Andrea. Chicago. 2016. Mom of Thora and Otto. Fashion Designer.
Does breastfeeding mean you go from maternity clothing to “earth mother” hippie (which I actually love) frocks? Meet Andrea, mom, designer, founder of Leche Libre, http://www.lechelibre.com – a company creating cool style for breast feeding moms.
Maternity clothing has come a long way from huge dresses that resembled tents, so it’s surprising that stylish clothing for breast feeding moms has taken so long to catch on. The rise in breast feeding is pretty recent, it was considered “low class” in the 70’s and 80’s, my mother was practically bullied by the nurses at the hospital when she attempted to breast feed my oldest brother.
When I had my first child, I was so determined to breast feed. Each feeding, I was faced with my child’s enormous Angelina Jolie lips coming at me. The only person in the hospital who helped me properly was the housekeeper in the maternity ward, only issue was she had a morning shift. I needed her nurturing and support 24-7, in order to do it. I lasted maybe four days.
I’d watch these amazing moms feed their kids, with clothing that wasn’t so easy to maneuver. Additionally, they all looked like earth hippie mothers, not by intention, merely by lack of choice. But in comes design team, Leche Libre to change that…
Leche Libre Dress.
Wouldn’t breast feeding be so much easier with “easy access” fashion? It seems reasonable right? Just unzip, and you and baby are ready to go….
I asked Andrea, founder of Leche Libre some questions:
How has your style emerged after kids: “I feel like having kids really pushed me with my sense of identity. When I was younger I had a more hard edged punk style but then as I got a bit older, I got a little more mainstream with my appearance. Once I had kids, I sort of had a personality crisis of who I was. I felt like the cultural information I was absorbing was telling me that now that I had kids, I had to become this soft maternal super feminine sort of mommy person. I’ve always been rebellious, so I sort of went the opposite direction and started dressing hard edged again.”
What do you wear to school drop-off: At school drop off, you’ll more likely see me in my black one piece snow suit, since we are lifestyle cyclists and we ride bikes everywhere. It’s like an fashion onion, because I take that off and then I’m kicking my style inside. I always dress in the same style, although I’m not always wearing a dress. I keep things very simple, usually opting for solid colors, often black.
Why did you start Leche Libre: “Maintaining a look while breastfeeding was hard. As I said above, I felt as though there was all this cultural information telling me I needed to change who I was as and a lot of it was coming from clothing to breastfeed in. A lot of the breastfeeding apparel readily available five years ago was all flowy drapey maternity/nursing knitwear shirts and dresses. I felt like this was NOT my style at all. I wore it for a while, but just couldn’t get down with it. That left me with just a cami tank top under shirts and jeans, but I didn’t really like this all the time. After having a baby and feeling frumpy already, I felt like I was forced to dress frumpy to breastfeed, which just sort of complicated my feelings of identity crisis. I believe in the transformative power of fashion to help us define who we are. I knew I needed to do something about it. I was learning sewing at the time, so I started altering a few vintage patterns and made myself a few nursing dresses. I got a great response from other moms, which inspired me to go ahead and start my own line.”
Describe Leche Libre style: When I started my line, I liked the idea of creating an edgy urban line for mommies which fights the stereotypes of soft. I play with blending masculine and feminine themes in my apparel. I’m starting Leche Libre to help breastfeeding women represent their own personal style.
Andrea’s take on camouflage
In Haute Rides.. This is how a cool, designer mom takes her kids to school in the morning, I’m pretty confident I will never be that cool. Considering, I couldn’t even find my keys this morning to drive my kids in a boring “crossover” car!!
Thanks to Andrea, for having the courage to start a company and create clothing to make women feel stylish, confident and capable of feeding their kids in public.