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November 14 2012
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PDD

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Has the maternity retail space been designed and really thought through for pregnant women?

I have had nothing but bad experiences when shopping for maternity clothes and while working for a company that promotes Human Centred Design, I wonder if the retail giants have really taken the time to think about their pregnant customers and how that changes their retail experience needs.

I visited Westfield White City in London, one of the largest shopping centres in Europe, a place where you assume you’d be spoilt for choice, only to find that many of the shops only sell their maternity range online. I am just 30 weeks gone now but over the last couple of months my body shape and size has changed significantly so buying online is not ideal, as I’ve had no previous experience in dealing with these sizes!

Westfield centreFeatured image credit: Dailyriolife, above image credit: AndyRobertsPhotos via Flickr

The shops that did cater for pregnant women had their clothing not only the furthest away from the door, upstairs, nearer to the men’s section, but had the changing rooms for women downstairs! I also found that the clothing is often high up on long rails which you have to stretch to reach the back to find sizes, which is not advised in pregnancy.
So much time and money is spent by companies in designing their store layouts. Everything from having the bakery section at the back of a supermarket, to the music playing in a fashion store, is all carefully considered to encourage customers to spend more time and money in a store. So how can there be such a lack of emphasis placed upon pregnant women who typically spend a lot of money during that period?
This left me feeling frustrated, exhausted, disappointed but also very upset.
Aside from that, I’ve also found it surprisingly difficult to find fashionable maternity clothes. I am a young professional who wants to look good, comfortable but smart while at work. That’s not asking much, is it?
Baby bump_DressImage credit: organizerightnow
I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who has experienced this! There are approximately 700,000 babies born in the UK each year, so that’s 700,000 pregnant ladies. Surely this should be better thought through!
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Posted by PDD
@pddinnovation

Languages spoken: Global.
The last thing that inspired me: Design and Innovation.
My dream project: A project that makes a difference in the world.
My obsession: Develop successful, award-winning and world-first products and experiences.

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