M.-E. Faust, "Designing for Pregnant Women", in Proc. of 4th Int. Conf. on 3D Body Scanning Technologies, Long Beach CA, USA, 2013, pp. 401-410, http://dx.doi.org/10.15221/13.401.
Designing for Pregnant Women
Philadelphia University Fashion Merchandising & Management, School of Business Administration, Philadelphia PA, USA
"It's positive!" Few words such as these have the power to change a woman's life forever. One may think her life will actually change nine months from them, but even during these nine months of pregnancy her whole body will go through a transformation. According to medical literature, women go through three trimesters, phases during which her body will change to accommodate the baby-to-be. Because women have had pregnancies for the whole span of human history, one would think the apparel industry would have acknowledged this and would have always been designing for them.
Our research shows that this is not the case, though, and so much could be done. When reviewing the literature, we learned that in the past pregnant women would wear their usual clothes until they no longer fit. From there they would wear oversize garments until they gave birth. Indeed, very little has been done in regards to pregnant women and the apparel industry and most of it has been done only in the last few decades. Moreover, it seems that many people think that the changes are only in her torso.
After we surveyed a group of pregnant women and young mothers, our results showed that contrary to what we read in the literature, they perceive their metabolic changes from the very first trimester. In addition, changes appeared not only on their upper part of their body but from head to toe. Moreover, surprisingly, this sample we surveyed seems to be "satisfied" with the clothing currently offered, just as people tend to be in a push marketing system. If designers and marketers are looking to focus on one specific target market, one where there is room for improvement when it comes to size, fit, and styles, maternity wear is definitely the one where it is time to shift form a push marketing strategy and move on to a pull marketing strategy with a consumer-driven concept. Pregnant women represent an undeserved market from this perspective. Thus, if manufacturers and retailers recognize the benefit of focusing on specific target markets and the importance of working with accurate body measurements in variety of styles related to a target market, pregnant women offer an appealing and dynamic target market. Imagine designing appealing garments that could be suitable for all three trimesters! It would be a breakthrough, innovative and sustainable way of designing and satisfying mothers-to-be.
designing for pregnancy, maternity wear, fit, apparel
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