The STRENGTH Collection
The STRENGTH Collection
A Letter About The Collection, From Oleema
The STRENGTH Collection was born from the idea of creating a line of swimwear for those affected by breast cancer.
Over cocktails one evening in Montecito with some girlfriends, I was pulled to the side by a woman I had met that evening named Shelley.
She told me her story of her battle with breast cancer and now, being on the other side of it, had been looking for swimwear that could work with her new body. She told me she had been a longtime fan of MIKOH and was wondering if there was any chance I had thought about creating a collection for the women affected by this terrible disease.
From this conversation, I realized that women all around me had been affected by breast cancer. My future mother in law, Debbie, my little sister, Hana’s sister in law, Liz, my co-worker’s sister Julia, and my friend Beck.
I knew this conversation with Shelley was more than a conversation—it was a kick starter to do something much bigger, more meaningful, and something that truly came from my heart. I knew I had to do something for these women that embraced bravery, strength, and had so much grace through it all.
Initially after the conversation, with all honesty, I felt guilty. I felt guilty because of all the years of being in the swimwear industry, and of all the women I knew that had been affected by breast cancer. It hadn’t crossed my mind that finding swimwear that was appropriate for those affected would be an issue for these women. I felt guilty that I hadn’t thought of this sooner, despite the fact that I was surrounded by so many women that had gone through a battle with breast cancer. I decided to turn my guilt and sadness into motivation to make something beautiful, functional, and could give back to these women that had given me so much.
The most important element of the design process for me was being mindful of the functionality of the suits without compromising the integrity of the design, the overall look and feel, and the quality that each MIKOH suit embodies.
I spoke with various women who have been affected by breast cancer about the importance of key design elements to both embrace their new bodies but to also make sure to conceal the changes that they wanted to keep to themselves. A higher cut neckline, an extended length to the body of the swimsuit tops, adjustable straps on the tops, slits for the option of using our provided pads or the ability to use their own, and the appropriate coverage for each piece are some of the highlights of the pieces in the collection.
I named the collection STRENGTH to highlight the words that embody who these women are and their journey with Breast Cancer. Strong, Truth, Resilience, Empathy, Nurture, Gratitude, Together, and Hope.
It was so important to me to create pieces that blended in with our current Resort collection- cut in the same fabrics, prints, and overall look and feel so that its wearers didn’t need to stand out for anything other than the fact that they are strong, beautiful, and sexy in each of their own ways.
As my future mother in law has said, “I had cancer but it didn’t have me.” I wanted this mantra to go into the design of the suits—to have each woman feel most like themselves without having to be mindful of the hardships that they had gone through. I want to empower women to be able to embrace their bodies, just as they are, and to keep to themselves whatever changes they have gone through if they wish to. With the cuts and silhouettes of the swimwear, these design elements allow the women to do just that.
It has been an honor to get to know the women behind our STRENGTH campaign and to give back to this community of women that continue to inspire me and the world around us.
—Oleema Miller, MIKOH Co-Founder & Designer
The Women Behind Strength
Brianna | 33
Age Diagnosed | 30
Debbie | 68
Age Diagnosed | 38
River | 46
Age Diagnosed | 45
Sarina | 46
Age Diagnosed | 44
Lindsay | 52
Age Diagnosed | 52
Meme | 42
Age Diagnosed | 39
Katie | 64
Age Diagnosed | 51
Sherri | 73
Age Diagnosed | 60
Learn More About Their Journey
We’ve enlisted the help of Dr. Christopher Tokin, who specializes in plastic surgery, breast oncology and reconstruction. He has provided his wealth of knowledge and generosity and we are looking forward to sharing our conversation with him.
We are proud to announce our partnership with The Keep A Breast Foundation throughout our STRENGTH campaign. The Keep a Breast Foundation is a 501 non-profit organization whose mission is to reduce breast cancer risk and its impact globally through art, education, prevention, and action.
MIKOH will be donating $5.00 from every item of the STRENGTH Collection that is sold to directly benefit The Keep a Breast Foundation.