We are pleased to introduce you to Sarka London.
A very different breastfeeding clothing brand.
British made, ethical clothing.
Designed for a modular and stylish postnatal wardrobe.
Meeting breastfeeding, c-section and changing post natal body shape needs.
How often do people ask about ethical breastfeeding options, read on and find out more…..
We interview Jules McKeen, co-founder of Sarka London about their signature clean lines, clever details and scandinavian style designs.
Describe Sarka London in 5 words? Postnatal without the style compromise
What can breastfeeding parents expect from Sarka? We object to the compromise women face when forced to decide between clothing they love and clothing which functionally works for a nursing mother.
Every piece in our collection is cleverly designed so people go ‘Nice dress’, not ‘nice breastfeeding dress’.
If, in research, they say the latter, we ditch the design.
Our signature is simple, Scandinavian classic design which belies its clever little innovations – ties inside so you know which breast you last fed on; wider waistbands to accommodate a changing body; and deep pockets which double as discreet nursing access. Our postnatal trousers are waist-adaptable, and the Ada contains a hidden phone pocket at the back, away from baby.
How does the quality and sustainability of your fabrics stand out from other brands? Our approach to slow fashion means that almost every single item in our collection we can track back to the woodpulp and the forest – sustainable Tencel is not only naturally breathable and antibacterial (perfect for nursing) but also buttery soft and luxurious for mum and baby’s skin.
-do you plan to uphold the slow fashion ethics of a smaller, well designed, quality wardrobe designed to last and have a simple capsule collection? We’re passionate about building a modular collection designed to last wash after wash, and importantly, to be worn well beyond your nursing time. People will never guess there’s nursing access so there’s no shelf limit.
Buying less, buying better is an ethos close to our heart. We’re also offering mums the chance to return any Sarka London items they feel they’ve finished their journey with to us, so we can gift them to women who wouldn’t normally be able to afford them.
Why do you choose to manufacture in the UK? For many reasons; supporting our struggling manufacturing industry; fewer airmiles and greater control for us; and importantly we know the person making each garment – at every stage – by name. Julie my co founder has a background in buying for large corporates, and this is really important for her ethically and to maintain the highest quality.
Where does Sarka sit amongst the breastfeeding clothing market? We are unapologetically not fast fashion, so we appreciate the price tag isn’t for everyone. We are roughly similar in price to Sweaty Betty or Cos; in our case that’s because we uphold the highest ethical working conditions in British factories, with sustainable fabrics – at small runs this isn’t cheap for us, but it’s the right thing to do, and as we grow we will be able to command better prices at larger runs. The quality is super high, and all machine washable and made to last.
Describe the Sarka breastfeeding mum? She’s outer-directed and loves style, and is – like all mothers – wrestling with a new identity away from the professional life she loved. She has seen her body undergo huge changes through pregnancy and beyond, and is keen to regain a tiny sense of her style self again but her wardrobe just doesn’t fit her new functional needs.
How did Sarka London come into being? From a personal frustration and a realisation that this was a feminist issue. It took years to find the right team to found this with, and we’re still a tiny female-founded team but with large ambitions. We even recently launched our #cafeswithoutcompromise campaign, to bring our ‘baby friendly’ endorsement to high st shops and cafes – reducing another issue new parents face of not being sure how happily they’ll be received with a baby!
Sarka is a great name, sounds almost legendary? Sarka is named after an Eastern European goddess who supposedly fought for the matriarchy and chopped off the head of the incoming patriarchy’s prince! Every one of our pieces is named after a heroic woman in history, from Rosa Parks to Ada Lovelace.
Tell us a bit about your and your background? My background is in marketing and advertising; I have two small boys and write in my spare time for magazines and some short stories which rarely see the light of day! (See our excellent guest blog by Jules!) I also mentor upcoming female led startups at Techstars and Deloitte accelerator programmes, and am a mentor for Creative Equals which aims to help women into leadership positions within London’s gender-biased communications industry. This is an area close to my heart and I often write and speak about feminist issues and motherhood and identity.
Describe your own personal style? I have always bought a lot of my clothes from jumble sales and charities, and today am wearing a vintage Yves st Lauren sweater from Oxfam twenty years ago! I never buy fast fashion – it’s the scourge of our world. I tend to go quite Scandi with unfussy lines, bright colours and some long dresses with DMs – off duty, I’m a sucker for great trainers, chunky jewellery and red lipstick so in a lot of ways, I’d love to be Neneh Cherry.
What is your favourite piece in your collection? I LOVE the Rosalind skirt, worn with the Rosa mesh top with the Marie over the top and big boots!
You have written some excellent blog articles, they are such an enjoyable read! Is this something you enjoy? How do you find the time?! I honestly write for sanity, and usually on trains or early in the morning. I have a novel draft where the date at the top only ever says August, as I only get to write on holiday!
What inspires you to design your clothing? The impact on a woman’s sense of wellbeing if she feels like herself.
What do you think breastfeeding mums are looking for? Something which doesn’t look like a breastfeeding top but works perfectly, has pockets and is machine washable!!
What are your thoughts on the breastfeeding fashion available to mums? It’s often fairly girly, which is just not us – like you’ve turned into a stereotypical ‘mum’ overnight! The quality can be really questionable, which is true in every fashion category.
Who’s style and which brands do you look to for inspiration? Always outside the category – Rixo, Acne, Samsoe & Samsoe, and street fashion.
You have had some great feedback in the press which must be fantastic for you? We’ve been overwhelmed by the support of the British press for our launch postnatal collection. We’ve also been recognised by Stylist magazine for our groundbreaking ‘Compassion Charter’ around period- and menopause-leave for our own teams, backing our ‘no more compromise’ mission internally too.
What do you feel has been Sarka’s greatest achievement so far? Launching with so much goodwill and a vibrant, engaged community, plus honouring the standards of workplace and supply chain ethics we laid down for ourselves.
As they say, a principle isn’t a principle until it costs you something.
Can you tell us about your brilliant work with Little Village? This is only the very beginning of our collaboration – we want to give back where we can, and hope we can do so more and more as we grow!
What is the Sarka mission and hopes for the future? To help women in the first years of motherhood to feel a little bit like their style self again, and to feel supported by a community of funny, individual women – not just identified by the behaviour of their wombs!
What can we expect from you going forward, will you be adding to your capsule wardrobe styles over time? The collection will develop significantly, and outside of fashion too… but we can’t tell you yet (you’ll be the first to know!)
Finally is there any advice you want to offer breastfeeding mums? It’s bloody hard, it’s a moment in time, you’re doing a brilliant job whether you find it easy or have to stop. A fed baby and a sane mother is the most important thing in the long run – be kind to yourself.
Amelia Tie Nursing Dress
The Amelia dress features concealed zips in the arms for discreet, easy breastfeeding access and an adjustable waist tie to gently pull you in, in all the right places. Wear with the Rosa Mesh Top in black for an even sleeker look.
Amelia is named after Amelia Earhart, the flying ace who rocked a leather aviator hat like no other.
What’s more, one pound from every Amelia Print dress goes to family charity, Little Village.
Price : £125
Minerva Nursing Top
The Minerva is a versatile go-to top for everyday, it has concealed zips in the arms for clever access and easy, discreet breastfeeding. The fabric also feels extremely soft and silky against your skin.
Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, war, art, school and commerce!
Available in Surf Blue, Print and Fiery Red.
Price : £80
Rosa Mesh Nursing Top
The Rosa mesh top is such a great piece for a modular postnatal wardrobe; you can wear it underneath tops or dresses to enable breastfeeding via the disguised front panel, or simply wear it on its own.
Rosa Parks ’the first lady of civil rights’ and ’the mother of the freedom movement’ was an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott.
Price : £55
*This is a sponsored post