Fighting in Style: The Evolution of Breast Cancer Awareness Merchandise

Cancer survivor Allison W. Gryphon and designer Piper Gore don't want cancer fighters to compromise style
Breast Cancer T-shirt, Allison Gryphon, Piper Gore, Breast cancer, Cancer clothing

Piper Gore (left) and Allison W. Gryphon.
(credit: The Why Foundation)

When Allison W. Gryphon was diagnosed with breast cancer, she knew she would have to adjust to major lifestyle changes – but compromising her style was not up for question. She collaborated with designer Piper Gore to create the “Fighter T,” a shirt that is changing our expectations for the cancer awareness merchandise that abounds today.

Allison W. Gryphon, Allison Gryphon, Piper Gore, Breast Cancer T-Shirt

Credit: thefightert.com

There’s nothing wrong with the ‘go pink’ breast cancer mantra. For many, it provides a sense of community and strength. But Gryphon did not want to wear her illness (literally) on her sleeve; she did not want to feel as if her illness was defining her. Why couldn’t she have clothing that she would want to wear during and after the treatment process? She explained why one’s self-confidence, as gathered through personal style, shouldn’t be written off:

Allison W. Gryphon, Allison Gryphon, Piper Gore, Breast Cancer T-Shirt

Credit: The Why Foundation

“Appearance was a big part of it. As a woman who was facing losing a breast and all of the hair on my body, it was important to my emotional state to feel good about how I looked. On the one hand, it seemed crazy to be thinking about fashion while my life was on the line, but on the other it seemed even crazier not to. Breasts are a representation of femininity and of being a woman, and so is how we wear our hair. Every morning putting myself together with personal style helped me prepare for the fight. It was part of my armor.”

“Why couldn’t she have clothing that she would want to wear during and after the treatment process?”

“It was one thing,” she said, “that cancer did not get to take away” from her. That’s how the Fighter Line began to take shape. Gryphon and Gore worked together to create an inspiring, personalized product. “[My style is] easy. Mellow. Pulled together but not too seriously,” says Gore. The “Fighter T” she helped design has all of those elements. In addition to those that speak to the experience of going through surgery and recovery, the fabrics are breathable and the front zipper makes it easy to get on and off. The sleeves “roll up easily,” and, in colors like charcoal grey and orange crush, can be dressed up or down.

Allison W. Gryphon, Allison Gryphon, Piper Gore, Breast Cancer T-Shirt

Credit: thefightert.com

Throw in the fact that their work is also 100% sustainable and non-profit and you’ve got a very exciting thing: a movement unfolding in a t-shirt. A piece of clothing that doesn’t fixate on your illness but on your vitality.

In 2015, you can look forward to an entire fashion line. For now, check out their website (below) for prices and more information.

You may enjoy:

  • Visit the Fighting Cancer with Fashion website here.
  • Our article: “One Man’s Photography of his Wife’s Battle Against Cancer”
  • The Busting Cancer Project: Australian women and The GroundSwell Project launch an intimate, powerful art workshop for cancer awareness
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