Here at Valiant Lingerie we are passionate about creating the lingerie you deserve.
My name is Eleanor and I founded Valiant Lingerie in late 2019. I was so frustrated by the lack of stylish, feminine lingerie for women who have had treatment and / or surgery for breast cancer or preventative surgeries.
I had been aware of this problem basically my whole life. My mum had breast cancer (twice!) when I was a child and had a single mastectomy without reconstruction initially. I clearly remember how frustrated mum was with the frumpy and unflattering bras she had to wear as a young woman in her early 30s. I hoped this had improved over the last 30 years but unfortunately it hasn’t!
I’ve experienced the same frustrations as my mum for the last 9 years or so. When I was 19 years old my mum and I had genetic testing and found out that we both have the BRCA1 genetic mutation. My sister underwent testing a few years later which confirmed that she too has the mutation.
I remember the genetic counsellor giving me the news. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I think of it now as being a process akin to grief; like I was confronted by the fact my sister and I are at risk. Like I was grieving for what my twenties would be like in the absence of this diagnosis.
My surgeon was very supportive and understanding and met with me several times to explain my options. Having said that, the mental preparation for my mastectomy was a surreal experience. This was over 10 years ago (before Angelina Jolie brought the BRCA genes to the attention of the world!) and there wasn’t a huge amount of information out there about BRCA1 or young women undergoing mastectomies. It felt fairly isolating; I remember that my surgeon had a photo book of post-surgery photos but it was hard to imagine what my body would look like after surgery because the photos were all of women in their 50s or older. I spent hours looking online, desperate to find pictures of younger women so I could imagine what I would look like. I wanted to find someone with a story like mine! I want Valiant Lingerie to do that for other women so their experience feels less isolating.
I decided to have a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction with under the muscle expandable implants in 2011 when I was 24.
I think it’s interesting that when people talk about this kind of surgery, the discussion is around the immediate recovery but actually the impact on -mental well-being lasts for a long time too. It has now been almost 9 years since I had my first surgery and building a relationship with my body and self-image has been an uphill battle at times.
Following the initial period of physical recovery, I became increasingly distressed by the lack of feminine post-surgery lingerie that was available.
I felt like before my surgery I had a world of options when it came to choosing lingerie that made me feel confident and beautiful. After surgery it felt like all these options had been taken away from me and all that was left was fairly beige and uninspiring.
That’s why I created Valiant Lingerie; I’m passionate about creating something really beautiful to give you the lingerie you deserve. Lingerie that makes you feel bold, confident and Valiant.