Designer Interviews: Lorna Drew Maternity Lingerie
Today's Designer Interview is with Lorna of Lorna Drew Maternity Lingerie.I first met Lorna nearly six months ago at the Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris, and I have not been able to get her line out of my mind. She has one of the most exciting developments I've ever seen in maternity lingerie --- a 'responsive' bra that adjusts to fit and support a Mom's breasts both before and after breastfeeding. In this interview, we talk about what makes Lorna Drew different from the other maternity lines already available, how Lorna Drew supports the breastfeeding movement, and, of course, where you can buy her bras.
1) TLA: When I first encountered your brand at this year's Paris Salon International de la Lingerie, I was blown away at your innovative ideas for maternity lingerie... ideas that seemed so obvious and so simple yet that no else had thought of before. What made you want to start a lingerie line? And how is Lorna Drew different from the other maternity and nursing bras out there?
Lorna: I always wanted to have my own lingerie business. I studied at DeMontfort University before winning a design completion and designing for Ann Summers which lead to my first Lingerie design job. From then I worked with Topshop, and La Senza. During this time my Sister had her first baby it was then that I first realised that there was a problem with breastfeeding and that the nursing bras on the market just were not working effectively to solve the problem of fluctuating size.
I then had to work out if this fluctuating in size was a problem all women or just a couple. I got involved with breastfeeding organisations, midwives, breastfeeding groups and parenting forums. I wanted to find out if this was a real problem and what solutions where available.
What I found was a real problem with fitting and selling bras to women whose bodies are undergoing so much change. You could fit a nursing Mother in a bra and the following week the bra wouldn't fit her. Bra fitters worldwide had a real problem, and mothers worldwide where calling out for a solution. I remember reading a comment on Mums Net about nursing bras and it was just a list 30 pages long of comments on how nursing bras are just not fit for purpose, one woman actually wrote that she wished there was a nursing bra that could change in cup size to accommodate the change is size from feed to feed.
It was at this point I knew that I was working on something worthwhile that could genuinely improve that breastfeeding experience for Mothers, I began wearer trials and carried on testing the product and improving the product over four years before we launched in January 2012.
Six years ago I knew nothing of breastfeeding, now I give lectures to Midwives and heath care professionals becoming somewhat of a breastfeeding expert.
2) TLA: If I remember correctly, you photograph all the models in your shoots with their children. What made you go in that direction for your marketing and advertising campaigns?
Lorna: Lorna Drew is all about the bond between Mother and Child. Our bras are designed and sold to breastfeeding mothers so why not photograph them on real breastfeeding mothers with their babies? To me it makes sense, Lorna Drew Nursing Lingerie is all about the bond between Mother and Child which is one of the main reasons Mothers chose to breastfeed and I feel it something that should be celebrated.
3) TLA: What kind of response have you gotten from women who've tried Lorna Drew for the first time? What about from retailers and other industry professionals who've seen it for the first time?
Lorna: People say "that's clever" and "what a good idea." Everyone is always excited about our lingerie because its innovative in a way that's very easy to see and show to people. There's no jargon, it's just a simple solution to a common problem that had previously been ignored by other lingerie brands.
4) TLA: We all know a woman's breasts undergo a lot of changes related to pregnancy and nursing. How does bra fit change during that time, and, generally speaking, what should a new Mom look for in a pregnancy or nursing bra?
Lorna: What Moms will notice is a feeling of tightening and hardening of the breasts; as the milk comes in the breast will get bigger and this will show most on the neckline of your bra. If possible buy a bra with stretch in the neckline of the bra. This will insure the bra doesn't dig in so much between feeds.
5) TLA: Last year, the New York Times published an article about attractive nursing bras that got a lot of backlash from women who felt pretty lingerie over sexualized the breast during nursing. What are your thoughts on this?
Lorna: My thoughts are that it's not pretty lingerie that offends women but the way that brand choses to sell its product, using its over sexualised campaigns and language that offends women simply because in my belief nursing lingerie is not and should not be purchased for the benefit of a man.
All our lingerie is designed from a mother's view point, and unlike any other breastfeeding lingerie brand we focus on fashion and trends to lead our styling and colour options. Lorna Drew Nursing Lingerie focuses on the mother's sense of self, her personality, her style, and her confidence to inspire our design and our companies.
6) TLA: In the US, women often face censure or even outright harrassment for nursing in public, and many women are told to feed their babies in the bathroom or in other out-of-the-way places. How do you feel about this, and is breastfeeding culture different in the UK? ( For the record, I'm pro-breastfeeding, and I believe women have the right to feed their babies wherever those babies happen to be hungry.)
Lorna: Treacle I totally agree with you and I feel your previous question (5) has some relevance to this. Breasts are so oversexualised in western society that we forget that we have them for a purpose other than sex. I feel so sad that such a progressive country like the US could allow Moms to be treated with such ignorant views of prejudice. I don't understand how a Mom providing the best nutritional start in life for her baby could warrant such harassment.
My feeling is that any women brave enough to breastfeed their baby on demand is a hero and should be applauded.
The UK is fairly tolerant, but not as relaxed as the rest of Europe. In 2010 a law was passed by the government that stated it is illegal to ask a women to stop breastfeeding in a public place. This law was seen as popular and in my mind well overdue.
However this law doesn't protect breastfeeding mothers from other forms of protest such as staring, and making comments like "Do you have to do that here?" of course Mothers can say "Yes, I do actually!" but it's still a way of discrimination. And this is why I felt we should start the "We Support Breastfeeding" Campaign.
7) TLA: Tell us more about the "We Support Breastfeeding" campaign. How is Lorna Drew getting involved when it comes to the conversation on breast feeding?
Lorna: The "We Support Breastfeeding" campaign is an initiative I started originally to support breastfeeding women in my local community. I was in a coffee house one day and took a look at their notice board, and saw that there was a flyer for a mother and baby meeting that met in the coffee house every Tuesday morning. I asked to speak to the manger there and then and asked him what he thought of the mother and baby group that came in, and if they breastfed their babies and how he felt about it. He said "The group coming in is great business, I wish I had more mums coming in we have more female customers over the day than male, so it's great for us!"
So I had an idea, I would create a "We support Breastfeeding" sign for coffee shop windows, the sign would work in three ways.
1) It assures a breastfeeding mother that establishment in question is breastfeeding friendly which gives her the confidence in public environments to breastfeed.
2) It helps with public awareness of breastfeeding, therefore removes the element of surprise from the public's mind, and reducing prejudice.
3) It shows all customers that this business supports women who wish to breastfeed. And it promotes their business as welcoming and inclusive to all Mothers. As the manager of the coffee house had explained to me he would like to encourage more mommy and baby groups to his coffee house. So the sign could boost his business.
So my plan was in motion, I put my first "We Support Breastfeeding" in that coffee house.
Now we have "We Support Breastfeeding" in shop windows, restaurants, library, coffee shops, Tea Rooms all over the UK.
For Lorna Drew Nursing Lingerie it's just another way of supporting our customers though their breastfeeding experience.
8) TLA: Any final thoughts or things you'd like to say? (Or sneak peeks of upcoming lines or shoots?)
Lorna: Oh yes I have a very exciting exclusive for you! I've not mentioned this to anyone yet. ;-)
We have a brand new innovation on the way for breast feeding Mums that like wired bras. In January we are launching our "Secret Nursing Bra."
9) TLA: And now the most important question! Where can we buy your bras?
We're on MommyGear.com.