I was so inspired by a photograph that I saw in the Metro paper the other day. All of the female presenters of ITV’s Loose Women participated in a photo shoot showing their un-photoshopped bodies in a swimwear shoot.
Looking at this image ignited an ongoing desire to do a similar photo shoot for my brand, Clover Lewis Swimwear. Except I wanted to work with women who have been affected by breast cancer, like me. Having done photo shoots before with professional models, I appreciate the skill and professional demands that modelling involves in order to create great images. It is hard work!
To do a photoshoot with a group of non-professional women would be quite a challenge. But I've had challenges - I've survived breast cancer and its treatment! But I did wonder to myself, where would I begin with my photographic dream?
Well, over the past few years I have formed online relationships with hundreds of women with breast cancer. I’ve become particularly close to the women who are members of the BBB (I’m afraid, like Fight Club, I cannot share what goes on in BBB, including it’s name)! Since we formed this private group online, we have shared our breast cancer fears, laughter, many bottles of prosecco, we have cried, and we have danced together until dawn.
Breast cancer had brought us closely together. We know what we as young women living with and beyond cancer have been through, which created invisible titanium-like bonds between us in a most unique way.
Twice a year, at Christmas and some time in the Summer, we get together to celebrate our friendship and each other. Our get-togethers continue to be full of laughter, dance, wine and tears. Tears for the BBB women in our group who did not make it to the meetup, because they have died from the very disease that brought us together...
This year we are meeting up in Birmingham. I am actually on my way there now! This year's gathering called the “Our Summer of Love”, and it poses the perfect opportunity for me to fulfil my photographic dream. Today, we will do create a special photo shoot, with my special BBB girls all wearing my swimwear.
I can't wait to see all 30 of them shortly (we are over 100 in total I must add)! Each one has a different, unique story, and has something to offer, inspire and motivate other women.
It was truly an amazing feeling spending yesterday matching woman to mastectomy swimwear. So as I packed my bags, selecting a Jump Mastectomy Swimsuit for Alison, and a La Victoire ruched Mastectomy Bikini for Helen (more about them later), and while i am sat on the train, I can’t stop thinking about the value that each of these women has given to me through this group and their ongoing friendship.
Despite having had breast cancer being the dreadful thing that brought us together, we are still able to celebrate life and celebrate the girls we have lost too.
Can't wait to show the photos with you!
With absolute warmth, Clover.
Clover, Creator of Clover Lewis Swimwear
Clover started designing mastectomy swimsuits and bikinis after struggling to find a stylish, beautiful post-surgery bikini to wear on her first holiday after a breast cancer diagnosis. The holiday? A trip to Bali to overcome her fears by learning how to scuba-dive.
She made her first mastectomy bikini, got her PADI diving certificate wearing it, at that moment personally realised the connections between body image, clothing confidence for women with breast cancer.
So despite the expectation to carry on with “life as normal” after cancer, this experience had a profound effect on Clover. It became the fuel for her mission creating beautiful swimwear for women to feel good about their bodies so they can swim again.
Through Clover Lewis Swimwear, Clover helps women feel body confident… and feel like they belong on a beach.