When celebrity stylist/designer Heather Thomson began her career in fashion dedicating her talents to the shape-wear industry might not have been on her "to-do" list. But with the success of her "Yummie Tummie" line she has found that shape wear is exactly the perfect fit for her creativity and ingenuity.
Style Wylde caught up with Thomson via e-mail recently as she prepares to visit San Francisco for an in-store event at Nordstrom in Westfield Center this Thursday.
SW: You began your career in intimate apparel, and went on to work for several extremely high-profile lines in a design-director capacity including P Diddy’s Sean Jean, Beyonce’s House of Deréon, and Jennifer Lopez’s Sweetface. How did you come to be involved with these celebrity collections?
HT: I have had a very exciting career and a lot of success as a designer. I always say that all of my positions and experiences have really prepared me for my current one at Yummie Tummie. I was the founding design director for Sean John, the Vice President of Creative Design for Jennifer Lopez and the Co-Creative Director for the House of Dereon, Dereon and Miss Tina labels. When I moved to New York as a young woman, I worked my way through different organizations and took opportunities as they came my way. Some of it was luck, some of it was timing, but most of it was a lot of hard work, determination and knowing what my strengths were and what I wanted. I believe that if you put your mind to something before you know it, you will be exactly where you want to be. Working for celebrities was exciting, fulfilling and kept propelling me to the next opportunity.
SW: What made you decide to launch your own line?
HT: After having my second child, I went shopping for shapewear because my post baby body was not bouncing back as quickly as I wanted it to. I went to the shapewear counter and tried on, bought and wore every piece on the market. I became frustrated and did not feel better about myself but felt worse. The products I bought failed me both ascetically and functionally and I realized at that moment that what I needed and wanted was a shaping tank top! From this revolution, I dusted off my sewing machine and designed my first Yummie Tummie. I launched the line officially in January 2008 and have been designing comfortable, fashionable and sexy shapewear ever since. My patent for the tank filed this year and it’s exciting because I have “inventor” as a feather in my cap! What started out as frustration has lead me down a very exciting road to help women look great, feel great and show it off!
SW: Why shapewear as opposed to regular intimate apparel, or a standard sportswear line?
HT: After I designed my first Yummie Tummie tank for myself, I realized that there was such a need for this kind of shapewear, this kind of fashion meets function solution, there was nothing like it on the market. Women for too long have been hiding their shapewear and ashamed to be seen in it and up until Yummie Tummie who could blame them. We were the first brand to come out with a sexy solution that is modern, comfortable, functional and meant to be seen. Since the tanks were such a success I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to expand the Yummie Tummie collection and design beautiful intimates and ready-to-wear pieces with my signature shaping built in.
SW: Since the launch of Yummie Tummie, the brand has received huge recognition from consumers, editors and even Oprah, were you always confident that your creation would be so widely appreciated?
HT: It has been an exciting few years! Looking back and even looking at today, I feel very fortunate that I have had and continue to have so much success with the brand and the support of so many. I still have so much to do, and my ultimate goal is to make Yummie Tummie part of every women’s wardrobe. I get dressed everyday and use Yummie Tummie as my 3rd essential, “my bra, my panty’s and my Yummie Tummie”. I’ve been able to communicate with so many women through this experience and have touched and changed the lives of many. I always say, “We need to love ourselves and embrace our flaws as much as our features”. If you gain a few extra pounds or go through a life change, Yummie Tummie is the perfect solution and will make you look and feel great.
SW: In recent seasons, you have expanded Yummie Tummie to apparel, how does having shape-wear built in to a garment differ from simply wearing a shaping piece underneath your clothing?
HT: Having shape-wear built right into the pieces allows women to put on one of my dresses, shirts or skirts and not have to worry about anything. They know they will look great and smooth in all the right places. There is no longer that feeling of putting on a dress looking in the mirror and thinking, I could look so much better if I was a few pounds thinner. You have everything in one garment and it’s again, fashion meets function. The Yummie Tummie ready-to-wear collection gives women that boost of confidence and feeling of, I look good from the moment they put the piece on.
SW: What new items do you have in the line for Fall?
HT: Fall/Holiday 2010 is just a sprinkling of what’s to come. I have some exciting and versatile fashion tops, perfect for the office, the weekend or the evening. I can’t seem to take off my shaping leggings; the one “must have” for every woman’s closet. I travel in them, I spend the weekend chasing my kids in them and I also dress them up for the office. I think they are my #1 pick right now! A close 2nd and almost another favorite are the knit dresses. Who doesn’t need a black dress that they can use for every occasion. The shaping is built-in with comfort, ease and style. I was walking down the street in New York in September, heading to Fashion Week and had 2 different people stop me and ask me about the dress. It’s nice to have options in your wardrobe that are versatile, quality, comfortable and of course stylish! I think the collection has something from everyone.
And stay tuned for Spring! I have new fabrics, exciting colors designed into sexy and slimming intimates and beautiful ready-to-wear pieces. I promise, the Spring collection will keep you coming back for more!
Yummie Tummie designer Heather Thomson will be making an appearance in the lingerie department at Nordstrom in San Francisco's Westfield Center from 12-2pm this Thursday, November 11th. For more on the Yummie Tummie brand, visit the official website .