HELPING to fight breast cancer is as simple as heading down the high street and bagging one of this season’s must-have trends, something you would be doing anyway as the prospect of summer beckons.
From this season’s ice-cream colours in Laura Ashley’s pastel pink checked frock, to the monochrome daisy print of M&S’s elegant palazzo pants, or River Island’s leopard print with a twist T-shirts, the beauty of the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign is it’s a no-brainer, and while you’re rifling the rails you’re helping to raise vital funds to fight the disease.
In the UK today there are 550,000 people living with a breast cancer diagnosis and every year in Scotland 1,000 women die from it. Factor in families and friends, and that’s millions of us affected by the disease.
From this week, high street stores, including River Island, Warehouse, Topshop, Marks & Spencer, Laura Ashley, Debenhams and Superga will be full of this year’s collection, with each of the 27 pieces carrying a donation of at least 30 per cent. Split into three looks, there are pinks and peaches in Pastel Sundae, skinny bleached jeans and slouchy tees in Breezy Daze and the On Target selection in magical monochrome. Kids can get in on the act, with pocket money prices for lip balm at M&S and Henry Holland bracelets for a fiver.
Now in its 18th year, the campaign raises money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer and this year celebrates strong female role models. Women such as Scots model, blogger and broadcaster Eunice Olumide, who is a campaign ambassador, and Jessica Ennis-Hill, Emeli Sandé and Laura Bailey, who are the faces of the campaign.
“I support this charity because it’s so impressive,” says 26-year-old Olumide, who over the past ten years has modelled for Christopher Kane, Mulberry and Henry Holland and been twice nominated for Model of the Year in the Scottish Fashion Awards. She’s also the subject of a BBC documentary currently being filmed and to be aired later in the year. “They’re out there educating people, making them more likely to go for check-ups, helping those who are dealing with the disease and funding research to save lives. I have a friend who suffers with it and I’ve been involved in charity work and counselling for a long time, so I want to help out with this. Everyone knows someone who has suffered from breast cancer, though they might not talk about it. We should be talking about it, though, because it helps all of us deal with it,” she says.
“People are scared of being stigmatised, or don’t want to be seen as victims, or frighten their children or family. Others don’t talk about it because they’re in shock. But we need to discuss it, because there are options and help available, and the sooner we all find out about treatment, the better.”
After a degree in communications and mass media, and a postgraduate in film studies, the multi-talented Olumide paid the bills with modelling. She has also DJ-ed, tutored at several youth groups and is now moving into presenting, journalism and podcasting.
“As a model you don’t always have a voice, which is why I want to move into broadcasting more. I like to get things out into the open. And if I can use my profile to help, that’s what I want to do,” she says.
Declaring all of the collection “gorgeous”, Olumide narrows down her favourite pieces from the collection to the skinny jeans and the Target T-shirt. Originally designed by Ralph Lauren in 1996, it has evolved over the years and become perhaps the most recognisable symbol of the campaign.
“I’m a T-shirt, skinny jeans and heels girl anyway, but the T-shirts are iconic. I always remember Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss wearing them, and they’re striking and direct, but each time with a twist. With the collection, this campaign gives people an easy way to show support. The clothes are gorgeous, so you’re buying something you would be buying anyway, and supporting charity at the same time.” n
Breakthrough Breast Cancer (www.breakthrough.org.uk), Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (www.fashiontargetsbreastcancer.org.uk)