Why Cool Workoutwear Brand VPL Is Branching Out to Nursing Essentials
When it comes to shopping for maternity essentials, activewear brands usually aren't the first to come to mind. But when you consider the glorious moisture-wicking properties of workout wear and the fact that overheating (and thus more sweating) is just one of the many "joys" we endure during pregnancy, it's no wonder that many mamas-to-be want to live in sports bras and yoga leggings for nine months.
The idea of making dressing for motherhood at all stages more comfortable is exactly why cult-fave label VPL (beloved by stars like celebrity fitness guru Tracy Anderson, Gwen Stefani, Madonna, and more) is dipping its toes into the maternity market. Now helmed by CEO Kikka Hanazawa (founder Victoria Bartlett left the company in early 2016), the certified B Corporation and luxury workout apparel label just wrapped up a successful Kickstarter campaign for VPL+, their new line of multitasking essentials designed to worn from pregnancy through breastfeeding and beyond. It's now shipping its first round of nursing-friendly products, including a bra ($98) that mamas won't mind showing off, a tank top ($198), and a sleek maxi dress ($285) — all featuring signature VPL touches like cutouts and chunky straps designed for maximum comfort during workouts.
Here, we chat with Hanazawa to find out how her own journey through motherhood inspired the designs, what VPL has in store for the future, and more.
What was the "a-ha" moment that inspired you to create the nursing bra?
VPL+ was inspired by our amazing VPL customers. Our customers that were pregnant or that had just given birth told us how much they loved the look, fit and comfort of our bras and wished there was a nursing bra like that. As a mom of two, I shared their frustrations, and I thought VPL has to do something about this, it was at that moment VPL+ was conceived.
Who or what inspires the aesthetic of the designs?
Confident, hard working, compassionate, and smart women inspire our brand. We embrace and celebrate women with our bold and modern aesthetic. We design the collection with a lifestyle in mind, a strong woman who takes care of herself, her family, her community and the world around her. As a certified B Corporation, we constantly strive to design and make innovative products that are socially and environmentally responsible. Our "upcycle" program is a fundamental aspect to our design, production and business philosophy. We minimize waste by recycling fabric remnants — so many times our trims, fabrics, and colors come from what we can creatively reuse. So for VPL and VPL+, we are inspired to create beautiful, high quality products that also reflect our commitment to being a slow fashion brand.
How has pregnancy and motherhood changed your approach to design?
I know life of as a new mom is hectic, so I was inspired to make a maternity collection that new moms would still feel like themselves in and make pregnancy and breastfeeding easier. When designing VPL+, I always think of my experience as a new mom. I remember breastfeeding and feeling so connected to my babies, but feeling very disconnected from my own body. On top of how I felt, it didn't help that there were very limited clothing and nursing bra options that fit me and that I felt good about wearing. Mentally, emotionally, and physically, becoming a new mom is so rewarding, but the reality is that it is hard too.
Suddenly, as a breastfeeding mom, we're literally on demand all day and night, from late night feedings, early mornings, work, and everything else. Breastfeeding at home was one thing, but out in public or at the office, nursing and pumping was so difficult and awkward. So with VPL+ I wanted to give new moms a simple, stylish, and versatile nursing bra that moms could comfortably nurse in, anywhere, anytime. Our dress, with a built in nursing bra is the ultimate all-in-one maxi dress that can be worn throughout pregnancy and nursing.
Are their plans to expand to a full maternity line and if so, can you share more details on future products?
The collection was purposefully designed as an edited line of modern maternity essentials. I feel that the collection truly focuses on what pregnant and new moms need to carry them through bump and beyond. We will concentrate on our essential nursing bra, tank, dress, and leggings and continue to perfect them for our moms growing needs and demanding lifestyles.