Victoria's Secret Decides Not to Make Bras for Breast Cancer Survivors

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Allana Maiden
[UPDATE May 20, 2013:] We learned today that Victoria's Secret has decided against creating a special line of bras for breast cancer survivors, rejecting a popular petition by a woman whose mother survived the disease.

A few months ago, it appeared that the petition was making some headway: Victoria's Secret parent company Limited Brands invited petitioner Allana Maiden to meet with company representatives in person to discuss the issue.

But today Change.org passed along a statement from Victoria's Secret saying that it had decided not to make post-mastectomy bras, explaining that it had determined that "fitting and selling mastectomy bras ... is complicated and truly a science." In response, Maiden released a statement thanking Victoria's Secret for researching the issue but expressing disappointment that it had opted not to proceed.

While we wish this story could have had a happy ending, we can't exactly blame Victoria's Secret for its decision -- this is a new line of specialty products that the company has no experience making, and selling them would presumably require special training for its employees. On the other hand, an announcement that they would proceed with a line of "Survivor" bras would have been a marketing coup in the wake of Angelina Jolie's recent announcement that she had undergone a prophylactic double mastectomy to cut her risk of breast cancer.

[Our original story is below.]

A petition on Change.org is calling on Victoria's Secret (LTD) to create a special line of "Survivor" bras for breast cancer survivors who have undergone mastectomies.

Allana Maiden, who launched the petition drive, tells us that she was just 6 years old when her mother, Debbie Barrett, was treated for breast cancer and underwent a single mastectomy.

"She's never said anything or indicated that she's had self-image issues," Maiden tells us. "But I've seen what a struggle it can be to find a bra that fits."

After a mastectomy, many women wear a prosthetic breast, and special post-mastectomy bras have internal pockets that can fit the prosthesis. Other retailers sell such bras, but Maiden notes that they're few and far between in the vicinity of her mother's home in rural Virginia, and that the bras she's ordered online don't fit very well.

A line of post-mastectomy bras from Victoria's Secret -- Maiden has suggested the moniker "Survivor" -- would make a big difference. As she notes in her petition, Victoria's Secret is known for expert fitting and beautiful designs, both of which she's found lacking in the current selection of post-mastectomy bras. And the retailer's far reach (it boasts more than 1,000 stores) would make such bras more accessible for women in far-flung areas.

We reached out to Victoria's Secret, but they have not yet responded to requests for comment; Maiden likewise says she hasn't heard back from the company. But if the company isn't aware of the petition on the popular grassroots action site, it will be soon: The petition is starting to go viral, growing from 15,000 signatures early Thursday morning to more than 52,000 as of 1 p.m.

While designing and producing a new product doesn't happen overnight, Maiden hopes for her mother's sake that her petition will eventually get the company's attention and ultimately lead to a new offering in their stores.

"After everything else she's been through, buying a bra shouldn't be a huge ordeal," she says.

UPDATE (3:20 p.m.): The petition, which now boasts close to 65,000 signatures, has broken through to Victoria's Secret management. Maiden tells us that she's spoken with a senior vice president at Limited Brands, which owns Victoria's Secret. "I told her about my positive experiences being fitted there and that I want survivors to have that same experience," she says, adding that she explained how post-mastectomy bras typically work.

For now, it sounds like the company will look into the possibility of producing the bras. "She said she was going to share my idea with the right people internally," says Maiden.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.


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9 Comments

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cougher2004

Lets be honest!!! Is this truly in VS image!!!!

May 21 2013 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Paul Jones

We can debate whether VS should market a line of post-mastectomy bras. The decision is not ours to make. Apparently executives at VS listened to Ms. Maiden’s petition. The Company has a right to market the products that it believes best serve its business position and its investors. Though Company might not now sell post-mastectomy bras, it might do so in the future.

May 20 2013 at 6:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
timtw75

This is not true regarding special fittings. There is a bra called The “Even Up” Bra in the works. I am a 12 year breast cancer survivor and have been wearing forms of my creation for as long. We have patents and various patent pending for our bra that will simplify the bra shopping experience for uneven breasted women such as myself and millions of other women who suffer from noticeably uneven breasts. It has taken far longer to get to market than originally anticipated due to finding manufacturing for our product. Also, it seems that unless you are employed by one of the large intimate apparel companies thy have no interest in hearing from you. I know, we’ve tried them all. This is unfortunate, because there are literally million of women around the world who suffer from uneven breasts and would benefit greatly from our product.
There is no training of staff required and it is as easy as putting on any other bra. It is simply a matter of determining the size difference between both breasts. (This is up to the user to determine, not the sales staff). So to all the uneven breasted women out there, I ask for your help in getting our product to market. Maybe if enough women contacted Victoria Secrets at their main headquarters, phone# (614)337-5000, and voiced their needs and wants, Victoria Secrets would be more open to discussing a possible licensing agreement with us. I also ask that any woman who suffers from this condition either from surgery or birth defect, to contact me at Mary@evenupbra.com and share your story as we have every intention of launching The “Even Up” Bra with or without the assistance of a major manufacturer. I would like to thank you all in advance for your support.

January 21 2013 at 5:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kimmik

Then they should also make bras for women over the size of 8.

January 18 2013 at 7:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
scotthearct

What a wonderful idea. I have friends who have undergone procedures in their battle against breast cancer. Cancer in and of itself is a life-altering condition. It's the person verses themselves/the condition, and no orther friend or doctor can truly offer them the help they need to win the battle, physically or mentally. This idea would provide hundreds of thousands of ladies, if not millions, with an option that may provide some additional sense of "normalcy" to their day. Every person is faced with battles and challenges to overcome over the couse of their life. Having options is nice, really nice. I would think hghly of VS management if they were to pursue this.

January 18 2013 at 1:39 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Joesph

can we start a petition to get VS to stop swiping outfit designs from anime?

January 18 2013 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rjoh959287

I would be happy if more Braas had wider Shoulderstraps anything over a D Cup should have less padding and wider shoulderstraps but who cares a bout the Consumer ??

January 17 2013 at 7:02 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
magsmom1101

they do,, it's called a PADDED BRA.

January 17 2013 at 5:12 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
crimeslawyer

It is a free country. They can make whatever bra they want.

January 17 2013 at 4:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply