Courage, beauty and fashion design combine in Monokini 2.0, a project in which a group of Finnish designers create swimsuits for breast cancer survivors with one breast. Then the survivors model the suits in inspiring photos, a runway show and upcoming exhibits.
Update: Monokini 2.0 has now launched their kickstarter campaign. Help fund them here.
Swimwear is conventionally designed for women who haven’t suffered a mastectomy. The fact is that many women who have had one breast removed due to breast cancer don’t wish to have breast reconstruction surgery, they wish to continue their lives with one or no breasts at all. Enter Monokini 2.0, a social art project that re-examines popular culture’s narrow view of a woman’s ideal appearance.
Sirpa in Swimsuit design by Tärähtäneet Ämmät:
above: this first photo, once published online, prompted breast cancer survivors to contact the team at Monokini with a desire to join in the project
“On my long and sometimes tough journey with breast cancer, Monokini 2.0 project has been an amazing experience. I hope that my picture will give strength, belief and courage to the women gone through mastectomy: womanhood is not about all breasts (or not having them). I hope that within this project the discussion of these matters will become easier and more natural.”- Sirpa
These beautiful photos by Pinja Valja feature courageous, real breast cancer survivors modeling the one-breasted swimsuit designs by the various designers. The models actually contacted Monokini 2.0, wanting to participate in the project after seeing the first published photo of model Sirpa wearing the swimsuit by Tärähtäneet Ämmät shown above.
Virve in Swimsuit design by Tyra Therman:
“It was an amazing experience to be part of a project as great as this. I hope my participation gives strength and courage to my sisters in same situation. Living with one breast can be amazing!”– Virve
Kristiina in Swimsuit design by Outi Pyy:
“I am so happy and proud that I can be part of this important and amazing project. Thank you!”– Kristiina
Camilla in Swimsuit design by Timo Rissanen:
“When I heard about this project I knew I HAVE TO participate in it! I knew I had to challenge myself to do this, just had to. We´ve been watching Top Model (USA) for soooo many seasons now with my kids, it looks so easy to get a good pic….so this was extremely fun to try out what it´s really is like. I did find out pretty quickly that posing isn´t easy at all, just a simple pose was hard work 🙂 You really have to put your soul into this, otherwise the photos don´t turn out that good at all. But, I loved it !!! This was my moment of glory (since I´ve never even been married…) somebody did my make-up, my hair, told me what to wear… The team really made me look good and the were lots of fun to work with. Thank you for having me and guess what, I love the photo of myself. :)”– Camilla
Marjaana in Swimsuit design by Sasu Kauppi:
“Cancer has drilled holes to my bones and taken away my breast, that’s all. I don’t let it in my mind to steal all the precious things in me. I’ve heard from many people “you are so brave”, but with you, first time, I really felt like it. ‘To infinity and beyond’.”– Marjaana
Elina in Swimsuit design by Elina Halttunen:
“I do not want to hide, I do not want to stop swimming, I do not want to undergo extensive plastic surgery operations, and I do not want to be forced to use the uncomfortable prosthesis on the beach. I want to feel as free and active as I did before my cancer, and Monokini 2.0 gives me a chance to do exactly that.” -Elina
Milsse in Swimsuit design by Tärähtäneet Ämmät:
“Being part of this project has been very empowering and I thank you for that! I hope that through these pictures everyone can find strength, courage and certitude to endorse her/him self. Everyone is perfect exactly as they are!”- Milsse
Reetta in Swimsuit design by Vilma Riitijoki:
“This is absolutely the most remarcable (sic) project that I’ve ever seen, heard, or been part of; considering that there is no need to see women with mastectomy as sad persons. It shows that project has achieved maybe even more that it originally was planned. Happy and proud to be part of it, a big thank you!”-Reeta
Katja in Swimsuit design by Mert Otsamo:
Solja in Swimsuit design by KAKSITVÅ:
The original idea for Monokini 2.0 is by Elina Halttunen, PhD, a woman who herself, has one breast. The artistic director of Monokini 2.0 is the art duo Tärähtäneet ämmät / Nutty Tarts.
These photographs will be shown at the following exhibitions:
• The Finnish Museum of Photography, Finland, 23.5.–7.9.2014
• Museum Anna Nordlander, Sweden, October 2014
• Kunstplasse 5, Oslo, Norway, January 2015
The fashions and models will also appear in special runway shows.
THE MONOKINI 2.0 MANIFESTO (in their own words):
We think that the current focus on a breast-reconstruction after mastectomy as the only way to a full life, is a breast-fixated way of seeing what a woman is. We want to incite a positive self-image of breast-operated women by showing that you can be whole, beautiful and sexy even with just one breast or with no breasts at all. Our other aim is to dig into the restrictive social taboo on what is considered appropriate – of exposing something that is not there. Seeing an exposed breast is considered nakedness, but why is exposing no breast also considered nakedness?
“It had to do with more than what to wear on the beach. It was about a changing culture throughout all society, about freedom and emancipation.” — Rudi Gernreich, designer of the original Monokini