Cornell University senior Blake Uretsky has revolutionized maternity clothing. Designed to fit women in all stages of pregnancy, the line — branded as B Maternity — comes in neutral colors and features pieces for any occasion. Uretsky won a $30,000 scholarship from the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund for her designs. Of course, the scholarship wasn’t based on the neutral colors. The B Maternity line has another advantage over other maternity wear — Uretsky’s designs can be used to monitor the wearer’s vital signs.
While most pregnant women have no need to record their vital signs daily, women with high-risk pregnancies may benefit from the smart clothing. Silver threads sewn into the garment track information such as blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and breathing. Data collected by the threads is transmitted via a Bluetooth device on the belt buckle to a downloadable phone app. In addition to providing a readout of the data, the app also features a “send to doctor” button. Users can also set the app to notify them of any unusual readings caused by stress, inactivity, or something else.
During the seven months spent developing her line, Uretsky did extensive research. She conducted interviews with pregnant women and surveyed mothers to find out what they liked and disliked about maternity clothing. Uretsky also went to stores with a fake baby bump and tried on existing maternity wear to rate fit, comfort, and design.
“Wearable technology products must both be aesthetically pleasing and have meaning and value to users, and pregnancy is a time where critical monitoring is necessary,” Uretsky told the Cornell Chronicle. “I also wanted to change negative views associated with maternity wear by showing that it can be stylish, professional and trendy.”
The B Maternity line only exists as a prototype right now, but that might change soon. Uretsky has stated that she hopes to use the scholarship to develop her own fashion label in the future.