Monthly Parenting Magazine

Interview: Leah Jorgensen Founder of Jorgen House

Interview: Leah Jorgensen Founder of Jorgen House

Leah Jorgen House Landscape In Colour

Absolutely Mama talks about dressing for motherhood and running a business with Leah Jorgensen, founder of maternity movement brand Jorgen House…

How did you come to launch Jorgen House

The concept for the brand stemmed from a few different points in my pregnancy and motherhood journey. The initial idea first came when I was doing personal training in the park when my youngest was just a few months old. 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, 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 body shape, so you tend to buy pieces that fit for a certain period of time, but then you become uncomfortable again, hence the high volume of throw away fashion that comes with maternity wear. 

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. 

How are the pieces designed and made? 

My background is in sportswear design, so I have a strong understanding of high quality and durable product design. Innovation is something that has always interested me far more than fashion trends. It was so important to me that the pieces were both adaptable and durable. When I was developing the collection, I was pregnant with my second daughter. It was also during the time of Covid lockdowns in London and whilst that meant quite a few lengthy delays to the brand’s development, it also enabled me to really test the products throughout those nine months on my own changing body shape. 

Everything has been designed to transition with you from pre-natal to post, through motherhood and beyond. The pieces are made with an engineered knit which enables me to target specific areas for support and other target areas with an adaptive knit to allow stretch for fluctuating cup sizes or a growing torso. This also eliminates any seams and underwires, nothing to irritate or dig in uncomfortably.

I designed all of the pieces to combat a specific need, this isn’t a seasonal fashion brand. For example, I found that my tops were always riding up, so I designed bodysuits for easy layering, yet they feature some really innovative magnetic clasps so when you’re in those final stages of pregnancy they’re extremely easy to snap into place. They also feature a zip neckline for easy breastfeeding access when you move into the fourth trimester. Or when I was breastfeeding, I found I was always lifting up tops for access, exposing my stomach which I still wasn’t entirely comfortable about. So, I designed a bodysuit that features an attached internal bra with magnetic snaps for feeding access, I would wear this with a shirt over the top so I was always covered yet easily able to breastfeed.  

How important is sustainability to the brand? 

It’s extremely important and really formed the foundation of the brand, it’s truly at the core of everything we do. The clothing is designed and engineered to adapt with you through all stages of womanhood, but the sustainability aspect extends further than the multi-use designs. 

The clothing is manufactured in a factory run on 100% renewable energy and is made from recycled fibres, organic cotton or manmade cellulosic fibres from non-endangered certified forests. The sportswear pieces specifically are made from a yarn created from collecting waste materials leftover on the factory room floor. This pre-consumption waste are materials that were unusable in any other way and would have been disposed of as external waste. The discarded materials are recast using a regeneration process which is then integrated back into threads for knitting.

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.

I’ve seen the extent of fast fashion in the industry, so I was so more than certain sustainability would play a founding part in any new business I developed. In this era, I don’t believe we should be creating anything that doesn’t hold sustainability as a core value. 

Jorgen House Support Brief Copy

Did you find your own style changed when you became a mother? 

Of course, 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. I also cannot remember the last time I wore heels. 

Do you have a favourite piece from the Jorgen House collection that you wear on repeat? 

The lounge leggings are my go to piece. They have a contouring compression fit waistband which makes you feel held in and supported, yet the legs aren’t compressive and are made in a soft knit rib. I wear them almost daily either with a shirt or underneath long layers, they’re also my ideal piece for yoga or pilates. 

How do you manage running a business and being a mum of two little ones? 

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 10am 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, its tiring but I wholly believe in the brand and I’m committed to making it work.

And finally, what are your favourite ways to spend a slow day with your family? 

We’ve recently made the move out of London to the countryside, so I love to explore what’s on our new doorstop. That’s something I aim to do more of this year, getting out for fresh air walks to clear the mind. Nothing beats snuggling up together to watch a film with the fire on, and in the warmer months we love having friends over for long lunches with kids playing in the garden. With my family being in Australia it’s really important to me to create that sense of extended family through close friendships. 

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