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Punch for Pink: Regaining confidence on the catwalk

Creativity and confidence were at the forefront of KAMERS/Makers’, Africa’s largest artisan pop-up market, recent show in Stellenbosch. In partnership with breast cancer organisation Reach for Recovery (RFR), the market hosted a fundraiser fashion show for breast cancer survivors to spread one message: They are here and they are confidently beautiful. By Karla de Bod

The Punch for Pink fundraiser fashion show aimed to inspire breast cancer survivors and sufferers to “punch” the disease and be reminded that they are still confidently beautiful women. Pictures and video by Karla de Bod

Setting for social good

The Punch for Pink fashion show recently took place at KAMERS/Makers’ renowned Stellenbosch venue, Blaauwklippen, where up to 30 breast cancer survivors took to the stage dressed in the latest designs of female makers. With an oak tree-lined catwalk and sunbeams for spotlights, Blaauwklippen served as the perfect setting for this fabulous fashion event with a difference.

Watch these brave women on the catwalk

“As a female-driven company, we’ve got this incredible platform and we see it as our duty to use it for as much social good as we can,” says Jeremy Doveton-Helps, brand and business development head of KAMERS/Makers. “It’s only when you open your hand to give, that your hand is open to receive.”

Confidence in femininity

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019 at 42 years old, Marli du Toit, RFR brand ambassador, was officially declared cancer-free in August 2022. Marli aims to address the importance of going for check-ups amongst younger women while helping survivors regain confidence in their femininity.

Marli du Toit, brand ambassador for breast cancer organisation Reach for Recovery, hopes to give back to breast cancer survivors and inspire them to fight the disease with positivity and optimism.
Up to 30 breast cancer survivors participated in the Punch for Pink fundraiser fashion show. “It’s all about females. Standing together, supporting each other,” says Marli.

“I wanted to take my love for beauty and design and use that to spread a message that is positive and uplifting. My message is not ‘Oh, gosh, breast cancer kills us’… It may, but we can also prevent it. That’s the message we want to spread with Punch for Pink.”

Marli has a long-term plan to reacquaint women with their feminine self after being diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing treatment. She hopes that walking on a catwalk in a “gentle environment” such as KAMERS/Makers will aid in doing so.

Surviving and thriving collectively

“To walk out on a catwalk wearing a beautiful dress makes an incredibly powerful statement about still being a present, beautiful, confident woman. There’s a real sense that they are doing it for a collective,” says Jeremy. This statement of confidence was behind KAMERS/Makers’ motivation to use the fashion show as a vehicle.

It was a very liberating day, says Sumien Warwick, who participated in the show. “Today, I feel spoiled, beautiful and like a woman again. The show really gives us a boost in self-confidence.”

Marli adds: “I want every breast cancer sufferer and survivor to look at [the models] and see that, not only have they survived breast cancer, but they are thriving. And it’s gotten them on a stage looking fabulous, feeling beautiful and telling the world: ‘We are still here. We are still fighting.’ We’ve got a mission to live and really suck the joy out of every day because we know how close we came to losing it.”