NEW YORK — As the fashion industry rallies for one of its largest annual fund-raisers to combat ovarian cancer on Saturday in Water Mill, N.Y., a generally lighthearted shopping event known as Super Saturday, the seriousness of the issue is being underscored by news that a popular designer, a pioneer in the field of activewear, is currently battling the disease.

Bonnie August, who won a Coty Award for her creations for Danskin in 1978 and who has designed under her own name for the past 20 years, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer more than six years ago and remains seriously ill, said her sister, Marilyn August. She is famous for having popularized an athletic look of the late Seventies, when Manhattan’s disco culture spilled over into streetwear, and women wore colorful stretch leotards and wraparound skirts.

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