Maya, 45-year-old breast cancer patient, faced a dilemma. A lifelong exercise buff, her diagnosis made her even more committed to physical fitness, especially swimming, as a weapon in her fight against cancer. The California resident was also very self-conscious about her post-mastectomy appearance. She did not want to choose between getting the exercise she needed and drawing attention to herself at the pool.
An internet search led to a practical yet elegant solution: a swimsuit with a mastectomy bra that looked great, was easy to care for, and allowed freedom of movement no matter how many laps she swam. In fact, she discovered that there's a whole industry dedicated to active wear for women like her.
At a time when "athleisure wear" is trending more than ever, manufacturers are responding to the needs of women living with a variety of ailments and conditions that prevent them from having an active lifestyle - something that's obviously key to their overall health. These companies believe that breast cancer should not be an excuse for giving in to a sedentary existence. Post-surgery bariatric patients should be able to celebrate their new figures and stay on track without worrying about unsightly hanging skin. Skin cancer, lupus and psoriasis sufferers should have the protection they need to enjoy the outdoors.
The "athleisure wear" industry is also becoming more aware of different standards of modesty in other cultures and communities. Companies like the New Rochelle-based HydroChic specialize in fashionable coverage for what they call "real women" - consumers outside the traditional market. It offers products like swimwear and tops with mastectomy options, figure-flattering styles that cover the arms and legs, and flexible workout wear that provides compression without restricting movement. HydroChic's durable, stretchable fabric also protects against sun damage with UPF 50+ protection and feature chlorine-proof and chlorine resistant fabrics.
If you're interested in exploring a growing industry that accommodates consumers with special needs who don't want to sacrifice an active lifestyle, Daniella Teutsch and Sara Wolf, co-founders of HydroChic, LLC., can talk to you about their customer base, the kinds of solutions their products offer, and the story of how two mothers saw a niche, taught themselves how to launch a business, and in 2007 became pioneers in this specialized retail market.
Please visit www.hydrochic.com and let me know if you need information
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2010 Jan/Feb issue
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