Friday, May 6, 2011

Revolutionizing Motherhood

In honor of Mother's Day I am joined by Liz Lange of Liz Lange Maternity. She has become a fashion pioneer.  Ms. Lange is the only maternity clothing designer to show her work at New York Fashion Week, is author of Liz Lange’s Maternity Style: How to look fabulous during the most fashion-challenged time and her work has been covered by Entrepreneur magazine, Women’s Wear Daily, the Harvard Business Review and Fortune, who named her a “Top 10 to Watch” entrepreneur.
She shares with us how she got started designing maternity clothes:

Back in the late 1990s when I was in my 20s, my friends started to get pregnant (I myself was newly married but not yet pregnant - that came later. Today my children are 12 and 10.)
All my pregnant friends had the same complaint: they couldn't find maternity clothing that made them feel normal, pretty and in many cases professional. I had an aha moment that I could make maternity clothing that looks just like regular clothing and, if I used only stretch fabrics, I could even make it fitted unlike the hugely oversized garments which were currently on offer. I had no background in design (I went to Brown University and studied Comparative Literature) but I did have a love of fashion and a good sense of style - my first job out of college was at Vogue.

As a mom of three, I can testify to the fact that putting on a pair of beautiful maternity jeans or a fashionable winter sweater changes the way I feel about being a mom. In that moment the hardships of pregnancy can slip away and once again the self confidence I felt before I was pregnant can be restored. I feel beautiful.
It isn't just  maternity fashion that has been revolutionized in recent years, however. In fact it is the fundamental way we think about and view pregnancy.  Ms Lange goes on to say,

I firmly believed then as I do now, that pregnancy is a sexy and celebratory time in a woman's life (perhaps the most life changing) and that the clothing should reflect that.

No longer is pregnancy something to be ashamed of or covered up with shapeless clothes or to hide in the house because of. Rather it has become something to be honored and celebrated and is actively, visibly part of our lives. Finally.  Pregnancy has made its way out from underneath baggy frocks and out from behind closed doors. It has been elevated right to the forefront of our creative fashion culture and our mainstream collective conversation, and all this thanks to innovative leaders like Ms. Lange.
What does this mean for our children? It means that when they look back at their experience of mother, they won't see a woman who has compromised a piece of herself. They will see a woman who was proud of being a mom, unashamed of her body and embracing the fullness of becoming and being a mother.

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