A bathroom tissue dress makes a northern cancer statement

Last modified: October 2, 2021 at 3:21pm

An ensemble designed from specialized bathroom tissue by Tishna Marlowe
An ensemble designed from specialized bathroom tissue by Tishna Marlowe. Photo: Vote Couture for the Cure

Imagine receiving a roll of 10-ply bathroom tissue that’s 10 feet wide.

What would you do with it? (Try to return it to the giant who ordered it?) Tishna Marlowe turned it into a gown and slippers that are now helping to raise money for breast cancer awareness.

Marlowe, a Dene fashion designer originally from Łútsël K’é, is one of 16 people whose work appears in the Cashmere Vote Couture for the Cure contest organized by Kruger, manufacturers of Cashmere bathroom tissue.

Each designer received what Marlowe described as a 20-ft by 10-ft roll of industrial-strength bathroom tissue. Each has transformed that roll into a gown inspired by early 20th-century France.


Every vote for a contest winner, up to a $15,000 cap, raises $1 for The Canadian Cancer Society or The Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation. Kruger says voting is open until the end of October and you can vote daily.

Marlowe’s entry attempts to replicate an early design that helped, in her words, to put her “on the map” as a designer. Her concept features a bolero jacket with a hood, bathroom tissue beads, a corset top, and a ballgown skirt.


thank you Cashmere Bathroom Tissue ♬ Native Sound (Original Mix) – GoAhead

“I also made bathroom tissue slippers in honour of what’s going on in our Indigenous society, with truth and reconciliation and the graves that are being discovered,” she told Cabin Radio, referring to the ongoing search for unmarked graves of children at the sites of former residential schools and similar facilities across Canada.

Marlowe will appear in Cashmere Couture for the Cure, a CTV show that followed the contributing designers as they made their entries, on the evening of Friday, October 8. It’ll be available on Crave afterward.


“What an honour to be on the same playing field as these top-notch designers in Canada,” said Marlowe.

“I’m calling on the North to help this northern girl out because this is such an opportunity. Being Indigenous and being on these platforms is really important.”

Listen to Tishna Marlowe discuss her project on the October 1, 2021 edition of Cabin Radio’s Lunchtime News.

More: See the entries and vote


Marlowe particularly hopes she can use her contribution to highlight the discrepancy that exists between northern and southern Canada in how cancer treatment is accessed.

“My dress is in honour of the women of Łútsël K’é who are dealing with breast cancer and other forms of cancer, because they have to travel thousands of miles just for basic treatment,” she said.

“I know many women who have gone through that and I really feel for the North because, down south, the women can go get their treatment and be home. Our women have to take multiple flights – and being on chemo and all that, it must be really hard to be going in and out of airports.

“So when I made this dress, that’s who came to my heart.”