Maternity wear isn’t known to be synonymous with versatility, sustainability, style and business-chic, but Emilia George is a new brand on the scene that strives to bring all of those things to expecting mothers.
The label was launched in December 2019 by Dr. Elle Wang, 34, a new mother with a PhD and a full-time job at the United Nations, whose goal to create timeless, functional dresses came from her own motherhood experience.
‘I was so frustrated with the maternity clothes that were available to me at the time,’ Elle told DailyMail.com.
Busy mom! 34-year-old Elle is the founder and CEO of Emilia George, a new fashion label that creates business-appropriate clothing meant to be worn through all stages of womanhood
‘Women need pockets, access to nursing or pumping, and [clothes that] can accommodate a woman’s body shape change. When I hit my third trimester, I actually outgrew maternity clothes I bought during the first trimester.
‘Most of the clothes were also too casual and not fitting for work.’
Another reason was that many fabrics used in maternity clothes are neither natural nor comfortable, and she later had problems with these fabrics irritating her son’s skin when she breastfed.
Elle surveyed moms groups, and discovered that none were actually satisfied with the current maternity wear options on the market; while there are beautiful options out there, she believed there was a missing piece to the puzzle.
‘To me, that missing piece was personal,’ she shared. ‘I had first-hand experience in the struggle, and I knew I could do something to solve these problems for moms.’
With a background in public policy, Elle started the label without knowledge of fashion and manufacturing, other than what she learned from her mother who worked in textiles. She imagined creating a 100% sustainable clothing brand manufactured locally in New York.
Functionally stylish: The Emilia Dress is crafted from 100% silk, and offers a subtle stretch for a changing body, as well as a hidden nursing function and pockets
Elle settled on three eco-friendly fabrics to make up the Emilia George collection: bamboo, cupro, and Tencel-Luxe, which are 90 per cent vegan and recycled, and nearly all OEKO-TEX certified, which means that the clothing has been determined as safe for use and wear by a third party.
Cupro is a cotton bi-product that is a popular alternative to silk since it’s soft with a subtle sheen, but is also machine-washable, making it easier for busy moms.
Bamboo was an answer to her pregnancy hot flashes, as it is naturally cooling and breathable, while Tencel-Luxe is a eco-friendly fiber sourced from eucalyptus trees and is wrinkle-resistant—perfect for those work meetings.
The result? Comfortable, functional, and business-appropriate pieces that are environmentally friendly, claims Elle.
However, she quickly realized why sustainable American-made clothing hasn’t been mainstream: it comes with a price tag, for both the brand and consumer.
Crafted with mom in mind: The Zena Dress is the label’s best-seller, made from plastic bottles, and features an attached scarf and comes in at $299
Pretty prints! The Selina Dress comes in four digitally printed patterns, which means no industrial dyes that could be harmful to the baby
‘People ask why my Victoria blazer costs $549,’ Elle confessed. ‘My fabric was imported from Italy and everything was made in New York City, and I can safely say that I make no money on this piece.’
Thus, lowering production costs is not only key to helping Elle get her clothes into as many moms’ hands possible, but also in creating a more sustainable fashion industry in the United States.
‘We need more innovation in this realm to make sustainable clothing and Made in USA accessible to a wider audience,’ she added.
Along with the high production costs, though, Elle has high hopes for the brand and her products.
‘I hope Emilia George can bring glory to expectant and new moms… it’s not about buying expensive things, but it’s about a state of mind of wanting to look good [and] feel good,’ she shared.
‘It’s very difficult to feel beautiful or joy when you gain 40-60 pounds and nothing seems to work. I was there. The right kind of clothes matters a lot.’