March 17, 2011

Greetings from 35,000 feet above the Bering Sea. I’m enroute to Beijing via Tokyo, and the plane is noticeably empty.  It is surreal to be heading towards the epicenter of world events, yet to be only passing through, and it’s frustrating to want to DO something helpful while here.

This is the first overseas trip in my life where I have felt a reluctance to leave. Sure, I’ve been away on other domestic business trips, but those felt like earned sanity breaks - catch up on sleep, focus on one thing at a time, uninterrupted bathroom time – enough said! But with the world in the state that it’s in this week, I was tearful when dropping off my daughter Hadley at pre-school this morning, and I actually had the conversation about “what happens if” with multiple family members. On the other hand, there’s Skype and international phone plans, and although I started missing Hadley the minute I walked away from her, to be completely honest with myself, the other emotion that started swirling through me, albeit slowly at first, was the excitement of a new adventure, being on my own and on the road again. Maybe a little slower to ignite now, and sprinkled with mommy guilt, but, independence and life adventure is core to who I am, and it’s a quality I hope to model and instill in my daughter.

Women who were out and about in the world and/or in their community pre-motherhood don’t suddenly lose this aspect of themselves when becoming mothers, (although it may get buried temporarily while learning how to navigate this new adventure).  The HadleyStilwell clothing line is centered around breastfeeding mothers on the go. But even beyond breastfeeding, you still need clothes that don’t compromise your pre-motherhood style, yet are as independent as you - they need to take care of themselves – no ironing and certainly no dry cleaning. They need to be able to hang in the adult world, but play nicely with your baby. Indeed, the Signature Dress I am currently wearing on this flight withstood a slide at the playground the other day and countless other kid tests.

So how does that translate into fabrics? For the Crossover Shirts, the trick was to find fabrics that are durable but soft against your skin (and baby’s skin), that can be dressed up or down and drape properly – in short, fabrics that can walk on water!, I chose a heavy-weight jersey rayon/spandex blend since it can withstand constant use, is more formal than the lighter jerseys, the spandex component provides stretch for accessing breasts and it accommodates the many contortions that moms end up in when multi-tasking. 

More on this trip, interspersed with fabric talk, as it unfolds.