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Isabella Oliver Q&A with Baukjen De Swaan Arons - Best maternity fashion brand 2014 - WINNER

We meet the founder behind the 2014 Junior Design Award-winning entry




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What is your name and job title?

Baukjen De Swaan Arons, Founder

Why, would you say, is it important to offer quality maternity fashion?

Pregnant women don’t buy many maternity pieces, but what they do buy, they need to last. Our quality-driven pieces wash and wear brilliantly so you never feel as though what you’re buying is throwaway and this is hugely important. The industry often talks about building a capsule collection, and at Isabella Oliver, you can do just that and know it will take you through the nine months and beyond.

What are the top three ‘must-have’ items a mum-to-be needs in her wardrobe?

A dress that will take you easily from day to night, a good pair of maternity jeans and a red lipstick – it’s a game changer for adding a little glamour instantly.

What are the highlights of your autumn winter 2014 collection?

I’d have to say our boyfriend jeans, the Rosliston jumpsuit - so easy and so effortless, the black Cranleigh dress – with its collar and zip detail it’s perfect for work, and our Liberty Art Fabric dresses which have had an amazing response from customers, press and bloggers.

How important is it to keep up with changing fashion trends?

As a maternity brand, it’s definitely important to keep up – women don’t suddenly stop caring about how they look just because they’re pregnant – but I would never work a look into the collection just because it’s on trend if doesn’t feel right for pregnancy styling. Isabella Oliver is a brand that people trust and it’s important to me that we only ever build on this.

Which pregnant celebrity would you love to see/have you seen wearing your brand and why?

It’s always very flattering when we see celebrities wearing the collection. Angelina Jolie was definitely a highlight as was Gwen Stefani – it’s great to see women with such different styles embracing the collection. Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Garner and Natalie Portman are a few others that certainly pleased the team. In the past month, Zoe Saldana and Rachel Bilson have both been spotted wearing pieces and have both looked great.

Where do you find design inspiration? 

Everywhere really although I’m an avid Pinterest and Instagram fan - they’re abundant sources of inspiration. I can literally lose hours browsing these hubs. I also look at bloggers and different magazines, especially Scandinavian publications, which always seem so effortlessly chic.

What top tip could you give a nervous mum-to-be about dressing for body confidence during pregnancy?

Don’t be afraid of showing your bump. Figure-hugging dresses are genuinely very flattering. We use a premium quality jersey that’s so soft yet so supportive and our customers often say it boosts their confidence.

Why did you enter the Junior Design Awards?

Being recognised within the industry is really important – and it keeps us on our toes!

What do you predict for the future of maternity fashion?

I think it’s an area that’s only going to grow in importance. In the past, women have ‘made do’ with their maternity wardrobe but times have changed and are changing still – we look after ourselves more (and so we should), we have great careers, we’re hitting that glass ceiling, and making do is no longer an option. It’s such a positive change and it’s an exciting time.  Pregnancy is also hitting the headlines now – there was a time when it was more hush hush, but with the rise of social media, we’re hungry for new information and with maternity fashion that means women are looking at how others dress a lot more – just as they do with non-maternity styling.

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