STYLE

Two Double-Mastectomy Survivors Walked Topless At Rainbow Fashion Week For A Brilliant Reason

02/07/2015 12:43 BST | Updated 02/07/2015 12:59 BST

When genderless lingerie company Play Out did a photoshoot featuring breast cancer survivors as models, the Internet saluted their incredible awareness movement.

And now they've done it again, but this time on the catwalk.

The stars of their campaign, cancer survivors Emily Jensen and Melanie Testa who had double-mastectomies without reconstruction, modelled the brand's underwear on the runway at Rainbow Fashion Week, a weeklong event that's part of NYC pride.

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Abby Sugar, co-founder of Play Out, told Mashable that the point of the show was to challenge gender norms and empower people of all bodies. She said she also hoped to spread awareness about “flattoppers,” or women who have undergone mastectomies and have chosen to remain flat-chested.

"We wanted to … show that you can be yourself, no matter your gender presentation or after a cancer diagnosis,” she said.

"It's underwear, no matter your gender presentation or sexual orientation (gay, straight, bi, pan, etc.), we should all be able to wear whatever underwear makes us feel sexy and affirms our sense of self.”

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Earlier this year, Play Out released a powerful photo campaign featuring double-mastectomy survivors.

Both Jensen, founder of Flattopper Pride, an organization that supports LGBTQ breast cancer survivors, and Testa took part in the series. They said at the time that they hoped the campaign would serve to empower other survivors.

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Models Emily Jenson (left) and Jodi Jaecks (right) in Play Out's photo campaign

"Living in a society that does not reflect the image of my body [type] -- breast-less, scarred, affected by cancer -- has great consequence and influence to those who are newly diagnosed," Jensen told HuffPost in May.

"Not all women choose reconstruction or feel that it will make them whole again; some feel quite whole without breasts and without the need to wear breast forms. I choose to embrace my body as is and blithely proceed with grace and dignity.

"My hope is that other women will see these images in their time of need and that they will feel empowered and informed about flat reconstruction as one option among many."

PLAY OUT Double Mastectomy Campaign

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