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What's in a Name

At a glance, coKANna is the first two letters of Colleen’s first name followed by her last name, but it embodies so much more. 

  • The spiral design for the “o” represents the circle of life, healing, and change.
  • “co” is the co-existence of change and courage like cohorts in the journey of life.
  • “KAN” is emphasized for the “can” do attitude that comes from an inner strength we all possess and propels us forward one step at a time.
    Our tagline, “Courage from the Heart” comes from Colleen’s experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer and having to tell her young daughter.

    How we name our designs

    We are always inspired by the women we meet, their strength, courage, compassion, and determination. It shows up in different ways but we see it in all of them. In coming up with new designs, we always keep in mind the many women who have touched our hearts. So it makes perfect sense to name our styles after those who inspire us. The only problem is it's hard to keep up!

    The Maddison 

    Our first design is our basic all season zip front top. It is named after Colleen’s daughter, who inspires her every day with her spirit, energy, determination, curiosity, and enterprising nature. Maddi has always been a bit of an old soul and wise beyond her years, more comfortable speaking with adults than kids her own age. She is the only person who makes Colleen’s heart sing and drives her crazy at the same time, and she can’t imagine life without her. She is the reason Colleen is pursuing her creative dream. Maddi inspires her to be true to herself. And in doing so, she hopes to inspire Maddi to follow her dreams.


    Photos by Wil Orellana for a blog interview with Cindy Orellana

    The Maxine

    Maxine is the inspiration for our latest design - the reversible pull-on tank top. What drew us to Maxine is her comfort and ease with her body. She is content in her own skin. Despite having had a bilateral mastectomy, Maxine doesn’t feel the need to have reconstruction surgery. And, she doesn’t feel the need to wear prosthetic breasts either. We think that is wonderful. It’s not to say, there is anything wrong with having reconstruction surgery or wearing prostheses. It is a very personal choice. There is no right or wrong. It’s doing what feels right for you. And that is the beauty of Maxine. She is okay being flat chested. She is "living flat" and it feels right for her. It's who she is. We love that. In this world of impossible beauty ideals, it is uplifting and encouraging for all of us. We think you’ll agree that Maxine looks fabulous!

    Maxine wearing the Maxine tank top

    We love Maxine's positive spirit and calming energy. It is an honour to have her lend her name to our latest design. To learn more about Maxine, check out our blog post: Meet Maxine Valiquette

    The Claire

    Our newest design for fall/winter is our "Claire" bamboo fleece jacket. The Claire is named in honour of Claire McCaughey. Claire is a breast cancer champion, wife, mother, master gardener, Ikebana practitioner, and a self-described serious introvert, good listener, and believer that it is never too late to try something new. 

    Claire McCaughey

    These days Claire's life is busy, active and full, with her garden design business, travel, and family life. Somewhere in there, as well, she practices yoga, does Ikebana flower arranging and enjoys social time with friends. Her recent move from full-time employment to self-employment and her new-found zest for life after breast cancer, have reminded her to treasure quality time, keep things simple, look for everyday beauty, and be comfortable with herself and how she looks. She is thrilled that coKANna has named their new jacket - the Claire - after her!"

     The Jenn

    With the addition of bottoms to the coKANna collection, we were inspired to create a comfy and versatile pant. And we have the absolute privilege of naming our pant, the "Jenn", after the beautiful Jennifer Van Dusen. Jennifer is a 30-something breast cancer champion who loves her husband, fur-kids, shopping, reading, and public speaking. She started her Young and Breastless blog as a means to navigate her way through reconstruction and the long-term effects of surviving cancer. Having cancer has taught her to live each day to the fullest, to appreciate the moment, and do what she can to help others and her community. 
    Jennifer Van Dusen
    Jenn is a huge inspiration in the breast cancer community. She tirelessly donates her time and energy to charity events in support of breast cancer programs. She recently hosted Paint Nite which brought together 40 people to enjoy a night of painting, and to raise money for Rethink’s Stretch Heal Grow program.

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