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Monokini 2.0: Swimsuits for Breast Cancer Survivors

Published on | Kylie Chin


10361339_239452509581793_7408228196245918662_n“Who says you need two?” is a fitting tagline for a new swimwear collection targeting women who have undergone a mastectomy (breast removal) to treat breast cancer. Inspired by breast cancer survivor Elina Halttunen, the Monokini 2.0 is a community art project that aims to change the perception of what is considered beautiful unveiling a unique, single-breast swimsuit.

Rudi Gernreich, an Austrian-born American fashion designer, introduced the original design for a monokini swimsuit in 1964, but Finnish Fashion designers Katriina Haikala and Vilma Metteri (also known as Nutty Tarts) are determined to rebrand the suit—and the reason is not just for swimwear.

According to the Monokini 2.0 Manifesto, “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.”

A New Public Perception

Aside from making a functional bikini that fits the body of a woman with one breast, the Monokini 2.0 Manifesto has another objective—to expose the “restrictive social taboo on what is considered appropriate.” In some societies, public perceptions from commercialism shape how people think our bodies should look, and deviations from the “norm” can create negative perceptions of beauty, not to mention personal insecurities.

But for some breast cancer survivors, like Halttunen, the Monokini 2.0 is a statement to the opposing views of normalcy—a liberating way to feel comfortable in her own skin.

“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,” Halttunen said in an article posted by Daily Mail Online. “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.”

The Monokini 2.0 project is scheduled to be on display at the Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki, Finland. You can learn more about the exhibit here.

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