Lark & Lux is coming to Hamilton
What is the hardest part about pregnancy? Genuinely, I’m asking. I’ve never been pregnant and I want to know. I’ve certainly been around enough people to hear about the things – nausea, swollen feet, weird cravings… not fitting into any of your damn clothes any more.
Let’s be honest, that’s got to be one of the most expensive and hardest hurdles to get over when you’re pregnant. Not only do you have to buy furniture, clothing and accessories for a brand new human who’s about to join you in your home, but you also have to deal with your rapidly changing and expanding body as well.
Once your brand new baby has arrived and you’re starting to feel like a human being again, albeit a rather deflated human being, and you’re breastfeeding or just not interested in wearing anything constricting, you are still faced with this conundrum: what the hell do you wear?
Leggings are a great solution when you’re at home or having a casual day, but everyone gets sick of leggings eventually. And if you want to wear a dress and you’re breastfeeding, you either have to go into a breastfeeding station, conveniently still located by the bathrooms, or head back to your car to take your dress off just to feed your squalling child.
This was the frustration and indignity that lead entrepreneur and new mom Brittany Holton to create a dress specifically designed for women who want to wear a light, soft dress and still feed their children without taking the entire thing off in public. Out of necessity was born Lark & Lux.
“I had my [first] daughter about two years ago, in June 2016. My biggest challenge was finding clothes I could look and feel like myself in and still manage to breastfeed my daughter. I didn’t feel like myself [in leggings and tank tops]. I felt like if I’m my best Brittney, I’ll be the best mom to my daughter.”
Despite this, Brittney felt that this was a superficial thing to complain about. “I was out of my mat clothes, which felt great, [but] my clothes weren’t functional for what I needed to do.”
It all came to a head one sunny day. Fed up with the loungewear and feeling confident she wouldn’t have to feed her while she ran errands, Brittney put on a favourite dress of hers she’d been waiting for months to wear again. But it didn’t work out that way. Halfway through her grocery shopping, Brittney’s daughter needed to feed. Having no alternative, Brittney returned to her car in the Dundurn Fortinos plaza and had to remove her dress to feed her daughter.
It dawned on her during that moment of frustration, “If I need it, surely other women do too.”
With that in mind, Brittney pulled a favourite dress from her closet and set out to find a way to help herself. “I literally have no training in fashion, [but] I figured out a way.”
The prototype was sewn by a girlfriend’s mother-in-law. Brittney’s new mom friends passed the dress around and gave her feedback. And finally, a true sample of The Melly was created. Made of soft bamboo fabric, the dress combines a supportive built-in bra with easy zipper access to make feeding on-the-go simple and more dignified than sitting in your car with half your clothes off, hoping no one walks by and peeks in the window. The design is versatile, too. You can dress it up for a night out with your partner, or throw on a pair of sneakers and a jean jacket to keep it casual.
The road to entrepreneurship wasn’t clear for Brittany right away, though. “I kept hesitating,” she explains, “I had a newborn, [I thought] I don’t know what I’m doing.” But when she sent out a survey to gather more feedback, she was expecting to only get a handful of responses. “20-25 people would have been good,” she thought at the time. In total 125 new moms responded to the survey. That proved to be powerful validation that people needed this product.
Since then another design has been introduced, The Emmy, and Brittany is planning a third design and expanding the colour offerings. “I’m hoping that women will wear this piece through motherhood and beyond,” Brittany says.
An unexpected secondary market arose out of her mother’s group of friends. “My mom and her friends are going through a different hormonal time [menopause]. They like it because they’re experiencing hot flashes. It’s breathable material [and] it’s a universally flattering style.”
Lark & Lux’s rally cry is “#feedfearlessly” – they want to encourage women to embrace the way they’ve chosen to feed their baby, be it breast, bottle, formula or any combination. No one should feel like they aren’t doing their best for their baby just because they don’t fit into a narrow view of what some people think a mother should do. Lark & Lux’s clothing is inclusive for all types of mothers and all body shapes.
You can find Lark & Lux in shops around southwestern Ontario: London, Midland and will soon be coming to Burlington and Hamilton. You’ll also find Lark & Lux at baby shows throughout the Golden Horseshoe and, of course, the website: www.larkandlux.com.