Assistant design professor creates fashion line inspired by photos of cancer cells

Ball gown collection will be used to raise money for cancer research

While cancer is ugly, it can be used to create something beautiful.

A University of British Columbia assistant professor has created a collection of ball gowns inspired by microscopic photos of cancer cells and cellular systems to get people talking about the disease, beauty and body image.

The project aims to create alternative imagery for discussions of cancer, to complement existing examples such as the pink ribbon.

"Many women who have battled cancer express a disconnect with the fashion imagery that commonly represents the disease," says Jacqueline Firkins, assistant professor in UBC's Department of Theatre and Film.

Firkins, who designed the collection of 10 dresses, dubbed the work "Fashioning Cancer: The Correlation between Destruction and Beauty."

Inspired by cellular images captured by researchers in the lab, the project seeks to create artistic imagery based on the disease itself.

"My hope is that somehow through fashion, I more closely tap into what a woman might be feeling about her body as she undergoes the disease, but simultaneously reflect a strength, beauty, and resilience," Firkins said, who will use the collection to raise money for cancer research, patients and survivors.

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