We LOVE Veronica Brett’s swimwear! A luxury swimwear collection made especially for women who are breast cancer survivors and those who have had mastectomies, this line is so beautiful you’ll want to wear it for any situation! We were lucky to be able to speak with creator Patricia Brett, who shares her inspiration for the line and her own powerful personal journey.
Our interview with the amazing Patricia Brett, creator of Veronica Brett Swimwear:
Based on your family history, you were tested for the BRCA-1 gene and you were positive. From that you made the pro-active decision to have prophylactic double mastectomy. Can you tell us a bit about the legacy of cancer in your family and why you chose to take a different path with your own health?
When I was growing up, I lost three aunts to breast cancer – they all died at young ages. It was not only difficult to see them suffer, but it was a huge loss for the entire family, their children as well as their brothers and sisters (including my dad).
It was a gift for my generation to learn about the BRCA1 genetic mutation. That knowledge likely saved my life and the lives of my sister and numerous cousins. Although I was discouraged from having a risk-reducing bilateral mastectomy by my breast surgeon (fired that surgeon and moved on to another!), I believe that decision was one of the best I have ever made.
What was the catalyst for creating your line?
My sister, Regina Brett (now a 17-year survivor) was the original inspiration for my line of fashions for breast cancer survivors. Unable to have reconstruction due to earlier radiation, my sister was stuck with the matronly, conservative bras and swimsuits on the market. I thought it was unfair that a woman could beat breast cancer yet be limited to “grandmother-like” swimsuits for the rest of her life. I created Veronica Brett (named in memory of one of my aunts) to help all women feel beautiful and sexy again regardless of whether they choose to have reconstruction, to wear breast forms, or to go naturally flat after a mastectomy.
Your product is so beautiful! We love how you have really thought about the details, like covering up the port scar area. How do you research your designs?
I started by trying on every swimsuit I could find! I would spend hours in the fitting rooms at some of the best department stores and swim boutiques. I would try on each swimsuit and take notes about the styles and the details.
My training as an architect helped me to analyze the swimsuits and fashions available to the general consumer and modify some of those ideas for post-mastectomy swimsuits.
Once I had my first three designs, I worked with a small group of breast cancer survivors in New York. I would take the suits to each of their apartments, have them try them on, take photos and notes, get their opinions, etc. Then after the final prototypes were ready, all the suits were swim-tested by Judy, a Manhattan-based breast cancer survivor, who kindly swam in each of my suits wearing her breast forms inside and giving me her feedback. It was a really long process and each of these women really contributed to the process as well as encouraged me along.
How inspiring! What has been the most powerful thing a customer has said to you about your swimwear?
Two emails from customers that really touched me:
- “I just received my swimsuit, and it’s fabulous. I am a 23-year cancer survivor following mastectomy, and this is the first time in years that I felt sexy in a bathing suit. Sexy and comfortable…I thought it was out of reach for me. THANK YOU!!!”
- “Swimsuit arrived today 9/12/2011. Colour looks absolutely the right red for me! I cannot wait until work finishes to go home and try it on! When I opened the air bag I was taken back with the simple presentation. I was impressed to no end that it was not swamped with items relating to breast cancer, just one neat little one page brochure that said it all. I really felt like I was shopping for my old self again and the confidence that alone provides without opening the box is something I have not experienced before. Please do not change the way you do this. You have a real understanding that most of us just want to get on with a normal life as able.”
We know you were chosen by the Tory Burch Foundation as a featured company. That’s so exciting! How did that come about?
What is on the horizon for Veronica Brett?
I hope to continue to provide sexy bikinis and swimsuits for women after breast cancer. I’d like to add many more styles, as well as prints and stripes. I dream of creating beautiful, feminine lingerie for breast cancer survivors. That’s definitely on the horizon!
What do you hope that your product does for the people who wear it?
I just want women to feel beautiful again. I want them to be able to forget all about breast cancer and just enjoy themselves on the beach or at the pool.
We couldn’t agree more! Huge thanks to Patricia for her time. And for you, dear readers, if you would like to purchase one of these stunning beauties, we are pleased to offer you a COUPON for $50 off (code: UsualSexy!), courtesy of Patricia and the VB team.
Check out Patricia’s most recent blog on Huffington Post for a look at a very important movie, “Decoding Annie Parker,” about the discovery of the BRCA mutations (hi, genetic winner here!).
Head on over to Veronica Brett Swimwear and take a look at these gorgeous bathing suits. We’re confident they will make you feel beautiful, inside and out!