SHARE was so pleased to work with New York researcher and designer Grace Jun on a series of 7 jackets for women with breast cancer, post-mastectomy, called "Access & Closure." Grace is the Educational Director of MIT Open Style Lab, which focuses on clothing and technological innovations. To get input for the project, Grace contacted SHARE and spoke with breast cancer survivor Dorothy Jordan, who became Grace's original model for the jacket design.
Dorothy and Grace discussed clothing issues specific to women with breast cancer and mastectomies, such as having limited mobility or needing confidence in being able to self-dress. They wanted the jackets to be functional, but also beautiful. As you can see, the results are both.
According to Grace's thesis website, "each jacket in the collection solves issues specific to different phases of the recovery process," and several of the designs use technology to make the jacket itself a communication tool. In her conversations with breast cancer survivors, Grace noted that many women find themselves at group meetings or conferences wanting to share their cancer story. One jacket design features a button in its breast pocket that connects to Bluetooth; if the wearer has uploaded a video of her cancer story to the web, all she has to do is press the button to send her story to the nearest web-connected screen. Grace plans to continue exploring wearable tech solutions for women with breast cancer, such as designing a jacket to track its wearer's range of arm motion and other mobility data to share with therapists and doctors.
For her work, which was a Parsons MFA thesis, Grace was awarded the William Randolph Hearst Scholarship, given to Parsons Students making design and art with social impact. She is now creating a limited number of jacket designs especially for women at SHARE. If you have lymphedema, a mobility disorder, or have recently had breast surgery, please take 5 minutes to complete this survey. Your results will be used to make these beautiful jackets even more functional and accessible.