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Why are maternity clothes expensive?

Maternity clothes are generally more expensive than ordinary everyday clothing for a number of reasons:

- Firstly, maternity wear is aimed at a group of moms that will generally only wear the maternity clothing for a certain period of time, either while pregnant, breastfeeding or both.
- Not all pregnant moms wear maternity clothes during their pregnancy either and opt for bigger sizes of conventional clothing instead. This means that maternity wear brands are only targeting a small pool of potential customers which in turn means that the volume of maternity wear items which are produced will generally be smaller than that of a conventional clothing brand.
- The higher the volume  of one style of clothing that is produced, the lower the price per garment. In turn, the less you produce, the higher the price.
- Furthermore, maternity wear is specialised. Not all pattern makers can make patterns for maternity wear and not all CMT factories can make the specialised  garments. For example, many maternity clothing items have rouching at the front and back to accommodate a pregnant belly. The dip in a maternity dress or maternity top at the front needs to be longer so that the hem line appears to be level with the rest of the dress when factoring in a belly. Breastfeeding panels make for more complex manufacturing. Every process involved in the CMT (cut make trim) process is charged for. Every seam, every gather, every button hole.

 Why clothing manufacture in South Africa is a challenge

Manufacture in South Africa in particular is very challenging for maternity wear brands as there simply aren’t enough local CMT factories that can produce the required quality and the smaller quantities that are often required. Importing maternity wear can also be costly due to high shipping costs, exchange rates, high import duties and quantities purchased all affect the price to the end customer. The above also applies to boutique clothing brands who don’t supply the masses.

Tips for buying maternity wear

Bearing in mind that maternity wear can be pricey, try and buy items that will last longer than just a few months. Look for quality items that can be worn for both pregnancy and breastfeeding or post-partum. There are a number of brands like Lonzi&Bean that sell maternity dresses and tops that not only have a breastfeeding panel for discreet breastfeeding but are also pretty and flattering enough to wear as a normal dress afterwards and no one would know the difference. Quality and longevity is key when it comes to making the right maternity clothing purchases.

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