By Natalie Saar
Art is drawn from some form of inspiration, but it’s not always borne of something positive. In fact, for some people, like Dana Dinerman, it can come from the most uncomfortable of places.
At just 34 years old, Dana had a lump removed from her right breast -- it was positive for breast cancer. Still trying to live her normal life, she went into two different swimwear boutiques to find something post-surgery. “I did not want to have limited options for swimwear. I was known to live in my swimsuit during the warm months of the year.” But she found nothing that worked, so instead, she founded Hulabelle swimwear.
“I decided to research what companies made swimwear for those who have had the same type of surgery as me. I also researched forums for women discussing their issues of finding swimwear. I had to find people who would help me create the line so I made phone calls and met with people from the clothing manufacturing industry. I managed to find a pattern and sample maker and that is how it all truly began.”
Dana strives for Hulabelle to be bright and highlight the best parts of life. It “reflects a colorful, beautiful vibe about life.” And it’s been important for the founder to keep this in mind as she continues fighting breast cancer as a chronic condition. Especially during a trip to London when she experienced another health setback.
“The trip to London was tough because I discovered another lump in my neck area after having chemotherapy for a few months. I came home and needed to take a break. I was not sure what was going to happen to me and I wanted to spend the time with my family. It was hard for me to stay focused on the line especially since my time was precious.”
Striving to focus on creating, Dana explains, “Since then I have been able to get past some of the physical hurdles with more effective treatment so I decided to start up my business again. It’s ok if I feel the need to take a ‘time out.’”
Now, Dana experiences everything day by day, but always keeps her focus and mission in mind. “My designs need to have a voice for someone and it doesn’t necessarily need to be for breast cancer. It can be for anyone who may need a voice.”
Runway show at RAW:San Diego presents MAGNIFY, photos by Joseph Mustin of Freebase Photos
Dana thrives on the rush of putting a collection out onto the runway and seeing the swimsuits enrich the lives of all Hulabelle supporters. They’ve even added flower crowns into the mix, not because of commercial reasons but because during the last show she wanted to add a little something extra. So she made flower crowns without any tutorials, just simply by letting her creative instincts give life to the pieces. “I allowed the path to lead me and I now have accessories.”
In the future, Dana hopes to see Hulabelle as a successful custom couture swimwear and accessories brand, to keep ahead of the curve and keep people mystified by her creations.
Some final words of inspiration from this artistic force: “This is our life. We only get one shot at it. I feel like we should be laughing each day and letting go of the nonsense issues that creep into our day. I hope to portray women who are fierce, beautiful, and vibrant. This is how we should be every day.”