Founder: Laurel Kamen
The idea for Alloro Collection (allorocollection.com) came to Laurel Kamen the night before her mastectomy. She didn’t want to wear only baggy tees and men’s shirts afterward. “I thought, a couple hundred thousand women a year get cancer. Why wouldn’t you have beautiful clothes for them to recover in?” says Kamen, who lives in New York City and Washington, D.C.
She recruited friend Christine Irvin and cousin Roedean Landeaux, a fashion designer, to help her create sophisticated, work-appropriate blouses. Kamen devised a list of 20 cancer-specific design elements, like using snaps instead of buttons. Even the handbags, she says, are “as light as a bottle of perfume” so women can lift them post-surgery.
In March 2013, Kamen launched Alloro, the Italian word for “laurel” and a symbol of victory. She wants her company to make as much of a difference to other women as it’s made to her. She says, “Being able to focus on the new business, to dream about it, to start to put it together helped me recover.”