Pregnancy should not have be at the expense of fashion. Designer Michelle Lee tells Zoe Chamberlain how her own experiences drove her to come up with a maternity line of her own.
Having worked as fashion buyer, Michelle Lee was disappointed she could only find frumpy maternitywear when she became pregnant.
So, when her son Mali turned two in March, she launched her own online maternity boutique called Keungzai.
And she was stunned when, just weeks later, a call came through saying actress Sienna Miller wanted some of her clothes.
“I had sent her a lookbook of the collection,” said Michelle, 24 and from Lichfield.
“Her agent called to say Sienna had picked out the drape-front cream dress, the drape-back plum dress and the perfect Tee to wear whilst pregnant.
“I haven’t seen her wearing them yet as she seems to be keeping things under wraps at the moment.
“It’s amazing to have such high profile approval.”
Michelle realised there was a gap in the market for edgier maternitywear after speaking to fellow mums at baby groups.
She said: “I felt completely uninspired by the clothes available when I was pregnant.
“So I ended up wearing oversized shirts I’d bought in Berlin and Japan.
“Pregnancy is a special time – why did it mean I have to change my style and the way I dress?”
Michelle began buying in different collections from overseas then started designing her own collection too with the help of her studio manager.
She came up with the name Keungzai as it’s a nickname she gives her son, taken from his middle name Chi Keung, which means ‘strong character’.
Michelle, who used to work for Asos.com in London, added: “Since launching Keungzai, I’ve had really positive feedback.
“We work on the intricate details to make sure the designs are really flattering around the bump.
“Some people have even said my designs are a good enough reason to get pregnant!”