Art Wear by Inspirational Warriors
Created by the bravest little humans we know –
Kids battling cancer.
“I was 26 and had just become a new mom. Devon, the sweet, brave little girl who inspired this swimsuit line, is my daughter and the most amazing person I know. As much as I like to think I was prepared for being a mom, my faith was shaken to the core when she was diagnosed with cancer right before her 2nd birthday. My heart still pounds like it’s coming out of my chest thinking about it and I can still see the surgeon’s eyes as he told me that my baby had cancer. Devon was going to need 2 1/2 years of intense chemotherapy every day and she had to start immediately if we had any chance of beating it. She went into surgery the next morning at 6:30am.
To say it wasn’t easy on us and our family is the worst sort of understatement. I devoted every moment of my time and attention to helping Devon fight her illness. And it was lonely at times. Chemotherapy severely suppresses your immune system to the point of complete isolation from family and friends and she was no different. Except she was just a baby and she needed friends and to play. But this is also where we found our passion for art and painting. On the days that Devon was feeling well, she painted anything and everything. Our bathroom, dining room and backyard became her studio spaces and she loved it!
Through all this I have learned that the hardships my family and I faced were just seasons in my life. Two years into Devon’s treatment, when one of my best friends, Noelle, and I started talking about Nono Collection and all that it could mean for helping other families in our situation, my purpose in life became crystal clear. I had been torn apart but then I was slowly put back together with bits, pieces and huge chunks of love from my family, my friends and total strangers. And if I can do that for even one person and somehow make this journey any easier for them, it will all be worth it a million times over.” – Jamie.
Designer and Co-Founder, Noelle Marchese, has over 10 years of experience in the fashion industry.
“The idea for Nono Collection came while I was living in New York City designing my women’s swim line. I was experimenting with the concept of transforming art to fabric. Jamie had reached out to me to let me know how proud she was of my success and I have always followed her story of what her family and Devon were going through with her treatments and illness. I was so incredibly impressed with how strong they both were and felt such a sincere desire to want to help. It was like a flash of light went off in my brain –
Kids. Swimsuits. Art. Charities. Give Back!
This cause is very close to my heart. Cancer is very prevalent in my family. I just want to do something that could one day have an effect on finding a cure. And I love art. I have been an artist since I was very little and love how freeing and relaxing it is to sit with some paints and brushes with a blank canvas and let your mind run wild with creativity. No matter what I had going on in my life, art cured my soul.” – Noelle
Noelle was born in Chicago (and yes, a major Bears fan!) but with a gypsy spirit has lived in Arizona, Los Angeles, New York and now South Florida for year round fun in the sun. Her early passion for design led her to earn a degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. After graduation, she built and branded several ready to wear collections including noellecouture and emilynoelle, as well as her current women’s swimsuit line, noelle. Ladies, she designs amazing one-pieces! Her designs have been sold in Anthropologie, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, and over 200 boutiques nationwide as well as retail website marvel, www.net-a-porter.com.
Raised on the beaches of Southern California, Co-Founder and Business Director, Jamie Kobza, has an especially intense passion for giving back to the childhood cancer community. A West Coast girl now living on the East Coast, she remains focused on giving back to the community that saw her through those dark days and is involved in raising money for local children’s hospitals and foundations and as well as advocating for the art community.
The Rosy Periwinkle
Nono’s flower icon is the Rosy Periwinkle, a pretty plant native to the Old World tropics of Madagascar. In the 1950’s, Rosy Periwinkle was discovered to contain two main alkaloids, Vinblastine and Vincristine, that have the unique ability to keep certain kinds of cancerous cells from reproducing. Vincristine is one of the most common chemotherapy drugs used in the treatment of childhood leukemia and has helped increase the survival rate for childhood leukemia from 10% to 95%.