Cathy Martin, Director of West Coast Cooler Belfast FASHIONWEEK, is a passionate campaigner for Breast Cancer Awareness and regularly hosts a special event in support of Action Cancer.
Cathy speaks to Belfast News Letter to tell us all about the special Style Sunday event held in support of Action Cancer, and why it is vital to think pink this October.
“Style Sunday is one of our flagship events at FASHIONWEEK,” Cathy explains.
“We always close the season with this, as it is our more relaxed and ‘grown up’ fashion show which features a four course fashion luncheon and style and beauty sessions in between courses.
“In the past we’ve hosted it at Cayenne, Deanes, Coco and SHU, but this season we are back at James Street South - one of most popular venues for the event.
“It will take place on Sunday, October 29 from 2-5pm and it costs £45 per person. We supported Mencap for 10 years and 20 seasons but then moved to Action Cancer’s breast cancer awareness campaign as my mother was suffering from breast cancer at the time (and later passed away from the disease, in July 2016).
“Money raised on the day goes directly to Action Cancer’s breast screening services, which allow women aged between 40-49 and 70+ to have a free mammogram at their HQ on Malone Road, or on one of the mobile screening units which travel throughout Northern Ireland.”
The four course luncheon also includes runway shows and makeup tips from from popular beauty brand Illamasqua.
“My mum didn’t lose her hair when going through chemo and radiotherapy but many women do,” Cathy tells us.
“Having worked as a stylist to women who’ve suffered from breast cancer, many ladies also have various body issues after mastectomies - everything from feeling a loss of femininity to dealing with ‘ugly’ scars and just the sheer overwhelming exhaustion of dealing with such a debilitating disease.
“Something else that I found out working with breast cancer patients is that many people’s partners find it difficult to deal with the disease, or caring for a sick loved one, so on top of coping with illness, a lot of women also have to deal with break ups and the emotional effects of lost love too - it is just awful and not something that a bit of lippy and a haircut can solve.
“Having said that, a little boost of self-confidence and esteem can work wonders as part of a kick start to feeling normal again. It’s not a cure-all by any means, but my experience is that having a makeover can help, even just a teeny bit.
“Healing starts from the inside and a little bit of happiness helps with health, so boosting women’s physical appearance and inner confidence is a good thing,” Cathy adds.
“On the day, at Style Sunday, make up artist Paddy McGurgan will give tips on skincare and make up using our make up partner Illamasqua products, and we also show fashion, this season it will be from Blush Boutique on Lisburn Road. As a brand, Illamasqua is all about supporting individuality and making sure every face is acceptable in society, whatever that person’s chosen look or situation is.
“It really is a wonderful, forward-thinking brand and I am delighted they are our make up partner, along with Paddy McGurgan’s Make Up Pro stores.
“As well as Action Cancer, we also work with charity Pretty ‘n’ Pink and their goal is to help with making female breast cancer sufferers feel confident again.
“As well as all the wonderful activity they do, they produce breast check reminder cards, with tips on how to actually check your breasts and look out for signs of breast cancer.
“It’s a wonderful reminder because such a tiny and momentary check can make all the difference in spotting cancer early and making it more easily treatable.”
Style Sunday takes place on Sunday, October 29 from 2-5pm at James Street South. To book, call FASHIONWEEK on 02890421509 or go online to: belfastfashionweek.com.