Think of it as postpartum denim.
Heather Thomson-Schindler’s ongoing embrace of the burgeoning shapewear business through the Yummie Tummie brand has led her to the launch of Yummie Denim, an assortment of premium jeanswear now available at specialty retailers and on the yummielife.com Web site. The addition follows the introduction of Yummie shapewear three years ago and the brand’s take on ready-to-wear in 2010, and relies on what she terms “happy technology” for jeans that, like its shapewear and rtw, seek to fashionably smooth and slim. With retail prices of $168 to $178, the jeans are available in three silhouettes — skinny leg, slim boot leg and straight leg — and four washes: a dark and light indigo, gray and black.
Thomson-Schindler’s design work with Beyoncé Knowles and Jennifer Lopez opened her eyes to the need for what might be termed “curve control.” She credits the two entertainers with “changing the way we look at women’s bodies” but noted that, even as she worked to reclaim her runner’s body following two pregnancies, there was little in the world of shapewear that satisfied her needs.
“When I first walked into the shapewear department, I went to boost my confidence and I left feeling totally deflated,” said the designer. “They failed me in so many ways. Everything we’ve done at Yummie has come back to this — if you love fashion, you should love getting dressed and not be surrounded by clothes that make you feel unattractive.”
Yummie and its corporate parent, New York-based Three Times Clothier LLC, grew out of this frustration and the jeans concept from her experiences teaming narrow-silhouette jeans with her Yummie original tank top and sensing there was room for improvement. The rise is slightly higher. A shallow front-pocket scoop helps to give a flatter tummy appearance while pocket linings are engineered to increase support. Back pockets and yokes also are designed to give a slimmer appearance.
Still, Thomson-Schindler, who is president and chief executive officer of the company, faced a daunting challenge in finding a high-quality stretch denim fabric that combined comfort with the recovery characteristics missing from earlier incarnations of the fabric. Cone Denim’s family of S Gene fabrics, which uses cotton in the warp and tri-component yarns in the weft, fit the bill. In the fill, cotton is wrapped around a core of texturized polyester, for recovery, and spandex, for stretch, for an overall blend of 92 percent cotton, 7 percent polyester and 1 percent spandex, according to Bud Strickland, director of product development for Cone Denim.
“In traditional stretch, the seat, knee and waistband would get bigger as the day wore on,” Strickland said. “A lot of the premium brands in Los Angeles are using this now and it’s really helped the growth of stretch fabrics.”
Among the 50-plus specialty stores to carry the line are Paradise Island Boutique in Tampa, Fla., and Robyn Ross and Tehen in South Orange and Cherry Hill, N.J., respectively. “I’m a believer in the power of specialty stores and the buzz that emanates from the owner who’s also the buyer and who understands both what I’m doing and what her customer wants,” Thomson-Schindler said. Overall, Yummie merchandise is carried in more than 1,600 doors in the U.S. and abroad and annual wholesale revenues, according to market sources, are on track to pass $20 million, not including the $6.75 million it received in settlement of a patent infringement case with Maidenform Brands Inc. earlier this year.
The three-year-old Yummie enterprise uses “Live — Shape — Happy” as its tag line and “Be happy in your jeans” appears on the hangtags of the new offering. Thomson-Schindler has a stockpile of mantras saved up that could easily apply to the brand and its mission. Reflecting on her prior experience with Beyoncé and J.Lo, as well as possible expansion into retail and of her admittedly underdeveloped Rip’t men’s wear business, she noted, “It takes a long time to get red-carpet ready. Life is not airbrushed.”