We are very excited to be able to introduce a new, exciting and stylish brand of breastfeeding clothing! Think smock dresses, think gorgeous prints…. and designed for breastfeeding! Dresses you will want to all year round for comfortable and on trend nursing, and all made in the UK!
Read on to find out more….
Describe Lyla & Leche in 5 words?!
Fashionable, feminine, soft, social and modern!
Who is the Lyla & Leche breastfeeding mum?
Our breastfeeding mama is a stylish and savvy lady. She loves to dress in the latest trends as seen on the high-street, especially for those special occasions. Now that she has a little one to think about she doesn’t want to (and shouldn’t have to) comprise on dressing well and feeling fab!
What sets you apart from other breastfeeding clothing brands?
Throughout my own feeding journey, I desperately missed being able to wear clothes from the high street. My breastfeeding wardrobe consisted of block colours, tops with unsightly flaps and so many stripes (how many stripey numbers does one mama need!!?) What makes us different is that we only produce clothing that replicates the trends, styles and prints currently found on the high street – no flaps, no ill-fitting wraps and not a Breton stripe in sight!
I believe you design your clothing with a good friend, how does your design process work?
The key factor in our design process, and what sets us apart from our competitors, is that we are reactive and innovative. From the initial designing of our dress shapes to fabric sourcing and print direction we are constantly referencing new emerging styles and then adapting them to fit in with the lifestyle of a feeding mother.
No flaps and wraps, how does your boob access work?
Each of our dresses have two concealed zips which open from the waistline upwards. This allows feeding mamas to nurse their babies easily. While we don’t believe for one minute that women should have to breastfeed discretely, we believe they should be able to if they wish.
Tell us more about your fabulous (non-striped!) prints?
We have started the collection featuring four timeless prints with a new twist for Summer/Autumn 21. The classic black and white “Mono spot” print is perfect for dressing up with colourful accessories and can easily be taken into the Autumn/Winter months and worn with boots and tights. Our ‘Meadow Floral ‘print, completely encapsulates the essence of dreamy summer evenings and would be perfect for both a wedding or a picnic in the park. Gingham has been huge on the high street this summer, so it will probably come as no surprise that we decided to use this classic print too. Our black and white gingham is made from a beautiful cotton poplin which is perfect for warmer summer and autumn days, essential when breastfeeding. And lastly, I’m not sure any collection would be complete without a bold animal print! Our “Lyla Leopard” is a classic piece that could be paired with sandals in the warmer months and boots, tights and a chunky cardigan in the colder months.
Can you tell us about your manufacturer?
We manufacture all our dresses in the UK with a factory that has been running for over 20 years. The family run business also supplies to other high street womenswear clothing retailers and specialises in womenswear commercial fashion pieces. We chose to work with them due to their excellent seamstress quality when producing our designs.
How important is it to you that your designs are made here in the UK?
So important! After the devastating effects of the pandemic, we knew we wanted to source as much as we could from UK soil. All of our fabrics are purchased here in the UK and our final designs are produced in a UK North London factory. As a business run by women for women, we are keen advocates of a fair working wage for fellow females working within the industry. We sleep much better at night knowing that the wonderful women who bring our creations to life in the factory are paid fairly for their work. Who better to support women than other women?
It is great to see new breastfeeding clothing brands, how did Lyla & Leche come about?
The idea for Lyla and Leche began in the summer of 2020, six months after giving birth to my daughter. While I was ecstatic that breastfeeding was going well (a journey I didn’t experience first time round with my son), I grew more and more aware of the fact that I simply had nothing to wear. I no longer needed maternity nursing clothes to home a bump, and found many breastfeeding specific clothes frumpy, flappy and unflattering. I longed to wear clothes from the high street and to feel on trend and stylish in the clothes I was wearing. The point of no return came when the pandemic saw a family wedding cancelled. Rather than feeling sad, I felt relieved that I no longer had to try and find something that I could feed in while also feeling pretty. The more I talked to people about how I felt, the more I realised there was a huge number of women who felt exactly the same.
Where did the name come from?
My goodness – the name! I can not begin to tell you how long it took to come up with a name! Having spent 10 years living in Madrid before relocating back to the UK, Spanish is huge part of our family life. I kept getting drawn to the Spanish for milk “leche” which I knew many breastfeeding women would understand thanks to the amazing work of The Leche League. Lyla has always been on my list of potential baby names, and given that my husband reminds me on a daily basis that there will be no third baby for us, I decided to use it on the next best thing!!
Tell us a bit about you and your background?
My name is Laura and I am mum to a 5 year old son, Luca, and 18 month old Sofia. We have now settled in Surrey after relocating back to the UK after a 10 year stint in Madrid where I worked as the Academic Director of a teacher training centre. Spanish life was amazing and I hold so many wonderful memories of the places I visited and the people I met. I’m not sure I will ever go anywhere where people are as open and accepting of children as Spaniards are. Like many expats however, once my eldest was born I started to miss my family and the support of my closest girlfriends. My husband and I soon realised that if our family was to grow any more, we really needed a little more support around us. We’ve now been “back” for 3 years, and feeling happy and settled.
Describe your own personal style?
I am very much your typical mum! I am quite happy to rock a pair of leggings and a hoodie, love a good pair of jeans and have a bit of a thing for midi dresses! Like many, I am someone who frequently battles what I see in the mirror. Some days are harder than others and what I’ve learnt over the years is that the best thing I can do on the days when I don’t feel good about my appearance is to put something on that makes me feel on trend and good about myself. Old leggings and oversized jumpers do nothing to help me on days like that! Part of the reason why I struggled so much while breastfeeding was the fact that I no longer had the option of helping my mental health by popping something nice on. My hope is that Lyla and Leche will help other women feel on trend, pretty and confident while feeding their little ones and navigating their post-partum bodies.
What is your favourite piece in your collection?
My goodness! Every time we think we have a favourite, we then change our mind! At Lyla & Leche we love the Lyla Leopard dress as it really is a staple piece to add to your wardrobe. It’s perfect for wearing this summer/autumn with a pair of Birkenstock black sandals or pumps for a day out with the kids and will accompany you into the colder months too, if paired with a chunky cardi and boots. The best thing about our dresses is that even though you can feed from them, they are so discreet, they can be worn for occasions when you might not even need to and will still look on trend and make the wearer feel gorgeous.
What do you think breastfeeding mums are looking for?
First and foremost, I think that a lot of breastfeeding mums are looking for non-maternity fit clothes. I can’t tell you the amount of feedback we’ve received about the difficulties of finding this! We also believe that at a time when women’s sense of identity is changing, the very least they would hope to find is clothes that help them to resemble their former selves. Why should women stop being able to buy high street style clothing simply because they are breastfeeding?
Who’s style and which brands do you look to for inspiration?
For shape our biggest influence for key styles are items seen from high-street brands such as, ZARA and H&M. We look at items that sell well, and which we would wear ourselves. We then rework the designs with tweaks we feel better suit our customer and add our signature feeding, friendly zip feature. When buying our cloth we look to key seasonal prints as seen on the catwalks and in popular trend editorials such as VOGUE, GRAZIA and OOTD.
What can we expect from you going forward?
Looking imminently forward we are excited to start designing our Autumn/Winter collection with all the sparkle and frills the festive season deserves! For more daywear we are looking to include the iconic animal print, which will look great paired with winter boots and tights as it gets colder. Thinking further ahead we want to extend our collections to offer other wardrobe staples that can offer breastfeeding ease such as pretty little blouses, ideal for pairing with your fave pair of comfy jeans whilst running around after the little sprogs!
What are your aspirations for Lyla & Leche?
Wow! Where do we start with this one? I think our ultimate goal for Lyla and Leche is to become the go to brand for women looking for stylish high street inspired pieces that allow them to look and feel great. Our launch has been so exciting that we can’t wait to see where we go from here!
Is there any advice you would like to offer breastfeeding mums?
As someone who has experienced two very different feeding journeys with my little ones, my advice would be to keep your feeding expectations low and not to put too much pressure on yourself. I was so desperate for breastfeeding to work with my eldest that all the joy of those first three months was lost. While breastfeeding is hard and challenging by its very nature, it shouldn’t become all consuming. Listen to that inner voice and be confident in knowing what is best for you. Ultimately what is best for you will always be best for your baby!
Thank you Lyla & Leche!