We are excited to introduce you to new brand Altered Apparel.
We chat to Lex Ward about what makes her breastfeeding brand unique, breastfeeding photography and ethical clothing…….
Describe Altered Apparel in 5 words? Stylish clothing for breastfeeding women!
What do you offer the breastfeeding parent? Clothing that allows a mother to keep their style identity whilst still being able to breastfeed discretely.
What do you think makes Altered Apparel special and stand out? The fact that you can easily mix and match our clothing, creating your own look and style, therefore the look is unique to you!
What is the ethos of your brand? That we produce ethical, affordable clothing that mothers want to wear.
How did Altered Apparel come about? From a want to support mothers on their breastfeeding journey and a total love for fashion! Having struggled myself to find clothing whilst I breastfed all three of my children, and knowing how hard it is to maintain your look and identity whilst trying to do something you know is the best for your baby.
Tell us a bit about you? I am a mother of three, my eldest Anouk is 10, Enzo, 8 and Simeon 5. They have basically been my inspiration. I didn’t expect motherhood to have such an impact on me, but it really did. I have always been creative and studied art, and fashion photography, but before kids, I worked in admin. But once having my daughter, my passion for art and all things creative came back! I started taking more photographs and set up again fully as a photographer, in between being a full time mother. My husband and I chose for me not to go back to work, it has been hard at times but we manage just fine. However, as the children get bigger it is time to find start a new venture, and this is how I came to set up Altered Apparel Ltd.
What is your background? I initially started supporting breastfeeding mothers with a photography project!! I set up the project when I was nearing the end of my breastfeeding journey with my youngest son in 2015. I wanted to know how I could support mothers without becoming a pier supporter, as a photographer I know the power of imagery and I thought by producing images of mothers feeding in public it might help other mothers who are struggling to feel more confident. So this was the start of my project called “Empowering Women – Normalising breastfeeding.”
From this project I have been invited to be part of a large get together to try and make Manchester a Breastfeeding City, I have been contacted by NeoNatal North west where I discussed the possibility of producing images of neonatal babies breastfeeding and The Wirral NHS Trust to produce posters promoting breastfeeding. All of this, however, was done voluntarily, and therefore with a growing family I needed to find a way of increasing my finances as well as being a full time mother of three. So this is where I came up with the idea of continuing to support breastfeeding mothers, by providing them with clothing that was functional but more importantly stylish. This was the beginning of Altered Apparel Ltd!
Tell us something we may not know about you? That I would really like to be able to do is help neonatal mothers breastfeed.
My absolute dream is to create a breastfeeding top that is donated to new mothers when they have a premature baby. Many mothers are encouraged to pump their own milk to give to their baby rather than relying on donor milk. Imagine being thrown in at the deep end right after giving birth and having to pump with no suitable clothing to wear. So if I could donate tops that you could breastfeed/pump in a little more discretely I just hope that this would make a new mother of a prem baby feel that bit more conformable. But in order to do this I need to sell more stuff! But hopefully by the end of the year I may be in the position to do it – fingers crossed.
Describe your own personal style? Quirky and Contrasting? Hard really as I just love a whole eclectic mix of clothing!
What is your favourite piece in your collection? It has to be the jumper dress!
What inspires you to design your clothing? I love to take inspiration from current collections I find in Fashion Magazines. I love to think about how clothing has to be interchangeable to suit more than one season, I am inspired by fashion that has longevity in your wardrobe.
What do you think breastfeeding mums are looking for? I think they are looking for items that they can add to their existing wardrobe – items that they really like as opposed to buying it simply because you can breastfeed in it.
Also all my models are mothers as opposed to people who work as models. This is really important to me as I believe that clothing should be modelled by the people who will wear it. My reason for using real mothers is down to my Uni project (which I completed in 2017) called “Image Now” using real people within fashion imagery – where I did research on why its important to use real models within the fashion industry, hence why I have followed this through in my business. I feel its important to represent real people/mothers wearing my clothing, at the end of the day these are the people who will be buying my clothes!
What are your thoughts on the breastfeeding fashion available to mums? Although the choice is on the rise and there are more and more brands popping up I still feel that many are very similar and also incorporate being pregnant, which is what I have tried to avoid. Most brands show tops with a pregnant women, whereas my clothing is for beyond pregnancy.
Who’s style and which brands do you look to for inspiration? My aim is to be like Zara, H&M, Mango, and other mid range high street brands. I love what these brands have to offer and I hope Altered Apparel Ltd will be as iconic as these in the breastfeeding world.
What can we expect from Altered Apparel this year? More knitwear for A/W 2019/2020 and new additions to our T-shirt selection!
What are you doing to ensure Altered Apparel is an ethical brand? My goal has always been to make my brand as ethical as possible, and so I have chosen to have all my products manufactured in the UK (Leicester to be exact). I also source my shirt fabric from the Midlands and my yarn from Europe and India, however it is knitted into fabric in the UK.
My packaging, labels, and swing tags are all printed and made in Stoke and Pembrokeshire- I have aimed to keep everything as local as possible to reduce my footprint. Equally I know my manufacturers factory has great working conditions. My hope is that by using companies in the UK, I am supporting the place where I live and also can ensure that my factory is regulated.
In order to show my passion for ethical fashion this year our company took part in Fashion Revolution which is a movement that shows fashion business transparency. This means that brands take responsibility for where and how they manufacture their clothing, in order to ensure the fair treatment of the people involved in making our clothes. It is also about how we source our materials ensuring that the companies we use take responsibility in sourcing them fairly and correctly. Its something we take for granted and we are all guilty of buying fast fashion, but we need to check that they aren’t taking advantage of the people who make everything behind the scenes.
Another way in which I hope to give back is by continuing to produce images of breastfeeding mothers. Including helping produce images for organisations like Neonatal North West and groups like Diversity in Infant Feeding, who also would like to produce images that show a wide/diverse range of feeding. I know that the more we see breastfeeding the more it will be completely normalised.
We have chosen three of Altered Apparel’s’s most popular outfits for you below, also please check out their website for more great nursing clothes and support small breastfeeding clothing businesses!
Everyday V Back T-Shirt Dress
This dress has a concealed zip for easy breastfeeding access and is made from a super soft and stretchy fabric for extra comfort and easier nursing.
Available in black or khaki.
Price : £35.99
Everyday ‘Soft’ 3/4 Sleeve T.shirt
Part of the Altered Apparel “Everyday Range” these T-shirts are super soft and thicker than your standard T-shirt fabric. Breastfeeding access is by concealed zips!
Available in slate, khaki and stone.
Price : £26.99
Milano Knit Jumper Dress
This double milano knit jumper dress is a slightly fitted shape but extremely comfortable to wear! It features hidden zips for breastfeeding and for all busy mums -wash at 30, shake and hang to dry – no ironing needed! The dress looks great styled with boots for Autumn/Winter and wear with other bold vibrant shades!
Available in mustard, brick, navy and slate
Price : £39.99
*This is a sponsored post