Pregnancy is viewed as a temporary part of a woman’s life — though, as any pregnant woman will tell you — it feels like FOREVER! On the business side, we are viewed as a captive audience, a forced consumer because pregnant women must buy new clothes at this time. We women feel like we are held hostage!
This was Tracey Montford’s own story — and the inspiration for the new mom to enter and graduate from fashion school and then start her own label, Cake Lingerie, a beautiful line of maternity lingerie and nursing bras which was given the Maternity Brand of the Year award at the UK Lingerie Awards earlier this month!
Beauty is our desire, but is it really possible? I talked with designer and Cake Lingerie founder Tracey Montford about dreaming and achieving the impossible pregnancy and nursing dreams…
In the design and construction process, how do you combine dreams of sexy and desires of sensuality with the demands of support, to create quality lingerie pieces that address these body image issues?
At Cake Lingerie it is our primary focus to produce working garments with great support. It was my dream to be able to produce beautiful, fashionable and quality garments that provide this function. Over the course of the past 3 years we have worked very hard to incorporate new technology into our garments to insure we provide a great fit. An example of this is our MyBust™ Engineering, introduced this year into our designs which personalizes fit to each wearer. It understands every bust size has unique needs and coverage in order to have the most flattering, supportive and comfortable look and feel; ‘plunge’ for smaller cups (B-D) and balcony for larger cups (E+).
There’s a difference between “dreaming of the perfect maternity lingerie” and the realities of making it. Were any of the ideas you had about designing maternity lingerie forced to change once you went to fashion school?
My initial ideas have had to be altered slightly due to fulfilling the function of the garments. Ie. The fabrics and laces used need to be durable and affordable. It was also important to me to keep the centre front of the garments low, for a stylish and attractive look for the fashionable mother. This has had to be higher than first anticipated due to support and coverage of the changing breast, although we have managed to achieve a lower profile than our competitors, which is one point which makes our designs stand out.
How difficult was it to find a manufacturer? What were your primary concerns?
I originally came up with the idea for Cake Lingerie in 2005, however it took us 3 years to get our products into the market. This was primarily because of manufactures. We only work with manufactures who produce high quality garments that meet our expectations.
As we continue to produce new product lines we are searching for new manufactures of high standards. We never compromise the quality of the end product as this is what adds extra value to our styles – the workmanship and final finishes on our products. This (finding manufactures) is an ongoing exercise and one that always takes time.
Nursing bras carry a heavier load — not just in the physical sense of wear, but in terms of washing too. How does this affect fabric selection and construction?
We work only with high quality fabrics, which are all eco tech and environment friendly.
Being pregnant and having a baby makes many women feel as if they have less time for handwashing their own dainties. We know handwashing our lingerie, especially our bras, makes for the best care of the garments; but at the end of an already long day… As a mom and a designer, what are your thoughts on this?
We do recommend that women hand wash our garments in cold water to prolong its life. However we are realistic and realise that women may not have a lot of time do this as they’re busy juggling family, work and personal life so an alternative would be to machine wash our garments in a lingerie bag in cold water. If these instructions are followed the garments should last the distance, as well protect delicate trimmings and adornments.