‘A work in progress‘ – this is the opening statement from newly launched sustainable maternity clothes brand Jorgen House. A quietly confident double entendre that sets the tone for this cooly understated sustainable fashion brand and its clever reinvention of maternity clothing. The Daily Mumtra speaks to Leah Jorgensen, mother of two and founder of Jorgen House, the brand about to shake up the mum-scene with their revolutionary new concept in maternity wear.
Why you ‘need to know’ Jorgen House
There is something deliciously disruptive about this brand.
With unapologetic and evocative photography – big baby bumps shot at cinematic angles – Jorgen House is championing motherhood in all its raw glory. Strong, empowered women enjoying their bodies in their most extraordinary of seasons, grace the website wearing the product as if it were their second skin. This maternity wear is not designed to hide and disguise but to support and celebrate.
A new concept in maternity Wear
Preferring the term lifewear, the aim of the brand is to provide clothes to support the ever evolving female form and the transient states of pregnancy, motherhood and beyond. Jorgen House aims to equip us with transitional clothing that stays true to women’s needs through the changing seasons of their lives.
Encouraging us to buy less
Engineered to bend, stretch and contract with our fluctuating bodies, these garments although marketed to expectant mothers will last long beyond the baby years. Removing this need to source a whole new wardrobe for each episode of maternity (early pregnant, late pregnant, postpartum recovery, new mamas, breast feeding etc) crucially flies in the face of the disposable culture of the maternity fashion industry.
The range includes leggings, sports bras, bodysuits and underwear. Self described as ‘Movement wear’ and informed by holistic movement and wellness, the entire collection embodies nurture and comfort. It is made exclusively from soft organic cotton or sustainable materials. With an opening haul of earthy matt tones, these are clothes equally fitting for rolling around on a yoga mat, the school run and as base layers for workwear.
Sustainable and Ethical Fashion
And the best thing? Not only are the clothes beautifully made, flattering, committed to comfort and made from natural materials – they are also committed to sustainability. In addition, Jorgen House deploys fair trade factories which respect fair wages and uphold human rights. High-quality clothing made from eco-friendly fabrics, a maternity range that aims to ‘give more to the planet than it takes away’.
.Jorgen House looks set to be one of our new favourite sustainable brands.
So who is the brain behind the brand so intuitively solving our pain points? The Daily Mumtra interviewed founder Leah Jorgensen for a closer look at the inspiration behind Jorgen House.
Leah reveals her own painful journey to motherhood and how it led to identifying a very real need. We also discuss the Company’s commitment to sustainable practices, turning our back on fast fashion brands and what life with two kids and a business looks like.
An interview with Leah Jorgensen
Leah – if you could sum up Jorgen House’s values in 5 words what would they be?
Circularity, Comfort, Sustainability, Innovation and Support
Jorgen House seems to have come about following your own experience of motherhood – could you tell us a bit about your journey?
I have two little girls, a now nearly 5 year old and a 2 and a half year old. My journey to motherhood started off with a rocky start with a miscarriage at 12 weeks that completely and utterly broke me. I went on to have my firstborn, but then my third pregnancy again sadly ended with a termination for medical reasons at 14 weeks. I then went on to have my youngest, not without the endless fears. It was in those moments after the two loses, when your body still feels and looks pregnant. You no longer fit comfortably in your non-pregnant clothes and the last thing you want to wear is maternity wear.
I guess the idea for the brand really stemmed from those heartbreaking moments yet it took me a few more years to finally take the plunge to develop the brand.
After Bertie was born, I was doing work outs in the park when she was a few months old. I found that I couldn’t find a decent sports bra that was breastfeeding friendly yet supportive enough. I was either wearing a sports bra that I couldn’t easily feed in, or a maternity bra that offered just so little support.
Then I started looking back to my journey to motherhood and reflected on just how uncomfortable a majority of the clothing was, and how limiting they were in adapting to a constantly changing body shape. Our bodies are constantly in flux, not just through maternity but in all stages of womanhood, even after a loss, yet we expect our clothing to always fit and for us to maintain that body size?
I also found that maternity clothing just wasn’t designed or engineered for a growing belly, so you tend to buy pieces that fit for a certain period of time, but then they stop fitting and you become uncomfortable again, hence the high volume of throw away fashion that comes with maternity wear. There’s no investment in pieces to extend past a few months, so you buy cheaply and discard quickly.
I wanted to create a line of clothing that adapted to a changing body shape, something that was truly engineered to always fit and always be comfortable. Something that was a desirable product regardless of the stage of womanhood, pregnant or not.
We love that you have created a product that is so aligned with mothers’ needs, free from negative environmental impact. What were the challenges in creating a sustainable clothing brand?
In all honesty I didn’t face any challenges making the product sustainable. I knew from the outset that the brand had to be sustainable, I think it’s incredibly naive and selfish to put something new out there that doesn’t hold sustainability as a key component. There are so many maternity brands out there why do we need more, unless it’s solving a specific need? If you start off without intending compromise, you can always find a way.
The factory that I use manufactures the product using 100% renewable energy. The yarns used in the collection are either recycled or organic. In particular the sportswear set is made from a recycled yarn created from collecting the deadstock fabrics leftover from the factory room floor. These materials are waste materials that had no other use and would have otherwise been discarded, so they are collected and recast in a regeneration process that turns them back into yarn form from which the pieces are then knitted.
I am also committed to using the most eco-friendly packaging, from the kraft mailer bags, to the organic cotton garment bags and recycled card swing tickets. The mailer bags and swing tickets are printed with soy-based inks, made from 100% FSC-certified recycled paper, and are compostable, recyclable, and reusable. Instead of polybags or tissue paper wrapping, the products are sent in reusable, handy garment bags made from organic cotton.
We understand that the clothing is informed by holistic movement and wellness. How did you lean into this during your own pregnancies? Was there anything else that inspired the range?
My background is in sportswear design, so I have a really strong understanding of contour design. The innovation side of fashion always interested me more than the seasonal fashion trends. I’m by no means someone who has a consistent approach to fitness, it’s something that I’m really trying to work on, but it’s always played a part in my life (just sometimes a very minor role).
During my second pregnancy I was in the very early stages of the brand development when Covid hit and London was in quite strict lockdowns. I couldn’t hire external help or models to fit the products on, so I became the product tester as well as designer.
The lockdowns had a significant impact on the brands progression, but the lengthy delays enabled me to truly test the products out on a growing body from early stage conception right through to the fourth trimester and beyond. I really did live and breathe the brand throughout that whole time. I have photos of the day before my labour, fitting garments on myself in the mirror, and then again a few weeks later with a newborn on my chest. Comfort played a huge part and was important, and so was versatility and adaptability. I know the products truly work.
Sustainability is obviously close to your heart. Do you have any tips for mothers navigating a sustainable maternity wardrobe?
For me its more about considered design that combines functionality with comfort. Fashion is always a key factor, but it’s less about keeping up with seasonal fashion trends and more about buying high quality thoughtful design. That in itself is highly sustainable, knowing that you’re investing in pieces, regardless of the cost be it high street prices of high end designers, that you intend to care for and wear for time to come.
There’s a lot of pressure to buy at a high cost, because of course with sustainability there comes a higher price. But if you buy an £8 bra or £10 leggings you can’t expect them to be engineered to fit properly or to last. Of course I have bought cheaper high street brands, but I tend to buy pieces that I can see the longevity in, something that is a unique non-seasonal design. I have some amazing h&m pieces that I’ve had for years, I don’t buy in volume but I buy responsibly.
And lastly, you have two small children, how are you finding the juggle of motherhood and launching a new business?
It’s definitely a juggling act. My children have played such an important role in the development of the brand and have been there since the beginning so I don’t know what entrepreneurship looks like without family life thrown in the mix.
I’m still learning how to switch off and manage the two independently, but then I wonder should I really need to? It’s more about making that mind shift from the conventional model of work life separation, to one that merges the two.
I’m trying to place less pressure on myself to stick to a strict routine, to becoming more flexible with what life has to throw at you and that’s definitely a difficult thing to unlearn.
Having said that though my working hours have definitely shifted, I start my day around 10 am and I need to turn off at 3pm for the school run and then find myself back at the computer in the evenings after kids bedtime. It is tiring but I wholly believe in the brand and I’m committed to making it work.
Check out Jorgen House’s gorgeous range of sustainable and ethical maternity clothes for pregnancy and beyond here
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