- Interview with owner of AnaOno Intimates - Dana Donofree -
Question 1: What made you decide that your niche was intimates for breast cancer survivors?
I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 27, when I was a young professional woman ready to conquer the world. Cancer and treatment rattled my existence to its core, but it wasn't until after the treatment and surgeries ended that I felt it collapse around me. I was always giving myself a reason or excuse why my clothes didn't fit me during the reconstruction process, and always had this small glimmer of hope that after my final surgery, things would go back to "normal." But they didn't for me. Some things were the same, and some were very different. After digging through my top drawer, and finding that none of my lingerie fit me, then shopping store after store to find something that work, I was defeated. I started asking other women who'd had breast cancer surgery if they had similar challenges and after I asked, I always got an earful about how underwires didn't fit, were painful, or the only option that worked was just down right ugly. I learned then it wasn't just me. I was not alone with this feeling, and that we had all lost so much to cancer. I wasn't going to let sexy be another one of those things. I wasn't going to let lingerie be one of those things. I wasn't going to let cancer rule my life anymore. So I started designing my own sexy and my own collection.
Question 2: I've always been in the world of fashion so I knew what to look for as far as intimates and it wasn't always easy to find the right item made of the right material. I applaud you for bringing fashion into the world of breast cancer. How does it make you feel knowing you have made it easier for women without a background in fashion look and feel good after breast cancer?
For me there is fashion, and there is style. I have been in fashion for over 10 years now and studied design in school, but as far as style goes, I am very simple. My closest is a sea of black, my uniform of choice, because it's easy to not have to make a decision in the morning of what I want to wear. But that's me and my style. Vera Wang has her leggings and t-shirts. Miuccia Prada has her skirt and white top. I have my classic little black everything. But, then there is fashion, which I throw myself into, thinking about the next trends, the next "it" color or the next "perfect" silhouette. In developing AnaOno I was able to touch on both style and fashion. For me, the style happened first. I was never a woman really big into picking out the most beautiful and luxurious lingerie, but I could if I wanted to. As soon as my altered body started making the decisions for me, limiting me to sports bras and camisoles, I felt my style suffer all around. I didn't have options. I started wearing baggier clothes or closer necklines to hide the embarrassing hot pink sports bra under my dress shirt in a business meeting. Options are important to cultivate style. I took my fashion background and my want for style after breast cancer to test and develop not only beautiful, but comfortable, intimates for my post-surgical body. And for others as well.