Maya, a 45-year-old breast cancer patient, faced a dilemma. A lifelong exercise buff, her diagnosis made her even more committed to physical fitness as a weapon in her fight against cancer. The California resident was also self-conscious about her post-mastectomy appearance. She did not want to choose between getting the exercise she needed and drawing attention to herself at the pool.
An internet search led to a practical yet elegant solution: a swimsuit with a mastectomy bra that looked great was easy to care for, and allowed freedom of movement. In fact, she discovered that there's a whole industry dedicated to active wear for women like her.
At a time when "athleisure wear" is trending more than ever, manufacturers are responding to the needs of women living with a variety of ailments and conditions that prevent them from having an active lifestyle – something that's obviously key to their overall health. These companies believe that health issues should not be an excuse for giving into a sedentary existence.
The "athleisure wear" industry is also becoming more aware of the varying cultures, faiths, and communities that require more modest attire. Companies like the New Rochelle-based HydroChic (www.hydrochic.com) specialize in fashionable coverage for what they call "real women" – consumers outside the traditional market. It offers products like swimwear and tops with mastectomy options, figure-flattering styles that cover the arms and legs, and flexible workout wear that provides compression without restricting movement. HydroChic's durable, stretchable fabric also protects against sun damage with UPF 50+ protection and chlorine-proof fabrics.
The co-founders of Hydrochic, Daniella Teutsch, and Sara Wolf, are approaching ten years of continuous business growth, selling to consumers all over the globe via its website and select specialty stores.
"We knew we were on to something when we noticed women on the beach covering up with their husband's oversized t-shirts while trying to swim or sun bathe," says Wolf. "We also knew that consumers with unique health needs want to live active lifestyles without sacrificing style, fashion, fit and comfort, and thus, HydroChic was born," she adds.
Today HydroChic offers more than 100 mixes and match separate in missy and plus sizes to 4X.