This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Keep A Breast Foundation and, to mark the occasion, HUF has teamed up with the endeavor to raise money for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. With an emphasis on both arts and culture, KAB’s innovative and engaging DIY approach have allowed the youth-focused, global non-profit to provide support for young people impacted by cancer, as well as educate about prevention, detection and the toxins in our everyday environment that lead to the diseases. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, HUF is donating 100% of the proceeds from its collaborative Classic Hi, Plantlife Socks, and Thigh High Socks to the foundation throughout the month of October.
For more info, check out HUF’s interview with KAB founder Shaney Jo Darden below and look for the collection now at HUF’s Los Angeles flagship and the brand’s web store.
This year is the 15th year anniversary of Keep A Breast. Can you tell us about the early days and what it’s like now?
Since our inception 15 years ago, Keep A Breast has made connections with younger generations about breast health through music, art, skate and surf culture. We meet young people where they are, try to take the stigma out of the language and empower them with the education to make the best personal choices. In many ways, we’re still the same. Keep A Breast exists because we are called by our community to show up and do what we do and we still work with many of the same friends and supporters that we always have. In the early days, I had a full time job as a denim designer working for brands like DC Shoes, Sole Technology and Toy Machine while running Keep A Breast in my free time from my garage. At that time, our focus was totally on the art of our breast casts. I casted all my friends and many of the professional surfers and snowboarders, and then had all the skate artists paint them – we had exhibitions in New York, San Francisco, San Diego and Biarritz. These days, we have grown so much and I could not be more excited for the future. We have affiliate locations in France, UK, Canada, Japan and Chile and have expanded our original breast cast exhibitions into educational programs on how to lower your risk of breast cancer and on creating artist programs to support survivors.
For the past three years KAB has partnered with HUF for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, how did the collaboration with HUF come about?
Our partnership with HUF came about very organically. I had known Keith – HUF’s founder – for a while, and he had the idea to do a sock to support Keep A Breast in the month of October. What makes this partnership so unique is that HUF actually donates back 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the socks. That’s pretty rare and special and should give you a little glimpse into what true philanthropy is all about. HUF CARES.
The Keep A Breast artist collaboration breast casts have been exhibited around the world, and you’ve worked with some really incredible artists. Did you ever imagine the first time you cast a woman’s boobies that this project would grow to such an incredible platform?
I cast ALL the boobies! It’s actually crazy to think that, over the past fifteen years, I’ve made breast casts of at least 1,500 women all over the world including musicians, athletes, models, derby girls and survivors. One of my favorite casts is of a young survivor named Hayley. She used to work for Obey and was actually diagnosed with breast cancer while she was working on a collaboration for us. Shepard Fairey painted her cast and it will always be such a powerful icon of love, support and survivorship. My favorite exhibition we’ve ever done was in San Francisco. It was curated and photographed by Desiree Astorga and the castee’s were all women in skateboarding including Robin Fleming, Amy Gunther, Elissa Steamer and Jen O’Brien painted by Craig Stecyk, Ed Templeton, Mark Gonzales, Dalek, and Wes Humpston. That exhibition was so cool and special because it was for my people. I came from the world of skateboarding and it always feels good to give back and raise awareness for your own community.
What are the primary takeaways of Keep A Breast in terms of awareness and prevention?
LOVE YOUR BOOBIES! Seriously. We always come from a place of love and want to inspire young people to be their own health advocates. We have a great, free app called Check Yourself! that you and your girlfriends can download. You can set an automatic reminder to do your breast self-check and help prevent breast cancer. As we look back on the progress that we’ve made since our early years, we want to take the time to celebrate the conversations that young people have sparked in their communities about the importance of being your own health advocate. It’s conversation like these that help shed light on this deadly disease.