New York-based Fashion Designer, Melanie Harris is part of a club now that she never wanted to be a part of....
Melanie Harris is a breast cancer survivor at 46 years old. With never having the Brca Gene or any family history to be concerned with, however, a Stage 1 diagnosis & a double mastectomy later, she was rocked to her core, after a routine screening.
"I realized that the words, "breast cancer survivor or mastectomy patient," no longer meant an "older woman" or a "grandmother. " It was ME. I am that breast cancer girl that people read about. I became that statistic of another survivor and I am now a fighting force behind all of the debates on "Early Detection Saves Lives." It saved my life, literally.
Unfortunately, after a breast cancer diagnosis, overnight, I went from a confident, outgoing, 46 year old mom that loved to dress up and be social, to an insecure woman that was too uncomfortable with her "new" body image to even attempt a date night or even a girls night out! I found myself dressing differently, hiding my breasts (even to myself). Sleeping in a bra-lette to avoid seeing myself bare-chested -- without the body and boobs that I could no longer love. Tears always built up in my eyes when I was in the shower, the place where I was forced into facing reality. That's when I would allow myself to cry, far away from my two incredible daughters, Sam and Sloane. "This too shall pass," as the saying goes...and thankfully, it did!
Having this experience has impacted my life tremendously; mentally, physically, personally and professionally. After several weeks of confusion and soul searching, I began to slowly find my strength. I feel blessed for having the opportunity to recuperate quickly, be a better role model to my daughters and am now putting my renewed energies into helping others move forward from breast cancer. I realized that many other women must feel the same sense of pride as a survivor, strength of a warrior for their children, yet the same insecurity that I felt -- the lack of enthusiasm when dressing for a special occasion. Through personal experience, combined with my passion, my desire to continue to help women feel and look their very best, (even after a double mastectomy), for the first time, I am designing one-on-one, in the privacy of my NYC atelier. This brings a new meaning to comfort, happiness and positivity to a situation that was once full of anxiety, negativity and fear. Women with an illness often become panic-stricken while planning for a gala, a wedding, etc... I (unfortunately) really get it now!
I realize that we survivors can continue to look beautiful and feel sexy, without reason for panic! We don't have to cover up or raise necklines to hide cleavage on our favorite dresses and we don't have to change our sense of style, at any age under any circumstances. We are women and we know what makes us feel beautiful, so why allow anything to change that, even breast cancer? We can still be fabulous.
Be positive, be happy & live life! We are Survivors!!!!Respected and renowned designer Melanie Harris (www.melanieharrisny.com) is the proud third generation of 60-year-old couture house, Rose Taft. Started by her grandmother, Melanie is continuing the tradition of manufacturing handcrafted social occasion dresses in the USA. As a New York based fashion designer with tremendous creativity and the love of fashion, Melanie has created a couture collection coveted by women who demand quality designs that are chic and elegant, and which make a statement. Melanie Harris' focus is on a younger demographic looking to turn heads in a classic and elegant design, all produced in the Fashion Capitol of the world, New York. Originally, this collection was designed by request only for the likes of New York and Los Angeles stylists and has since drawn the attention of several specialty boutiques, charities and TV networks. Bravo's "The Real Housewives," as well as TLC's "Say Yes To The Dress," "Randy To The Rescue," and "Brides of Beverly Hills" are just a few of the outlets where the Melanie Harris brand has been featured. There is a refined elegance, yet hip feel about the Melanie Harris collection that has young Hollywood yearning to wear her dresses including Christian Serratos (Twilight) and Jana Kramer ("One Tree Hill"), Lindsey Lohan, Lara Spencer ("The Insider," "Good Morning America"), and a slew of stars from "The Real Housewives." Her designs have appeared on several commercials, including "The Today Show" fashion segment that runs in the taxicabs of NYC. Melanie's philanthropic personality has touched many organizations nationally including The Creative Coalition, Make A Wish Foundation, Pediatric Cancer Foundation and The Kellner Pediatric Liver Disease Foundation. Melanie has been honored as one of the "100 Outstanding Women of Broward County" and is proud to be included in The Women's Entrepreneurship Day at The United Nations in NYC each year. Harris generously donates a percentage of sales to the NYU Langone Cancer Center in New York where she was treated by Dr. Freya Schnabel & Dr. Nolan Karp.
New for 2016, with a fresh and more attainable approach to high end fashion, Melanie is welcoming charities, foundations and one on one appointments for custom couture and cocktails in her New York atelier. She is making the experience more exciting and pleasurable for women to select that special design for an important occasion, offering plus sizing and customization options. In addition, each month The Melanie Harris Group selects a non-profit organization and a percentage of the proceeds are graciously donated. Aside from monetary donations on behalf of Melanie Harris, dresses are lent for functions or gifted to women in need. Giving back to women is of the utmost importance to Melanie and her team. The Melanie Harris Collections are featured in Women's Wear Daily, The Ritz-Carlton Magazine, Bride's Magazine, Think Magazine, Marie Claire, OK! and Life and Style Weekly are just some of the placements you can see the collection in print.Follow Melanie Harris on Twitter: www.twitter.com/melanieharrisny