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Tamara Mellon will not design pink shoes for Breast Cancer Awareness

October 20, 2017

Tamara Mellon's breast cancer call to action. Image credit: Tamara Mellon


Footwear designer Tamara Mellon is taking a stance on the creation of pink products meant to raise awareness for breast cancer.

In an email blast sent out on Oct. 20, also National Mammography Day, Tamara Mellon emailed fans of her brand with a headline reading, “Why I’m not doing a pink shoe for breast cancer awareness.” There has been considerable discussion on if the October trend of wearing and promoting pink products, which benefit a slew of breast cancer-related nonprofits, actually raises true awareness and increases early detection, with many feeling it should be an all-year effort rather than a 31-day campaign.

Anti-pink shoe
Within Tamara Mellon’s email on Oct. 20, a woman is shown wrapping her arms around her chest in black-and-white. Text overlay reads “Take Action” and below a small paragraph explains that on National Mammography Day, Tamara Mellon will donate 100 percent of proceeds to the Dubin Breast Center of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

Instead of linking the charitable donation to a single product or those available in pink, Tamara Mellon’s pledge is applied to all purchases.

The brand’s email also includes a statement from its namesake footwear designer.

“October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but I didn’t design a pink shoe for a reason,” she said. “I wholly respect any brand that supports women’s health, but when I thought about what I wanted to accomplish most by celebrating breast cancer awareness, it was action.

“That’s why I’m donating 100 percent of today’s proceeds to the Dubin Breast Center.”

Tamara Mellon's call to take action for breast cancer awareness on Oct. 20. Image credit: Tamara Mellon

On Instagram, Ms. Mellon expanded on her thoughts, saying, "You may have noticed along with my #BCA initiative, I didn't design a pink shoe, and I did that for a reason. I believe women are more interested in taking action rather than just 'showing,' though I still respect any brand doing anything for this month. And that's regardless if pink is involved or not.

"When I think about how to speak up and own my voice in terms of #BreastCancerAwareness and women's health at large, I knew it started with action," she said. "Donating 100 percent of today's proceeds will grant access to treatments of women at the Dubin Breast Center of Mount Sinai. To me, that's immediate action. You are a part of that movement."

Ms. Mellon selected the Dubin Breast Cancer due to its care and services for all patients, regardless of their insurance status. The Dubin Breast Center was established in 2010 by Dr. Eva Dubin and her husband Glenn. Ms. Dubin, a breast cancer survivor is a personal friend of Ms. Mellon.

To further promote her call to action, Ms. Mellon will take over Hearst-owned Marie Claire magazine's Instagram Stories to share more about her pledge.

Similarly, Kering-owned Stella McCartney sells a limited-edition Ophelia Whistling lingerie set in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Proceeds from the set support the Memorial Sloan Kettering Breast Examination Center of Harlem (BECH) and The Linda McCartney Center in Liverpool, established in honor of Ms. McCartney’s mother who died of the disease in 1998.

Available at all times, Stella McCartney also retails the Louise Listening bra for women recovering from double mastectomy surgery due to Ms. McCartney’s personal association and advocacy for breast cancer awareness (see story).