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Houston designer reveals haute new accessories for breast cancer awareness

Houston designer reveals new accessories for breast cancer awareness

David Peck Susan G Komen clutch
The two limited-edition accessories are embellished with the French phrase, “Je suis femme,” or, “I am woman.”  Photo courtesy of David Peck

Esteemed Houston ready-to-wear designer David Peck is celebrating a newly formed partnership with Susan G. Komen Houston by unveiling limited-edition accessories for the 2019 Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign.

As part of his ongoing commitment to the fight against breast cancer, the designer has created two limited-edition accessories, each embellished with the French phrase, “Je suis femme,” translating to “I am woman.” 

Available for pre-order on ShopDavidPeck.com and at select retailers throughout Houston, these limited-edition items will be available October 1.

Peck tells CultureMap he wanted to include a mantra on the accessories that would help women not feel ashamed of their diagnosis.

“And, it sounds better in French, honestly,” Peck says. “There’s femininity to it and also strength.”

Peck aimed to bring together “all the feelings together on something that people can carry, especially the canvas pouch, which can be used as a makeup bag or something you can throw inside a larger bag; something that [women] can carry with them rather easily.”

A cotton canvas zippered pouch ($85) features a tri-color pink racing stripe and a pink ribbon on the zipper pull — a symbol that has become synonymous with breast cancer awareness.

A transparent dusty rose acrylic box clutch ($195) features a removable zippered insert and gold hardware that is not only detachable but also adjustable, seamlessly converting to a crossbody or shoulder bag. (And, it accommodates an iPhone X).

“The idea for the evening clutch is there’s no reason why you can’t still be feminine, get dressed up, go out for a night, and have fun, even with a diagnosis,” says Peck.

Peck’s timing is apropos, with October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month right around the corner. One in eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2019, the American Cancer Society estimates about 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 62,930 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.

Today, technology has drastically improved with effective diagnostic imaging, and women are more likely to perform breast self-examinations; however, there are numerous uninsured and underinsured women who don’t have access to yearly mammograms.

“For me, to think about where women are in history, there’s a lot of empowerment in women taking ownership of their bodies and being confident in their power, [Je suis femme] seemed to encapsulate it in a more romantic and lyrical way,” Peck says.

For every two lucite box clutches or five canvas pouches sold, Komen Houston can provide a mammogram for uninsured and underinsured women.

“This was an important part of doing [this partnership],” says Peck. “I didn’t want to have a percentage of sales goes back [to Komen Houston], I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, especially women who are underserved.”

Kristen Barley, senior development director at Susan G. Komen Houston, notes that a typical mammogram can cost $150-$200, and a lot of women and men in the city of Houston don’t have access to that financial support if they’re uninsured or underinsured.

“We work with groups, like The Rose, that provide those mammograms,” says Barley.

While he’s known for his custom gowns for galas and weddings, Peck has also designed custom clutches for Heroes for Children’s annual Heroes and Handbags Brunch. This past summer, the brand began experimenting and developing accessories, specifically custom clutches for the many brides he has dressed. “They make great gifts for bridesmaids,” he says.

So, when Peck and Komen Houston sat down to collaborate, designing a scarf didn’t speak to him. “I wanted something practical; something that could be used daily, especially the canvas pouch, you can travel with it, take it to the hospital or treatment,” Peck says.

The designer also wanted to create something universal. “There’s no size, it fits everybody,” he says. “That was really important [when designing]; I wanted something inclusive without worrying if a garment fit properly or a scarf was somebody’s style.”