Chantal’s Stage Zero Collection targets breast Cancer in Black women

Chantal’s Stage Zero  Collection targets breast Cancer in Black women

Former Montrealer is the founder of the Love & Nudes brand

When in 2015, Chantal Carter launched her Love & Nude line of undergarments with colors that matched the skin tones of Black women, it was meant to be a statement.
You see, after decades working in Canada’s fashion industry, the former Montrealer realized that for too long Black and dark-skinned women were being asked to compromise in their taste and comfort by not having intimates such as brassieres and panties that were tone appropriate.
So, Love & Nudes became the first undergarment line in Canada to bring that type of diversity to the industry and now appears well positioned carve out a place for itself in the lucrative underwear market, not only in this country but globally.
Eight years after her initial venture into this uncharted territory, Carter continues to be driven by a desire to connect her entrepreneurism to the empowerment of Black women, which led her to position Love & Nudes at the centre of a massive breast cancer awareness campaign.
She says the toll that breast cancer is taking on women in our community is frightening enough to provoke action.
(Figures from the American Cancer Society shows that not only Black women are more likely than white women to die of breast cancer at any age but under the age of 50 have a death rate of twice that of their white peers.)
The way Carter sees it is:

“Our bras mean nothing if Black women aren’t alive to wear them.”

So, this past February she launched her Stage Zero Collection of bras, which she says will serve as tool to enlighten Black women what breast cancer looks and feels like.
The collection is identified as “the world’s first breast cancer screening bras for Black women.”
The bras come with special attachment “to visually and physically represent” how major breast cancer symptoms such as ‘peau d’orange,’ lumps and discoloration can appear on darker skin tones.
And they are made in Love & Nudes’ four signature shades of espresso empress, knockout nutmeg,
butterscotch beauty and honey love, to complement dark skin tones.
Dr. Majola Omole, a Toronto based a surgical oncologist with over 15 years experience developing and implementing patient-focused care serves as the medical consultant in the design of the bras.
She says many women just don’t know what to look for, when it comes to breast cancer.

“So the bras can be a tangible way of knowing what they should be looking for such as changes in texture and discoloration. They can be a preventative tool for women.”

Dr. Omole, who completed her general surgery residency at McMaster University and a breast surgical oncology fellowship at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, works at the Scarborough Health Network.
She underlines the significance of having a Black female oncologist provide treatment to community members who are often marginalized and stigmatized, and recognizes that they face worse outcomes from breast cancer due to lack of access to early screening.

“Black women and white women are diagnosed at the same rate but Black women are twice as likely to die. So, it’s important for them not only to know and understand the symptoms but also to start screening earlier.”

As such, Dr. Omole and Carter are part of a campaign calling on provincial governments to lower the breast cancer screening age to 40. (In most provinces women cannot access mammogram services before the age of 50.)
They point to studies that show Black women are “disproportionately predisposed to early-onset triple negative breast cancer before the age of 50.”
They envision the day when her Stage Zero Collection of Bras will become an integral part of the conversation around breast cancer and Black women.
And are hoping that the bras and attachments, which are still at the prototype stage, will soon be available in doctor’s offices as well as places where Black women gather and eventually in pharmacies across Canada and around the world.
Carter, who was born in Montreal and grew up in the St. Laurent area, stands proud of the fact that Love & Nudes goes beyond filling a fashion need for Black women.

“I see it as more than just a fashion brand, it’s a champion of equity.”

Check out Love & Nudes, the Stage Zero Collection and the petition at