While sifting through some emails, I stumbled onto one from a few months ago that I had to bubble back to the top of my to-write-about list. During New York City’s Lingerie Week, a brand did a runway show that was all about pregnant women and showing off bras (and matching underwear) made for them. It’s called You! Lingerie and I got designer Uyo Okebie-Eichelberger to explain where the idea came from and how it’s been received. I mean, those pictures are too fascinating not to, right?
AMSFtv: Where did the idea to start the brand come from?
Uyo Okebie-Eichelberger: When I was pregnant with my own daughter five years ago, I searched high and low for cute nursing bras and quickly realized they didn’t exist. All the options were drab and bland-colored, not to mention overpriced and looked like something a grandmother would wear. I chatted with some of my girlfriends who had recently had babies and they all felt the same way.
AMSFtv: How has the response been? Do you find pregnant women need convincing to wear lingerie?
UOE: It’s been amazing. We just celebrated four years and are sold online and in over 120 stores around the world. It resonates [with women] because they believe pregnancy is beautiful. Breast-feeding is beautiful. Why wear unflattering lingerie at a time when you need stylish ones the most? I’ve heard some women say they were not looking forward to breast-feeding because they didn’t want to wear depressing utilitarian nursing bras. You’re a mom, yes, but you are still a woman.
AMSFtv: What do you tell women who aren’t comfortable with shopping for or wearing lingerie while they’ve got a baby bump?
UOE: Not all women feel particularly sexy during pregnancy, and that’s OK. But a great reminder is that you are growing a person inside of you and that is very beautiful. Embrace your new curves. Beauty is a state of grace and not a particular look, size, or weight. Wearing pretty maternity lingerie is just one of many ways to celebrate you as a woman. You are pregnant and glowing.
AMSFtv: What design concerns did you have to think about? Is every bra a nursing style? Is the underwear different from normal styles?
UOE: With maternity and nursing bras, it’s all about fit, fit, fit. The body changes during pregnancy, and breasts are getting heavier and more sensitive, so designing a bra that’s comfy, fit greats, and provides great support is super important. All the bras are designed to fit Mom during pregnancy and after the baby is born with features like a four-hook back closure, wide straps, breathable fabric, and cups that are lined in 100 percent cotton. They’re nursing-friendly, with clips and drop-down cups for breast-feeding with one-hand access to make it easy and convenient for a mom to nurse while holding her baby. The panties are designed to fit and sit right under the baby bump during pregnancy.
AMSFtv: Are the pieces designed to be worn post-pregnancy?
UOE: Yes. With a four-hook closure, it’s made to fit comfortably on the tightest hook early in the pregnancy with the ability to adjust to the loosest hook by the last trimester and postpartum. Depending on how much a woman’s breast changes, especially after milk comes in when the baby is born, it’s not uncommon for a mother to need a new size.
Uyo also told me finding pregnant models isn’t tricky at all; she works with an agency called Expecting Models. “Thank goodness there are models who want to experience motherhood and continue to work through their pregnancy!”