A CALOUNDRA fashion designer is providing answers to an age-old question from new and expectant mums: why can't I find something nice and practical to wear?
Carla Mackie has launched 4 My Sisters, a clothing label that caters for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
She was motivated by her family's experiences.
"My sister and sister-in-law both now have young children," Ms Mackie said.
"I was inspired by their stories of frustration and difficulty in purchasing clothing that allowed them to breastfeed, without having to lift their whole top up or pull down their whole dress."
She had also heard a story of one breastfeeding mum who bought a nice dress for a wedding, but when it came time to feed her young son, she was forced to sneak out to her car, nervously "hoick" her dress up high enough so her baby could feed, and hope that nobody walked by.
"Unfortunately, there can be a lot of fuss about mums breastfeeding in public," she said.
"It's been really hard for them with the lack of options available for feeding their babies with any kind of privacy."
Many mums currently complain that they have few fashion options - dictated by their large stomachs or regular baby feedings - with clothing offered by chain stores often made up of common designs and basic stretch fabrics
"Casual designs and stretch wear are okay for around the house and going to the park, but it's not really meeting the broader needs of where mums go - some of them are out working, out with their kids - you don't just want to always be in tracksuits and some sort of breastfeeding singlet," Ms Mackie said.
Her 4 My Sisters designs have built-in cover-up panels that enable easy access to maternity bras but maintain style.
"Women deserve to feel beautiful, natural and special during breastfeeding, and have appropriate clothing choices," she said. Ms Mackie is a former psychiatrist who sought a career change eight years ago.
She decided to study fashion design and manufacturing and worked in the industry for several years before launching the 4 My Sisters label in April.
She has developed a website, started selling at markets, school fairs and in mother's groups on the Sunshine Coast.
She has also started marketing in Toowoomba.
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