Unobra Empowers Women Embracing Post-Mastectomy Life

Photo credit: Tara Darby

Every year, 55,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer, and 14,850 undergo a mastectomy. Around 69% of these women do not have reconstructive surgery which means that the number of women that have to adjust to life with one breast increases by more than 10,00 every year.

Architect Katy Marks of Citizens Design Bureau has created Uno, a one-cup bra for women who have undergone mastectomies. After discovering that most post-surgery underwear tries to hide the asymmetry caused by the removal of a breast, Marks embarked on a journey to solve these issues.

Katy Marks found post-surgery bras too soft and not supportive enough. At the same time, the tight elastic of standard bra straps slowed the scar-healing process and exacerbated the tenderness of her skin after radiotherapy.

I had a lightbulb moment when I realized that there were thousands of other women in the same situation as me and yet I’d never seen anyone walking around with one breast

Katy Marks

After this, she started cutting up bras and sewing her own one-cup designs. Once she had had a proper idea, she took her sketches and idea to Rachel Kenyon who made beautiful versions of Marks’s designs. Marks wanted to make accessible her product to more women.

When designing the collection, Marks explained that one of the main difficulties was preventing the asymmetry from causing the bra to twist or sag on the body. At the same time, she was trying to avoid tight elastic on the band that could irritate scar tissues and tender skin following radiotherapy.


Each piece has a single cup and strap for either left or right breasts, supported by a wideband of fabric that is flat on one side and wraps around the chest.

Unobra and knicker set is made from Lenzing Modal which is made from beech tree cellulose that is spun into yarn. It requires 10-20% less water than the production of cotton. Growing beech trees is a less agriculturally intensive process because it doesn’t require irrigation and beech trees can also grow in Europe. Moreover, Unobra’s bikinis are made from yarn spun from 100% regenerated nylon made from pre- and post-consumer waste materials, including ocean plastics.

Unobra features asymmetrical bras and swimsuits in a range of colours. They are produced in small batches to reduce unnecessary waste.