art, creativity, fashion, health

Beautiful: Hacking Fashion – the Breast Cancer Detecting Bra and Carrie Underwood’s Grammy Dress

Carrie Underwood's Grammy dress
Carrie Underwood’s Grammy dress

“What do I say to people who say fashion is frivolous? I agree with them and then I tell them how many jobs this industry creates, how many people my company employs. That is not frivolous at all…This was always my dream.” ~ Prabal Gurung, fashion designer

As the whirlwind of Fashion Week dies down, I am inspired by two fashion stories that happened far away from the hubbub at Lincoln Center.

The bra that detects breast cancer
My mom is a breast cancer survivor. Early detection by GE Healthcare scanners caught her tumor during a routine mammogram when it was the size of a grain of sand. She was treated with a lumpectomy and radiation. 7 years ago yesterday, she wrapped up her radiation and she has been cancer free ever since. Early detection and capable doctors saved my mom’s life.

In the U.S., most health insurance doesn’t cover routine mammograms until women are 50. Sadly, too many women are developing breast cancer long before their 50th birthdays. Some are not even making it to 50. First Warning Systems is about to change all that, bypassing the healthcare system in favor of the fashion industry. They’ve developed a system that fits inside a sports bra to monitor breast health. They’ve spent 20 years developing this technology and expect it  be approved by the FDA next year. The bra costs $200, a fraction of the cost of a mammogram if women can even get one before they’re 50. Learn more here.

Carrie Underwood’s Grammy dress
During Carrie Underwood’s performance at the Grammy Awards, there were two shows – one involved her voice, the other involved her dress. It was something to behold. The dress was hand-sewn with thousands of crystals. Projectors created choreographed, colorful patterns using the dress as the main screen and then extended them throughout the Staples Center. The images were timed perfectly to her music. It was breathing taking.

The images looked as if they were coming from inside the dress. It made me think about the canvases all around us, not just the ones on easels and museum walls. There are so many places where art can come to life. There are so many ways for us to create a masterpiece that boosts our creativity and inspires others.

Fashion doesn’t have to be outrageous to be meaningful. Just like any other creative work, it can have an impact. It can help to build a better world. All that’s needed is the intention of its makers to do so.