PLT x Girl Vs Cancer Swim | The 411 | PLT

PLT x Girl Vs Cancer Swim

22 | 06 | 2023


Loved the GIRLvsCANCER lingerie collection? You won’t want to miss this!


Together with online collective GIRLvsCANCER, we’ve created a post-surgery friendly swimwear collection that is both comfortable and empowering while still making you look and feel good.

 This inclusive collection is designed for #EveryBodyInPLT to inspire confidence when it comes to swimwear season, whether you’ve been affected by cancer, or not.

With styles specifically created to provide more coverage for scar tissue coverage and security for breast inserts and prostheses. Straps have been made thicker and necklines and armholes higher, while all pieces have also been created in super soft fabrics that are easy and comfortable to wear. Think maximum comfort without having to compromise on style.


In today’s post we’re heading behind the scenes to learn more about the incredible women involved in the PLT x GIRLSvsCANCER campaign.


Hannah Lane, 39

“I just want to make sure that people know that there are 5 gynaecological cancers.

When I shared that I was doing this, other people with gynae cancers told me how happy they were that we were being represented and we aren’t being dismissed”.


 Clay Stripe Rib O Ring V Front Bikini Top image 1


What is your cancer diagnosis and stage?

Stage 3 lower grade ovarian cancer in 2013, with stoma bag due to spread to the abdomen. Hysterectomy, stomach, spleen, intestine surgeries.

My youngest son was 3 months old when my symptoms started, so they put it down to having a baby. Then they said it was IBS. It was massively brushed off.

At one point I mentioned ovarian cancer, I had done a google, like you do! And they said ‘no, you’re too young’. But I’m obviously not too young!


Has your diagnosis changed how you approach your style choices? Do you find it difficult to find clothing that is accessible to you?

When my hair started growing back it gave me a lot more confidence thinking, I can do what I want to it now, and have it any colour!

I make sure I wear high waisted- nothing where the band is going over the stoma because it is just uncomfortable. But luckily the fashion is for high waisted stuff at the moment. I’ll be in trouble if low waisted comes back in!

It’s been trial and error, I’ve tried loads of things. I have a pile of things I bought at different stages to try. It’s been freeing though, there were times before in summer where I really wanted to wear shorts, but I thought ‘I really don’t like my legs’ and now I’m like I might not have the perfect legs, but no one does anyway. I’m just going to wear what I want, beacause no one is bothered.


“Having a daughter who is getting to the age that she is more conscious about her body, for me it’s really important to have images out there that show her that all bodies are different and its fine to be how you are!”.


Keep up to date with Hannah on Instagram @noovariesandastoma.


Michelle Chen, 41

“We can be in bikinis and swimwear and we can feel sexy and actually like the way we look!”.


 Chocolate Padded Ruched Side Longline Bandeau Bikini Top image 1


What is your cancer diagnosis and stage?

Stage 1 breast cancer DCIS.


On the day of the shoot, the other girls were really excited but I have had a lot of body confidence issues. Eventually I got excited with them and Lauren was so so good at making me feel at ease!

Since seeing this billboard, I want to dig a hole and hide inside it because there’s a huge part of me that can’t believe that all that happened and that I had the guts to do it! The Michelle a year ago would’ve been like ha-ha funny joke, are you bloody serious? In light of everything that’s happened this year, it made me go oh f*ck it just do it!

The silver lining that cancer has given me, is perspective. Its really made me appreciate the patients that engage with people like us to improve the services.

It’s really hard to talk about your experience. So I am starting to understand now where we do the patient public engagement well and where we don’t and how we need to change. It has given me a personal mission in my hospital trust to improve things and also for our staff too!

Cancer is so common, there a people that go through treatment and go back to work and don’t talk about it… Things need to improve for them as well.


“For the focus group and looking at my old bikinis, it was the first time I actually looked at my body, my implant and my scar and thought its actually not that bad. Its okay!

The pathway to recovery is not linear its very up and down but at that moment I was proud of myself for actually overcoming that”.


You can follow Michelle on Instagram @mischka_mich.


Suzie Smith, 34

“They called me the ‘Jazzy One’ in my chemo village”.

“Fashion made me feel like me even if I didn’t have the energy to speak or show up like I would. I could still be the jazzy one even if I wasn’t the life of the party!”.


 Yellow Citrus Crinkle Scallop Edge Tie Front Triangle Bikini Top image 1


What is your cancer diagnosis and stage?

Advanced Colon Cancer (comes under Bowel Cancer umbrella) but have been hopefully all-clear since January 2023.


Has your diagnosis changed how you approach your style choices?

No, if anything my style choices got even better and more ridiculous – they called me the ‘Jazzy One’ in my chemo village because of my gold cowboy boots and the Carrie Bradshaw of my surgical ward (I wore a huge red hat leaving my first op!)

Fashion was my armour throughout my treatment and gave me the power to hold onto my identity and sense of self when everything around me was crumbling. The first thing I did when I got diagnosed was went and bought a bright red matching suit for my first scan, I then made sure that I had a new outfit for every appointment. I also wore a suit to every chemo infusion as it made me feel powerful; that I wasn’t just a number, it made me feel like I had a bit of control and helped me to be able to show up as Suzie, even when that was really hard.

When I got diagnosed, I focused on what I could control and for me that’s how I showed up. And fashion for me has been something I have used to explain who I am without words. I feel brighter and more excited when I feel great and that expression is fashion. When something like cancer happens in your 30s, everything feels completely out of your control. Your body changes, your emotions, you have no idea how you are going to wake up in the morning, you have no idea what is coming. But what I knew was that I could feel good and step into rooms a little bit more like Suzie.

It was a choice between depression and finding light and sometimes that was putting on a bit of makeup and a great outfit and seeing my friends. Even though I was feeling awful, if I was presenting it almost felt like I could be part of the world, that’s why I speak about fashion as my armour, I really mean that. It helped me keep my identity. In a suit I feel powerful!
Particularly when I was getting chemo, they are pretty dreary rooms to be in, not many people were my own age. So if I was able to wear something that was bright and unique, 1) I felt like a person in that room, not just a number and 2) it made me feel like me even if I didn’t have the energy to speak or show up like I would. I could still be the jazzy one even if I wasn’t the life of the party! It spoke for me when I wasn’t able to speak for myself.

It always shocked the security guards at the hospital that I was coming in for treatment- and that was a ping of excitement for me that I was able to look ok.

During radiation I would wear matching underwear, because its so vulnerable so if I could wear something that was still sexy and fun- that’s still a bit of me even in my rawest state!


Do you find it difficult to find clothing that is accessible to you?

As part of my treatment plan I had a Stoma Bag for 9 months and from the very beginning I decided that my fashion choices were not changing and that I was going to make the bag work for me. I also decided that no part of my life was going to stop, which included swimming. I swam a lot throughout my treatment plan as it helped me escape, feel strong and helped support my mental health.

Of course, I had to make changes for the bag, particularly when it came to swimwear. I bought pieces that had strategic cut outs to hide my bag and high waisted bikini bottoms so I still felt sexy but also comfortable. All things we made sure are part of this incredible PLT campaign.

Even with a stoma bag I had micro-adjustments so I could still wear what I wanted to wear! We are allowed to feel good!

I felt my most comfortable with the stoma when I was in something that was comfortable and secure. I wasn’t ashamed of it but felt better when it was hidden. Sometimes you just don’t want to have to answer questions about cancer.


“Fashion spoke for me when I wasn’t able to speak for myself”.


Keep up to date with Hannah on Instagram here.


Jodie, 33

“I hope someday someone who looks like me will look at these photos and think well its okay to talk about cancer”.


 Coral Slinky Chiffon Short Beach Kimono image 1


What is your cancer diagnosis and stage?

Stage 2 breast cancer with mastectomy.


How did you feel wearing items from GVC x PLT SWIM range?

The shoot really helped me seeing people that look like me. There were some really amazing women there! Their attitude to life was phenomenal and got me thinking that I’m not alone and there a people out there just like me with the same insecurities and life is too short to be thinking about those things. I now focus my energy on doing things I enjoy. But it was definitely a journey, I don’t think I got to this self-acceptance phase right away.


How did it feel being a model for the day and representing inclusive fashion?

It felt liberating to be that person representing the cancer community and the South Asian community. The quality of treatment I had was exemplarily but there were certain things that happened to me throughout my treatment that I wondered if it just happened to people of colour. I am a pharmacologist and work with pharmaceuticals and when I would look at evidence of some of the things that were happening to me, they were all based on Caucasians or people from one country. So, I found myself turning to certain groups on social media that were aimed at black people, as I couldn’t find things that were aimed at people like me. I found things on that group that were happening to me.

I had a very extreme reaction to chemo, my skin completely peeled off and came back like it was covered in soot, and I didn’t even recognise myself. They said it was just a rash and it would go away- and it didn’t! I paid money to get a really intense chemical peel to get it off! I wondered does this only happen to people of colour? Speaking to others, I found out it had happened to other people who were black. It made me wonder, how many more things are happening to us? I have done work representing breast cancer in the South Asian community, there were women saying it is taboo to talk about cancer, there’s not even a word in Punjabi for the word breast – they say chest. They don’t want to get checked, there’s something shameful about having breast cancer. Many cancer leaflets have a lot of white people in it. For me I hope someday someone who looks like me will look at these photos and think well its okay to talk about cancer! I will remember this for the rest of my life.

Going back to representation, for cultural and religious reasons, I didn’t feel comfortable showing my whole body in the bikini. So I asked if there was something more conservative I could wear and I only asked once and Lauren was incredibly respectful. I said to her ‘thank you’ and she said ‘why would you say yes when it’s a basic human right’ and I found that a really powerful moment. There were people coming up to me during the shoot covering up the bits I didn’t want on show and that was hugely, hugely commendable and GVC and PLT need to be commended on that.

I don’t know any clothes line or charity that does this. I told someone I went to a PLT shoot and told them this and they couldn’t believe it! It wasn’t a tick box exercise. These guys made it happen, fully!


“I am trying to accept that I am not the person I used to be and I shouldn’t try to be that person. I should try to embrace who I am now”.


You can follow Jodie on Instagram here.


Lorienne Yap, 53

“It’s made my year, it’s been one of the best things that’s happened to me in my cancer experience”.


 Cornflower Blue Ruched One Shoulder Cut Out Swimsuit image 1


What is your cancer diagnosis and stage?

Bowel cancer, stage 4 with liver mets.


What is something you love about the GVC community?

Lauren is a force of life! I love Lauren, I love her driving force. The absolute passion she injects into everything she does. The energy! I don’t know how she keeps it up!

You can’t be around her and not be buzzing with enthusiasm for whatever she is doing. She’s really really really driven! GVC is different to other cancer charities, its got Laurens personality- its quirky, modern, it’s very positive and has a vibe about it that’s different. Its not sad stories its like ‘yeah, c’mon you can do this’. Like she said, its not a pity party, its so much more.

That energy rubs off to the community! Having that amount of energy and power can only do good. She’s not afraid to say what the reality is! She raises awareness in a original way, and that’s great because cancer doesn’t always have to be doom and gloom.


How did it feel being a model for the day and representing inclusive fashion?

Well I didn’t think I would have such an opportunity! I am 53, I didn’t think I would model anything or anyone would want me too. Especially swimwear with my lumps and bumps!

It was an extremely special day and surpassed all expectations. I felt really privileged to be representing the community.


Even people who have the same cancer have very individual cancers…. So, when we were chatting at the photoshoot and focus group we were learning things about each other that we didn’t know about our own cancers.

The clothing side of things really hasn’t been looked into, we experience such different types of issues with our bodies before and after cancer.

I’ve been so excited about his campaign, it has really given me quite a lot of confidence. The shoot day was incredible, I have never done anything like that before, I’ve never even had my makeup done before. Just to have that experience with the other girls, we were made to feel like film stars!

I have stage 4 cancer, it is quite amazing that I’m still alive so to be able to get to this point and do something like this is really special.

I don’t talk about my story much, I keep it very private, that’s how I have dealt with it so this is the first time that I have really done anything with cancer charities.

I was really encouraged by my friends and partner to do this. I had had a few wobbles about my body but after the shoot on my holiday, I felt amazing by the pool. I think this is probably the most confident I have ever felt in swimwear, before or after cancer!

PrettyLittleThing have managed to combine really gorgeous costumes with some really practical thoughts gone into them like to allow colostomy bags to be covered, to allow straps to be used, lovely cover ups, lovely little skirts.

PLT is such a huge empire and yet it felt extremely personal working with them. We weren’t just a group, we were individuals. The girls at PLT have been amazing, constant communication! I don’t know how they do it all. I felt very loved and very pampered. Unbelievable, it doesn’t really sink in!

IT HAS MADE MY YEAR! & has been one of the best things that’s happened to me in my cancer experience.

The experience has made me think maybe I can do more to raise awareness and not hide away from it. I come from the Isle of Man maybe I should do something over there. Their bowel cancer community is very hush hush. This has given me more confidence to do more with charity work.


“Showing off my battle scars looking fabulous”.


Maria Dawson, 31

“With my diagnosis, I was turned away three times, I had to push really hard to be taking seriously”.


What is your cancer diagnosis and stage?

Stage 1 breast cancer, I was diagnosed when I was 30.


Coral Crinkle Scallop Edge Tie Side Bikini Bottoms image 1


Has your diagnosis changed how you approach your style choices? Do you find it difficult to find clothing that is accessible to you?

100% and that’s why this campaign really resonated with me. When you are diagnosed with cancer at such a young age you don’t realise how much it will impact you, I could consider the obvious things, but I didn’t know how much it would affect my confidence. I ended up ordering a load of things that weren’t me – loads of baggy things to totally cover me up.

I totally changed the way I dressed for a whole year. I have a great big 20cm scar, and chest wise things don’t look the same anymore. So, my confidence hit rock bottom. I very much felt like I couldn’t dress the same. At one point I thought I wouldn’t wear a bikini again.

After my radiotherapy, I’m on my long-term treatment and I wore this little top I used to wear and one of my friends messaged me and said, ‘you look like the old you again’ and that really boosted my confidence! As soon as I seen the campaign, I thought I need to be part of that!


What clothing would you love to see them design next?

For me its about the style and comfort. I want to wear the same things I wore before and the same things my friends are wearing. But when you try and squeeze into some of these little tops and you’ve had a load of surgery and all this scar tissue! Even now, 3months post-surgery- it still hurts like hell.

I want things that are things that are up-to-date and still these little tops but are more comfortable and easier to get on. Maybe its that they have zips in the right places! You tend to go for big baggy things because its comfortable, but that’s not me!

I was 30 and I felt like I was forced to be frumpier than I wanted to me. You lose a big part of your identity. I was so determined for it not to define me, and I’m so much more than that. Getting cancer at any age is rubbish, but especially when you’re younger its awful and you really want to minimise the impact it has on your life.

The campaign inspired me to embrace my body, and everyone should do that and wear the things they want to wear!


“I am going to get the picture under the billboard like Molly-Mae did!”.



Keep up to date with Maria on Instagram @mariadawson.


Maryrose, 38

“I am more confident now with a stoma bag than I have ever been before cancer, and I never thought I would say that”.


 Chocolate Padded One Shoulder Cut Out Tie Waist Swimsuit image 1


What is your cancer diagnosis and stage?

Bowel cancer in 2012 and then a reoccurrence in 2020 when I got my ileostomy bag but I am free of treatment since 2020.


Has your diagnosis changed how you approach your style choices? Do you find it difficult to find clothing that is accessible to you?

At the start the stoma was one of my main concerns, I had an emergency surgery and didn’t know I was waking up with a stoma and I didn’t know what to wear. But now I am at the stage of embracing my stoma, I will wear anything!

That said, its always hard to find swimwear that start well over or under my stoma so there’s not too much compression and has support but also doesn’t rub under it. So, you do have to make adjustments as not everything will be okay for it.

I joined the focus group by zoom and I was able to give a perspective from later on in the journey. I have been on a couple of holidays, so I was able to really give ideas forward. To actually have people listen and see the end product was amazing!

The first time I went on holiday I wanted to have my stoma completely covered but they would be compressing it. Then my second year I wanted to have it out and wear a nice bikini but the too low ones would rub against it.


How did you feel wearing items from GVC x PLT SWIM range?

You want to still have the beautiful swim sets and still wear what everyone else can wear and have the style element. I think this range has definitely done that.

If you want to have your stoma covered up you can use the coverups and still feel sexy and beautiful and like everyone else. This range means you can have the mix of covering the stoma or not and feeling comfortable.

As the journey changes your confidence might change so you have the options- you can have it out in the morning and covered in the afternoon. Or if the bag fills you can have it covered when going to the bathroom. We all felt really beautiful, it was surreal!

You might have to get a bikini bottom from one place and a top from another- so being able to choose a bikini just for how it looks is amazing!


What was your favourite piece and why?

That’s a hard one! As even the ones I didn’t wear but the other girls did, I was thinking- I want that one and that one!

In the one piece I wore, I felt beautiful in it! It was so flattering.

It had that tie option so if your at the pool and the bag expands you can tie it in a way to hide that! It was an extra security blanket.


“Being content is having that weight lifted off about what people think of you”.


You can follow Mayrose on Instagram here.






Here’s to giving cancer the middle finger!

PLT will be donating 100% of proceeds from this collection, (proceeds being the sale price of the product paid by the customer, less product cost price and VAT) to GirlVsCancer.


Shop GIRLvsCANCER Swimwear

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