Is it possible to look stylish and feel amazing while pregnant? Mum-of-two Amy Shackleton believes it is. In fact, she thinks women deserve nothing less than luxury at this magical time, which is why she created her own maternity sleepwear brand
Amy Shackleton has always been a fan of luxurious silk pyjamas so when she was expecting her first child, Arlo, she naturally looked for maternity sleepwear to match the style, comfort and quality she’d been used to before pregnancy. Her search ended in disappointment.
‘I looked high and low but all I could find were dull-looking, practical pyjamas and nightdresses, which were also uncomfortable because the material was such poor quality,’ said Amy, 32.
‘The message seemed to be that pregnant women should stop caring about how they looked and felt, but this didn’t sit right with me. I’ve always wanted to be a mum and pregnancy is such a special time, so it was important to feel beautiful and to be comfortable.’
Amy, a former corporate lawyer, sketched out some designs for pyjamas and nightwear during her first pregnancy with Arlo, who’s now three, but it was during her second pregnancy with one-year-old Sofia that she finally had the impetus to create the very thing she’d been looking for.
‘I found that I was spending a lot more time in pyjamas as a pregnant mum of a toddler and then lockdown came around – Sofia was born during the UK’s first peak of coronavirus cases.
‘I knew that if I was longing for stylish and luxurious maternity sleepwear, other women must be too. My pregnancies had opened my eyes to a gap in the market and Arlo & Sofia, the world’s first luxury maternity sleepwear brand, was born.’
Amy, who lives in Barnes, boldly launched Arlo & Sofia during lockdown, a challenging time to start any business, but a period that came with some unexpected and welcome upsides.
‘For once, I wasn’t rushing around with my babies to music and yoga classes and my husband, Ashley, was at home too so I had more space and time,’ said Amy.
‘I knew that if I was longing for stylish and luxurious maternity sleepwear, other women must be too’
‘Lockdown also took the pressure off the business in a way, enabling us to make mistakes without disastrous consequences. For example, when we made an error with the fabric costings, we had time to source more material because the factory was closed.
‘If the world had been moving at its usual fast pace, we’d have lost our place in the production queue.’
To create the Arlo & Sofia range, Amy drew on her passion for fashion, combining her favourite necklines, sleeves and waistlines with specific tailoring to suit pregnant and nursing women, such as kimono-style tops that tie at the side and are perfect for breast feeding.
Amy also sourced the best quality fabrics, chosen for comfort, breathability and a luxurious feel – English pima cotton, lace from Japan and the highest quality Pongees specialty silk.
Finally, she designed patterns and prints to celebrate a woman’s shape pre and post-pregnancy, rather than disguise it.
Arlo & Sofia’s pyjamas, available in nude, pink and blue, have an eye-catching diamond shape at the waistline, while a stars and moon motif symbolises the magic of motherhood.
The sleepwear range is perfect for lounging at home but its also ideal for a pregnancy photoshoot – imagine posing in a stylish, fitted pyjama suit – while the wrap-over pyjama top can also be slipped on immediately after giving birth.
‘That first photograph with your precious new-born baby is going to stay on your mantelpiece for decades, so why not look your best?’ says Amy.
Explore Arlo & Sofia’s luxury maternity sleepwear range at arloandsofia.co.uk