now lingerie designer Katy Marks.

Marks (pictured above, right) is one of the 14,850 women who undergo a mastectomy every year, and among the two-thirds who choose not to undergo a reconstruction.

Now the Liverpool-born cancer survivor has turned her architectural eye to a very different engineering challenge by designing a one-cup bra for post-surgery, asymmetric bodies

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‘Uno’ is the result, and as well as offering bras in inclusive sizes up to FF/G cup, Marks plans to release open-source patterns for download, enabling women the world over to take advantage of her revolutionary design – whatever their budget.

“At some point I looked at myself in the mirror and thought: ‘I just have to learn to like my body’,” Marks says as she recalls crying in changing rooms while struggling with the reality of having one breast.

“I realised that so many women are hiding: wearing baggy T-shirts and uncomfortable prosthetics – feeling like they have to look ‘normal’ to be a woman.”

Marks found most post-op lingerie was unsupportive or had features that irritated scar tissue. Moreover, she was struck by how it was almost always designed to conceal the loss of a breast in the service of societal beauty norms.

Reframing lingerie design as ‘architecture for the body’ she set about creating affordable, accessible bras that celebrate asymmetry, reasoning that the loss of a breast should never equate to the loss of feminine identity. The ethos has been extended to a range of beachwear with one-cup bikinis made from recycled ocean plastics.

“Creating Uno has made me feel that it is possible to look in the mirror again and feel like myself,” Marks added.

Images: Tara Darby

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