Maternity wear is important for (expecting) mothers: It should be comfortable and functional as well as stylish. This segment will also be given ample space at Kind + Jugend. Where are the trends headed? What do customers want? These and other questions were discussed with Vicki Marx, founder and managing director of mamlila.
Your 3-in-1 jacket follows the “mamalila principle”. What’s it all about and what inspired you to design this jacket?
My own children – and experience as a babywearing mom and outdoor fan – inspired me. I really loved wearing my children and did it a lot, but had a problem when it came to going out in bad weather. I didn’t have anything suitable to put on and my jackets didn’t close anymore. So I looked for a solution.
The idea: The jacket is actually a normal jacket, but it comes with two inserts. The zipped in panels extend the jacket into a pregnancy or babywearing version in seconds for front or back carrying regardless of which carrier system or sling is used. So you have one jacket with three possibilities.
What principles are especially important to you as a company?
The aspect of sustainability plays a major role – the concept of the jacket alone is a good example because a durable, versatile jacket uses fewer resources and produces less waste. In addition, we make sure to select high-quality, natural organic materials, avoid chemical pollutants and reduce our packaging materials. We ensure fair production that is skin and environmentally friendly, keep a close eye on our carbon footprint – and we were recently certified as a climate-neutral company.
Your company thinks beyond pure maternity fashion – for example, there is also a babywearing jacket for dads. Are there more products in the works?
First and foremost, we are committed to babywearing and want to make it possible for parents to be well protected when they go out with their child. That is why all-weather jackets with high functionality are important to us. We will therefore continue to expand our share of “outdoor” babywearing jackets for every season. Other products that make life easier for outdoor moms are also planned such as a matching rain skirt. At the same time, we plan to expand our range of jackets and coats, which have a more urban style.
What is the general direction of the trend in maternity fashion? What do customers want?
Pure maternity fashion is a difficult segment and an increasing number of retailers are giving up this space. This is largely because customers don’t want to spend a lot of money on something they’re going to wear for “only” a few months, and instead buy cheaper alternatives, which also have a short lifespan. On the other hand, women have a great desire to look both stylish and comfortable during pregnancy. Equally as important is an environmentally friendly lifestyle that is not harmful to health. However, this goes against the fast fashion industry.Since more and more customers have a great need for sustainability, I see this as the greatest opportunity for maternity fashion. Nevertheless, customers also expect fashion to be affordable – and the longer the life and usefulness of a product, the more an investment pays off. I therefore see the success of environmentally friendly maternity fashion only in conjunction with sustainable concepts aimed at extending the life of clothing beyond pregnancy.
How have awareness and the status of “maternity fashion” changed in recent years?
I think young pregnant women are very self-confident and enjoy their pregnancy. A stylish, urban maternity fashion that is also functional would be my vision. An even greater change has taken place in our key area of babywearing, which stopped being “alternative” a long time ago and is now part of mainstream society. Needless to say, a baby carrier is now part of the basic equipment of expecting families, which I think is absolutely right and important.What do you like about Kind + Jugend and what do you think are the advantages of participating?Kind + Jugend is our leading and favourite trade fair – it has a good hall concept in addition to an interesting and, above all, international audience . We just have to be there and present ourselves. But we also come to get inspiration and information. You always see many old acquaintances and new faces, have stimulating conversations and receive real interest from retailers – altogether a really great event!