Debenhams has named the face and body of its new post-surgery lingerie brand, Spirit.
Wendy Aitken from Kent was selected to front the label after having a mastectomy following her breast cancer diagnosis in 2012.
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In a project run in conjunction with Debenhams and UK breast cancer charity, Breast Cancer Now, the mum of three – who has no previous modelling experience – was enlisted to model 10 styles of the new range in packaging, store and web images.
After discovering a lump in her breast in 2012, Wendy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went on to have a single mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Wendy attended a Debenhams focus group with other Breast Cancer Now supporters and subsequently went on to model the Spirit range, while waiting for her reconstruction, which she had after completing her treatment.
Debenhams lingerie buyer, Ananda Gill said: "Working closely with Breast Cancer Now and women who have undergone mastectomies; we wanted to investigate how retailers could better represent and support the needs of women post-surgery. Firstly we found we needed to offer greater choice outside of typically old fashioned looking bras. It is our responsibility as lingerie specialists to ensure that we are offering garments which are desirable as well as comfortably supporting the weight and shape of the prosthesis.
“Secondly bra fitters needed to be specially trained in order to understand how to fit and be more empathetic to the needs of women post-surgery. Finally women wanted to see the product on a woman who has had a mastectomy. An image of a woman who has not gone through surgery, which is commonplace in the market, can make customers feel hurt and ignored.”
In a move to better cater for the thousands of women who undergo mastectomies, Debenhams conducted a two-year-long project to overhaul design, provide feminine styles with a streamline fit and implement new training and processes to help drive greater support in store.
Wendy said she was surprised and delighted to receive a call asking if she would become the face of Spirit.
"After I had my mastectomy, I felt strongly that I did not want to lose my femininity, which is why I was keen to give my opinions and feedback on the new Debenhams range. I never dreamt that I would be asked or brave enough to model it," she added.
"The shoot was uplifting and liberating and it is great to be able to send other women who have undergone mastectomies a message – you can still be feminine and still be you after having a mastectomy".
The new Debenhams Spirit post-surgery range is available in 30 Debenhams stores, as well as online.
Available in 10 styles in sizes from 32B-40G. A year-round donation of 50p from every purchase of a bra in the Spirit post-surgery range will be donated to Breast Cancer Now.