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15th April 2019

First and second year students studying on the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Fashion at Stafford College, have recently taken part in a live brief to design and create a collection of clothing inspired by breast cancer survivors who’ve chosen not to have reconstructive surgery.

The project is the brainchild of Karen Bloor, who herself was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2014. Since her diagnosis, Karen has been an avid fundraiser and along with her close friends (AKA her ‘Army of Angels’), she has managed to raise over £25,000 for Breast Cancer Care.

Following her mastectomy, Karen chose not to have reconstructive surgery, in part due to the quicker recovery times but mainly for her keen desire to quickly return to the job she loved as a Police Dog Handler. Since then, Karen has struggled to find flattering, feminine clothes on the high-street and thus has spent the past 3 years working tirelessly to get this project off the ground, for both herself and other women like her.

After she approached the college back in 2018, our wonderfully talented students came to the rescue and have worked around the clock to create a selection of stunning garments spanning underwear, evening-wear and sportswear which have been hugely well received. Karen has been instrumental in amplifying the project and orchestrated an interview with the BBC as well as on-boarding local manufacturer Body Box to help produce some of the designs.

On the experience, Karen said: When diagnosed with breast cancer I thought I wouldn’t see another birthday. Four and a half years on I have achieved things I never would have thought possible. Everyone affected by this awful disease deserves to feel beautiful, glamourous and have access to clothing which helps to fulfil this. Stafford College students, Body Box and the lovely ladies from Flat Friends have helped to show this is possible...and that everyone should try and fulfil their dreams.

The finished collection was showcased on the catwalk at a ladies only, Charity Gala Dinner held at the Stone House Hotel on Friday 29 March 2019 where over 150+ tickets were sold. The students were invited to bring along family and friends to the glitzy event which included a three course meal and evening entertainment. All proceeds from the event will now be split between the charities Breast Cancer Care and Flat Friends with the remainder going towards the funding fund of the garments be manufactured to sell.

Tracey Reynolds, Creative Arts Coordinator at Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group, said: “I am immensely proud of the work the students have produced. The standard has been extremely high and the results have been outstanding. This project was in addition to their day-to-day studies, with a huge amount of effort determination from all involved.”

For more information on the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Fashion at Stafford College, please click here, or to find out more about the work that Breast Cancer Care and Flat Friends do, visit https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/ and https://www.flatfriends.org.uk/.

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